Giving customers what they need

31Aug07

I travel a lot on business, and I’ve noticed an interesting trend. While many airports still humiliate travelers who forgot to bring a plastic bag for their liquids and gels, others have taken a better approach: they provide plastic bags right by the security checkpoint. At Chicago’s Midway airport, they’ve even taken this a step further: there is actually a bag dispenser, which I think is sponsored by Glad or Hefty. It’s a smart, time-saving move for the airport and for travelers.

I think we can adapt this approach to virtually any customer experience: If people need a third-party item in order to use your product or service, it pays to make it easy for them to get that item. This might mean giving them a low-cost accessory like in my plastic bag example, or providing a link where they can download what’s required. Similarly, if using your product involves multiple steps, make sure to provide clear directions about how to go back to the previous step and forward to the next one, along with quick links to related features. This approach will make your products easier to learn for novices, while increasing productivity for advanced users.



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