Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Customer Experience

I use a Blackberry, work on PCs both at home and at work, and use an off-brand MP3 player (I got it from Target). Needless to say, I am not an Apple girl. Yet, I don't have to be to respect Steve Jobs and recognize the passing of a titan. As a businessman and product developer, Jobs always kept the customer and the customer experience front and center. He was known to occasionally pick up the phone and call a disgruntled customer. When the iPhone went down in price by $200 several months after debuting, Jobs offered an explanation, an apology and a $100 credit in Apple products to those original customers who'd paid full price.

In meetings for new products, while understanding the complex technology behind his products, he championed ease of use and what the product needs to work like from the customer's point of view. He always placed the customer experience before everything else.

Here are some quotes from Steve Jobs:

On Quality: "When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

On the Simplicity of Design: “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

On What Customers Want: "This is what customers pay us for–to sweat all these details so it’s easy and pleasant for them to use our computers."

On the Difficulty of Simple Solutions: "Look at the design of a lot of consumer products — they’re really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through.”

And finally ... “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.”