Addressing its drop-call problem with antenna wrappers was an interesting design solution from Apple-but was it enough?
“Apple is addressing problems with its iPhone,” joked Jay Leno, “apparently when you buy a new iPhone 4 they’ll throw in a Verizon BlackBerry so you can make a call…”
<p> Atop the jabs of late night comedians, the media expressed shock at Apple’s solution: giving out pieces of soft plastic to wrap around the iPhone 4 antenna to protect its signal. Sure, technically it worked—but wasn’t this a missed opportunity to delight customers?</p><p> To figure this out, we have to understand “<a href="http://faculty-gsb.stanford.edu/aaker/pages/research.html">customer happiness</a>” and the features driving it.<br/> Those features fall into four categories:<br/></p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c7c039b961685310a4b0f6864b15452a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" id="0fc2a" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTkyNTYxMi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNzE2MzI2N30.CcOPrVk-e-lz0li0VrwGvmaJn4cb4g6itFAlklfJYLI/img.png?width=980"/> <small class="image-media media-caption" placeholder="add caption..."></small> <small class="image-media media-photo-credit" placeholder="add photo credit..."></small> </p><p> <strong>1. Non-factors: </strong>These are features that most consumers are indifferent to, often added by engineers as vanity projects. Example: The ability to play MP3s on a GPS using a compact flash card. No one would miss the feature if it was not there, and not many are impressed by its addition.</p><p> <strong>2. Table stakes: </strong>Having these doesn’t differentiate your product, but missing these creates dissatisfaction. Example: cup holders in cars; phone service in phones.</p><p> <strong>3. Incrementals:</strong> Customer satisfaction varies with these features, and people pay more to get more. Example: storage space; processor speed; USB ports on computers.</p><p> <strong>4. Delighters:</strong> Differentiating features create satisfaction when they're added, but not dissatisfaction when they're missing, since the feature is usually kind of novel. Example: video conferencing was a delighter as the iPhone 4 shipped, but as competitors catch up, they’ll eventually become incrementals, or even table stakes.</p><p> You can assess these buckets quickly using mockups, interviews, and surveys. Just have a couple of satisfaction questions. Once you have the data, here's what we think you should do: Drop your non-factors; meet your table-stakes; include incrementals to meet your price point; add your delighters to differentiate yourself, and win fans.</p><p> For the iPhone 4, people being able to make calls was table stakes. Apple couldn’t do better than meet expectations. They issued a pragmatic fix, but pressed on marketing its delighters—<a href="http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/facetime.html">FaceTime</a> and the <a href="http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/retina-display.html">Retina Display</a>. The result: Despite reported call quality issues, Apple’s sales, profits and stock price continued rising, led by the iPhone 4.</p><p> I don’t mean to speculate on Apple’s decision.</p><p> I just hope the four bucket framework (called a “Kano Analysis,” after its inventor Noriaki Kano) might help teams make better decisions to delight customers in the long run.<br/> It doesn’t mean I’m any less annoyed by dropped calls.<br/> <br/><br/></p><br/>
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