Teaching Your Customers

The way of the world is to throw coincidences at us. Random events happen all the time (how many new couples have met at airports because of the recent volcano eruption?). It takes a conscious mind to make a connection between these unrelated events.

My previous post discussed learning. Right after publishing it, I encountered a this talk about teaching your customers, which described the same steps I have, only better. This is the sort of coincidences I love so much. They make me feel as if the world is trying to help me.

That’s not true, though. Things just happen. Most of the time, we don’t notice. When we’re busy thinking about something, though, are brains get attuned to it. We start noticing it more often. We see more details. We start living in high-definition.

Proof By Example

What's in this photo? A smartphone? An iPhone? Can you tell which version of the iPhone this is?

What's in this photo? A bird? A swallow? Do you know the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

The more you are interested by a subject, the finer the details you notice. If you knew this is the iPhone 3GS, you may be  a gadget freak. If you knew this is an European Swallow, you are probably a bird-watcher. If you saw a phone or a bird, you are not. Standard definition sucks.

Living In HD

You should help your customers live in HD in regard to what you do. They will reward you by being passionate about you and your brand. They will tell their friends. They will buy more. They will upgrade to the more expensive model. How do you take a non-customer and turn them into a fanatic? You teach them how to become better. If they will feel empowered and awesome, they will be motivated to stay with you.

  1. The Suck Zone – Your user feels he is over his head. He is afraid to try, unmotivated to use the product. Last post I’ve talked about cooking and coding. These are great examples. If you haven’t cooked anything before, you will not feel empowered by a new frying pan. You will feel that you suck.
  2. Easy Breezy – If your user tries your product and starts using it regularly, he moves here. This is what I feel regarding my digital camera. It has twenty bazillion options, but I mostly use it as a point and click camera (which I love). I’m not that into photography.
  3. La Passion – The user is passionate about what your product enables them to do. They want to learn more. They will try to find ways to get better. Being there for them is a great opportunity to create brand loyalty, to sell them extra products, to help them become even better. Seth Godin talks a lot about the passion and building a tribe. You should be here.
  4. The Stuck Zone – Like in many marriages, left alone the passion fades. Be careful. Something else will fill the void. Once the user is lost, they will hardly ever come back.

Make Me Awesome

Let me go back to the example of photography.

Flickr is such a great site, because it is full of opportunities to learn more techniques about photography. You start with the free account, but once you start seeing great photos and try to create some yourself, soon you need the pro account.

Canon creates great cameras that professional photographers are passionate about. What about me? When should I manually control the shutter speed? Their documentation is boring and frightening.  It’s a missed opportunity. They could have explained what effect shutter speed has on the quality of the image. They could have turned me into an amateur photographer. Next thing you know, I’d be buying a new camera with replaceable lenses.

In short:

Send me this:

Not this: