On buying and using

I bought a portable player made by JBL for my iPod. I bought it from a store on the web so I couldn’t really see much except for the one picture of the unit itself. And the experience of buying was fine but the experience of using was deplorable. And now I’m not a satisfied JBL customer. I know it may not be fair or even rational but who said I had to be? Customers aren’t. Image_miniFor a start, it took about 15 minutes to break into JBL’s anti-theft packaging. I broke a pair of scissors, almost gored myself on a letter opener, and finally resorted to my Cutco shears--they can cut anything. Once opened, the innards spilled out of the floor in a huge mass of plastic and parts. Not really a great first experience. Of course, I’m sure the packaging is designed to prevent theft but I wonder how much theft JBL has from Amazon employees and customers; I’d guess none. But in the one-size-fits-all world, JBL decided that all channels were the same and it was easier for them operationally to standardize the packaging for BestBuy rather than Amazon. OK, so I’ve broken into the packaging and have a pile of junk on the floor. That’s when I discover that the transformer for my portable iPod player weighs more than the portable iPod player. And the transformer is huge! No really very portable after all. Nicely, the player also has a remote control but no place to house the remote in transfer. And no case of any kind. I don’t know; can I return this thing with the packaging completely destroyed? I doubt it. So I’ll put it in the garage for those times twice a year when I’m organizing the hoses and garden tools and want to listen to some Jackson Browne. And tell all my friends to buy the iMotion instead of the JBL. And (believe it or not) I have a lot of friends! How often, when you buy a product of any kind, are you disappointed? For me, it has to be more than half the time. Horrible packaging. No batteries. A huge transformer. An absolute lack of integration. I’ve started to notice, really notice, those rare occasions when a purchase is satisfactory. Buying my RAZR from the Cingular store started that way; nothing went wrong, the sales person was knowledgeable, and we encountered no problems during the setup. Only later did I discover that the Motorola software is infamously terrible. I still have high regard for my Cingular store but will never buy another Motorola phone. My friend Kristin met Kevin, the world's worst sales person, this week. In The customer is always wrong, she writes:
There are two kinds of salespeople in the world. One knows that the customer is just trying to get some questions answered, and does what he can to answer those questions. The other sees the customer's questions as "objections" to be overcome - obstacles to his making the sale and getting a commission.
Does this sound like anyone you know?
The salesperson behaves as if the customer is just plain wrong. During the conversation with the customer he is, by turns, evasive, dismissive, and downright rude as he spits out answers. He is combative during the question-asking process. He interrupts the customer, argues with the customer, and treats the customer like an idiot.
Is that the most that we can expect? That a good buying experience is merely the absence of bad? One of the Secrets of Market-Driven Leaders is to see the product experience from the customer’s point of view. I don’t think many folks were thinking much about the total buying and using experience.
Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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