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I once asked a sales guy in a mobile phone store how often customers wanted his advice on what phone to choose. Here's what he said:
"Nine out of ten times people's minds are already made up. I can tell them their choice is more expensive than other smartphones, or they'll get better functionality from another operating system, but it doesn't matter - they already know what they want."
How did this happen? How is it that a company can create something so good that people no longer want to run a comparison and will happily pay a hundred dollars more for the privilege of carrying a particular device?
Some people think it's all down to design but I disagree. For me, it's not so much about how the product looks, or the tech, it's all about what it delivers to me, the paying customer. While it's true that design has a place in physical products, what makes the difference is when that product delivers life-enhancing (or even life-changing) services to the user. My phone isn't just a phone. Or to use it's correct term, just a 'smartphone'. It's a device that makes my life more efficient and entertaining and it benefits me enormously. This makes me the kind of customer that most companies aspire to have - an emotionally connected one. Here's why:
With the tap of an app I can check the forecast for Boston at the weekend, and decide whether it's time to dust off the skis or head for the lake. I can travel the world meeting partners and customers but be in video contact with my children, making the separation just a little less hard, and while I'm traveling, if I find myself in a new city, I can find a great restaurant based on local recommendations. One device, a great platform and apps that make my life simpler, no wonder I get emotional when I can't find it!
So how does this work in a B2B environment? For me, it's just the same and I know this because I hear it from all of those partners and customers that I'm traveling across the globe to meet with.
Over the past year I’ve heard some incredible stories including the partner that built a solution enabling manufacturers to innovate in pace with the market and keep the industry thriving; the ISV that ensures new building projects run smoothly whether the materials are a mile or a thousand miles away; the customer who can uniquely manage precious grain at harvest time and the organization that's helping healthcare professionals make prescription management safer. Across these examples I see an entire industry evolving to retain and create jobs, housing being built with no corners cut, food not going to waste and people's health being protected. This is not about speeds and feeds, this is about events and processes that affect our lives.
Stories like these are the ones that spark our imagination, generate that emotional connection and I’m really excited that those of you coming to Progress Exchange 2013, will get the opportunity to hear many of these first hand. Not only that, but you’ll get the chance to share yours with your peers and the Progress team - we’re looking forward to celebrating your achievements with you.
Got a story to share? Here’s how you can do it:
View all posts from Jennifer Smith on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.
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