Posts Tagged ‘Unrecognized Needs’
SOUTHWEST MEETS AN UNRECOGNIZED NEED
A few months ago I dialed Southwest for some assistance and heard a recording “Your wait time will be 10 minutes. If you would like, you can leave your number and we’ll call you back.” I was so surprised and utterly delighted to get that message. Finally some company respects my time! An unrecognized need of mine was met…because I hadn’t ever imagined that a call back could be an option. All of a sudden, I had flashbacks of all the horrendous waits I’ve had on the phone over the years (don’t ask me about Dell or Time Warner).
RAISING THE BAR FOR ALL
Southwest has raised the bar for customer service hot lines. I predict that because Southwest customers will now recognize this as a need, it will now become their desire that other companies follow the same suit. This is how innovation works in the marketplace – someone raises the bar, others follow suit, and before long, it becomes a price of entry.
This is what we call “the pull of gravity” in thePEAK Customer Pyramid (scroll down on page)
WIFI Availability. Years ago it became expected that WIFI would be available at hotels. Six months ago, McDonalds starting offering WIFI at some of their locations, and in the past week, Starbucks announced they will provide it for free. (Before just their card-carrying loyalty members had access.)
Movie Theatres. The new movie theaters have stadium seating, the ability to reserve specific seats, and even eat dinner and drink wine. People who have had this experience may now see these amenities as a desire (because not all movie theaters offer this). For those who don’t have access (and/or knowledge of), these amenities will remain as unrecognized needs.
During our strategy sessions, we work with companies to identify the gravitational forces affecting their company and industry.
About a month later, I phoned Southwest and was disappointed. They announced the wait time (around 9 minutes), yet I didn’t hear the offer for a call-back. Last month I hadn’t even known that I had a need for an automated phone system to respect my time – yet thanks to Southwest for fulfilling that fantasy last time – it became a recognized need. My expectations for service were raised and then not met. Would I have been better off not knowing what I could have had?
As a consumer, when unrecognized needs are met, they then become a recognized need. When that need is repeatedly fulfilled, an expectation is born.
A/ Please think of an example where a need was met that you didn’t even imagine was a possibility.
B/ Can you think of an example when you felt “teased” by a company/service fulfilling an unknown need, and then subsequently not delivering it consistently?
C/ If you have raised the bar for your customers, how are you ensuring that your delivery will be consistent so that they won’t feel teased and disappointed?
D/ How long do you think it will take automated call backs to become an expectation across service hot lines? Any guesses?
Within an industry, category or in services, an unrecognized needs will eventually become a point of entry.
A/ In your industry, think about what bar has been raised. Are you behind or ahead of the innovation?
B/ What do you anticipate will be the next innovation and are you working on fulfilling it now?
We would love to know what you are thinking out there – so let’s start a dialogue!