In the latest issue of Fast Company, James P. Womack ponders why companies struggle to fix the problems we encounter when using their products or services (the story is available to subscribers right now).
The key, says Womack, is to solve customers’ problems “completely and without hassle” and he uses the example of Fujitsu Services in Europe which works with product providers to analyse and eliminate the reasons why customers call helplines in the first place.
I’ve just come across another, smaller scale example. Ian Fletcher runs a small country pub, the Little Mill Inn, in Mellor – a little village outside Manchester in northern England. His customers’ problem? Crackdowns on drink-driving mean they no longer want to drive out to a country pub for a drink. So Fletcher has bought an old Routemaster bus – one of the iconic red double-deckers which have just been retired from service in London – to ferry his regulars between Mellor and the surrounding areas.
Problem solved – completely and without hassle.