Lincoln Park Tree

Lincoln Park Tree
I walk by this tree most mornings as I head into the office and can see it from my office windows. The light as the sun rises over the Lincoln Park High School building hit it just right today. These are the fleeting moments of Spring in Chicago.

This however serves as a perfect metaphor for what we often present to our customers with the products we sell. The tree like the voices of the sea nymph Seirenes of Greek mythology encourages you to come in for closer examination, but the “No Parking” sign says “Get lost!” We encourage our customers with tantalizing features and advertising but their first encounter with our product or perhaps with the support service essentially says, “Get lost!” I liken it to the Eve Syndrome in honor of Bill Cosby’s old bit on the differences between men and women. In it he speaks of Adam being little more than an ape who is encouraged and discouraged by Eve as she says, “Come ‘ere, come ‘ere, come ‘ere” and as he comes lumbering over to get close to her, she immediately exclaims with a shooing motion of disgust, “Get away! Get away! Get away!” because in reality, Adam is little more than an ape who wants to paw her. Think of your average pimply junior high boy spiking on testosterone and you’ll have the perfect picture of who Adam is as Bill Cosby describes him.

We want our customers to be like that pimply boy, so eager to be with our product that they’ll do almost anything to make it theirs.  But Eve’s coy behavior is exactly what we do to our customers when we present the perfect product in description and then fail to deliver on the actual feature. Or we deliver the perfect product and the out of box experience is horrendous – think of Apple’s caricatures of how much trouble it is to get a Windows PC up and running versus their plug it in and go. Or better yet, we set up terrible automated phone trees that send our customers into oblivion when they attempt to call and speak with a live person. If you don’t want to destroy your margins offering support to customers either make your product so brain dead simple a 5 year old can use it or else recognize that service is a fantastic way to create loyal customers.