At the Inc. 500/5000 conference I attended last October, Guy Kawasaki offered an informative session about cultivating and maintaining “enchantment” in your customers or clients. Since then, I have been summarizing those points, off and on, and discussing how they are applicable for us at Outskirts Press so perhaps they can also help you apply the information to your own entrepreneurial efforts (starting a business, running a company or yes, even marketing a published book).
Step 8 is to use technology.
Once again Guy demonstrates his admiration for Apple, Inc. by creating a “Step to Enchantment” that is so reflective of what Apple does incredibly well. Yes, last time I mentioned that Apple was all about presentation, which may have implied Apple values flash over substance. On the contrary, Apple is one of those rare companies that actually delivers the substance (the technology in this case) to back-up the hype (their flash, their presentation).
With this step, Guy suggests that great companies can use technology to enchant their customers by smoothing over, and even removing, potential “speed bumps.” A speed bump, of course, is anything that gets in the way of the customer having a flawless experience with that company’s product, service, or brand. The Internet (and more recently, social media) has given all start-up businesses, as well as established enterprises, an equal opportunity to use technology to provide valuable information, insights, and assistance to their clients or customers. What used to be a costly and time intensive exercise of direct-mail notification or phone calls can now be accomplished instantly via email or the company’s Facebook or Twitter pages; all the business needs to do is actually use these new technologies that are available to interact with their customers or clients — and let potential new customers or clients experience that dialogue transparently, in real time.
As technically sophisticated as our self publishing website is at Outskirts Press, I feel we could perform this step better. It becomes more difficult to “use technology” effectively when a customer base spans the age groups between 8 and 80. Apple is an amazing company with amazing technology simply because an eight year and an eighty year old can often have the same smooth, enjoyable experience with an Apple product (except when upgrading to mobile OS 6 deletes your cloud contacts and calendar, ugh, but I digress). An 8-year-old can use our online system just fine. 80 year-olds, on the other hand, sometimes find the experience a little confusing. Fortunately, we offer Publishing Consultants and then Author Representatives, who are available to walk every one of our clients through the entire process, not unlike the Apple clerks at your friendly neighborhood Apple retailer (except you don’t have to drive to our consultants to get the help you need).