Monday, September 3, 2007

Service on your terms

Scott over at the very insightful Artificial Simplicity blog has a great post on service expectations in the Internet world. He sums up 'service' as:

  • Free
  • Fast
  • Accessible 24/7
  • Hyper-relevant in terms of specific times, place, situation, product
  • Connected to as many venues as possible
  • Configurable/Customization: reorganize info the way you want it
  • And ideally Smart: Learns your preferences and improves through usage

I think it's a pretty good list.

What intrigued me the most (and why I left a comment on his blog) was that we now expect these elements to be present in many of our real-life interactions - I'm less willing to pay for service (I can do myself), don't want to wait, want things to be connected to other tasks/information I need, and don't want to go through the same steps each time to reach my goal (configurable service).

Case in point. Each time my cable modem goes down (and this has happened a few times for varying reasons), I have to go through the same steps over the phone with the tech rep. Even when it might be my third call that week! Same steps... same boring routine.... despite me telling them it didn't work last time. The human on the other end of the phone might be good at keeping me engaged and talking and trying to deliver that good'ole service with a smile attitude, but they are not great at learning from my past experiences and configuring the service to my needs.

It's strange, but there are so many examples where I feel a computer is better at the job than a human. I never always felt that way. It's the Internet that has done it to me. For better or worse? Interesting question.

I'm consumed by these things at the moment as we're still in development stage for our software service. Interaction, design, work-flows etc. - they all need to be thought through. Scott's post about Internet Service gives clarity to many of these things. I'll post about some of them as they get more fully developed.

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