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How to overcome ‘Shiny iPad Syndrome’

Don’t spend $2million on a new app without knowing what your customer truly wants. Far from a new app, what customers want are for organisations to fulfill the promises they made when they signed up, which may be something as simple as answering the phone in less than 5 minutes.

Customer Experience (CX), User Experience (UX), Design Thinking and Service Design have gained popularity in recent years, with more organisations recognising the need to build customer-centric businesses, however too many are confusing a ‘seamless user experience’ with the need for a new app or platform.

Too many organisations are falling victim to ‘Shiny iPad Syndrome’. I think the issue is that large consultancies are heavily focused on big digital transformations and IT changes which are expensive and can take a long time. Quite often this approach isn’t addressing what customers actually want.

We’ve seen it time and again where large organisations have what we call ‘Shiny iPad Syndrome’. They’re more interested in investing in shiny new technology solutions than addressing the core incompetencies in their business model and service delivery.

Because a new app or AI solution is visible and ‘sexy,’ companies are spending millions building solutions to the wrong problem. They are assuming to know what their customers want, before deep-diving into what that actually is, and more often than not we find that the customer wants something completely different.

In truth, most organisations don’t do the simple things well. Because we’re so granular in our approach, there are things we can improve immediately around People, Policies, Procedures, Props and Process.

Before investing in the next shiny tech:

Help your people empathise

People are the literal face of your business, so if they aren’t communicating effectively or aren’t empathising with customers, the experience can often be disappointing. One of the simplest changes we’ve implemented with customers is building a customer persona or avatar and posting around the office so that when sales staff are engaging with customers they can better empathise with their customers.

Review out of date policies

Another great place to start is by examining and refreshing policies. If your policies are out of date, how can you re-work these to empower people to deliver a better customer experience without having to jump through hoops?

Connect your procedures across departments

Quite often organisations make promises, but there is no structure in place to deliver on these promises across the different functions in the business. By reviewing and streamlining your processes, you can eliminate anything that doesn’t add value to the customer and focus on the things that do.

Refresh your props

Looking at your props and collateral, you can delve deeper into customer communications and identify any shortcomings. This includes looking at things like website copy, emails and SMS to ensure communications with customers are relevant and useful rather than abrupt and convoluted.

Refine your processes

Do you have checklists for people to actually go through in a quick, seamless and consistent manner on a repeatable basis? Have you thought through those processes that help customers rather than just serve your internal needs?

Damian Kernahan

Damian Kernahan is Australia's leading expert on service design, customer experience management and service innovation, believing that branding is the promise you make; customer experience is the promise you keep.