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“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

July 28, 2011

I don’t think Obi-Wan was trying to dissuade those storm troopers from buying Android phones, but maybe he should have given a recent report suggesting, “the return rate on some Android devices is between 30 and 40 percent.” I love my droid, but I’m pretty geeky when it comes to technology, and most people are not. For example, I have this friend, “Analog Girl.” You should see the way she picks up my phone. It’s as if it’s a “Mission Impossible” device that will self destruct in five seconds… Oh, sure, she likes the fact she can check the weather, live traffic reports, and of course estate sales on Craigslist, but for her everyday use, a sturdy flip-phone gets the job done. And she doesn’t even seem to mind the teasing…

What’s my point? Well, with any technology, you’ve got to know your audience. In Analog Girl’s case, “Cell phones shouldn’t have to be so hard,” and it looks like that’s true for over 30% of people who initially bought droids. They were too complex and made the experience lousy. It’s a great credit to Apple that they designed the iPhone interface to be so highly intuitive that the consumer experience is “insanely great” and hardly any get returned. That experience thing has a huge influence on enterprise software today. With the simple and elegant experience consumers have using iPhones, Amazon.com and Google, the experience customers expect with your software needs to be just as intuitive or you’ll be in trouble.

In the past couple of years we’ve worked to make our products even easier to use and to live up to the adage, “Workforce Management doesn’t have to be so hard.” We’ve redesigned our software for simplicity and created new products for easy mobile access. These changes are a response to our customer base changing. For example, many young retail associates today are from the “Millennial” generation. If you want them using your product, it better be on their phone. We’re also making life easier for IT professionals tasked with supporting software by providing the business benefits of cloud computing.

So actively listen to your customers and understand they’re not comparing your product experience just to competitors. They’re comparing it to Pandora, Facebook and Twitter. We will continue to, so that our products are easy to learn, easy to use, and easy to manage. We don’t ever want some Jedi to say, “this isn’t the workforce management software you’re looking for.”

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