Products vs. Solutions

by Guest Blogger Patrick Bunn

Recently my wife asked for a new fitness tracking device. She has been so happy with the device I gave her that she has indirectly convinced me that I should get one as well. I began doing some research to find which device would be the best fit for me. Finally, based on all the features I wanted, I made my choice.

Consumer Research DataConsumer Research Data

One of the things my wife has trained me to do with any new purchase is to check out the user reviews on different products. One of the greatest aspects of the reviews she emphasized is to not just look at the positive reviews and making sure there are more positive than negative, but to actually look at the negative reviews as well to see if there are any common problems that seem to habitually occur with the product.

Sure enough, this particular model I was looking at had three major complaints: the band, short warranty period relative to failure rate, and, most importantly, lack of customer service. Everyone complained there actually was no customer service at all—these unsatisfied customers protested that they could not find any phone numbers to call in order to reach the company and that the company did not advertise any way to contact them for support.

Buying experience dataBuying experience data

Personally, I find it hard to believe a company would not have any customer support at all, but imagine if that were that case? The customers that did obtain a customer service phone number stated they had to remain on hold for a minimum of ten minutes. Other customers said they were on hold for an hour just to be told there was nothing they could do.

With all this in mind, I decided to do some more research and see if there might be a better product on the market. I found a similar product that seemed to have all of the features I was looking for, plus more. I felt I had finally found the perfect entry-level fitness tracker. Then, I started looking at the reviews. It seems this product didn’t rate nearly as well as the original product I was looking at, as far as customer reviews go. It also seemed to possess many of the same issues as that product, according to the reviews.

So, why tell you this story? I believe this experience echoes a new trend in the marketplace. The consumer desires more than simply a great product. As I stated to begin with in my initial research, I weighed out all the products and made a decision based on features. The two products I was looking at are great products. Even with the complaints, there are still far more positive reviews than negative ones. Everyone I know who has one of these devices only speaks positively about them.

Unhappy customer behaviorUnhappy customer behavior

But I did not buy either of those products. Why is that? It is because having a superior product is no longer sufficient in today’s economy. As consumers, we want more than simply a product. We also want customer service and support. We want to feel as if we matter to the company. We want to know that if we bring up an issue, it will be acknowledged and addressed. We want to feel as if our opinion matters. Or we take our business elsewhere.

In Part 2, I discuss the way this increased desire for customer service and support play into our role as system integrators