Do You Believe in Magic?
I have been helping a few startups try to reach product-market-fit and have encountered a common theme: everyone is too tactical. Discussions quickly digress into incremental benefits and features. Attend any company’s product meeting and you’ll often hear debates about adding Feature X vs Feature Y based on criteria like development time and which one the customer would prefer.
Want to build a truly great customer experience? Stop talking about features — or even benefits — and start talking about creating an overall “magical experience.”
Think of it from your customer’s perspective. Ask customers to describe their favorite products and they will almost never list out features. Instead they describe an experience that is so amazing and so over-delivers on expectations that they can’t help but feel like something magical just happened.
Uber: Need a ride somewhere? You used to have to wait for a cab and hassle with cash payments. Now just push a button. A personal driver *magically* appears and takes you wherever you want to go. When you arrive you just get out. The rest is all taken care of.
Sprig/Munchery: Need dinner? Don’t think about cooking or calling for delivery. Choose a picture of a beautiful meal prepared by a professional chef. Push a button and it *magically* appears at your house in 30 minutes.
Amazon Prime: Need to buy something? Don’t deal with the hassle of driving to a store and parking. Tell this website what type of item you are looking for. Then push a button and in 48 hours it *magically* appears on your doorstep.
At their core, almost all of the most used Internet services today are defined not by their features but by an experience so impossibly simple it just seems magical.
So what makes an experience magical? Three key elements:
- It’s absurdly simple. Something as simple as “Push a button” or “type in a word” or “wave a magic wand”. Any work required by the user and the magic goes away.
- It’s doing a task that is normally hard. The harder the task feels to begin with, the more magical it will feel to make it simple.
- It’s helping solve an important need. If the task you solve is not important you’ll get a nice “wow” but it just won’t have the same emotional appeal as fixing something that matters.
Before you create incremental features, take the time to flesh out the ideal “magical experience” for your customer. What very difficult, important task are you going to make impossibly easy? Ask your customer “If you could push a button or wave a wand, what would you like to have happen?” It’s a much easier way to figure out their most pressing problems and their ideal solution. Then back into what exact product changes — feature additions, changes AND removals — you need to make that happen.
- When building your roadmap, rather than focusing on features, focus on creating an experience your customer would describe as “magical” — then back out the minimum amount of features or changes to make it happen and remove everything else.
Originally published at www.iamcharliegraham.com on March 27, 2015.