Make your product invisible

Like electricity, the use of a dataphone has almost become that predictable, consistent, expected. When you want to make a call, set an appointment, get an answer to anything, you pull out your phone. It’s a modern day equivalent of flipping the light switch.

I’ve noticed some ‘heavy’ smartphone zones: airports, stoplights, doctor’s waiting rooms.

In one of these zones, you only notice the people who aren’t on a smartphone.

When your product's 'switch' is flipped, does it just click for the customer?

The use of these phones/devices has become invisible. When people seek the pivotal (departure time of a flight or directions when lost on a dark, deserted street) or the mundane (score of a football game or the real name of Seinfeld’s Kramer) they have a method to get an answer quickly, painlessly. Events, situations, scenarios that used to take hours, now take seconds.

Not all products can achieve such luxury or esteemed status, yet your product or service can inch closer towards being invisible. When a product’s invisible, it just works. No hassle. No fuss. No confusion. When you have a need to be filled or a problem to be solved, you turn to a product, and the product meets your need.

So what can other industries learn from the smartphone to make their products closer to invisibility?

  • Can a customer service line detect your personal information from the phone number where you dialed? It’s frustrating to have to re-enter a phone number when you’re tired, frustrated or angry.
  • Can your car rental company know your preferred XM satellite stations and have them preset upon your arrival? If you’re late to a meeting, and want to relax, the last thing you want to do is scan the dial while you navigate unfamiliar roads.
  • Can a fast food restaurant with a huge in-store line shift the order of the foods even though they’re out of sequence? For example, I recently ordered a yogurt from McDonald’s, which I could see from the counter in a fridge, yet I had to wait 10 minutes until all the other people received their time-intensive pancakes and sausage?

These micro-improvements, which can yield substantial gains, are sometime overlooked when product or business owners look to improve. The big wins are appreciated, yet they are few and far between. Seeking to make small wins on a frequent cadence will pave your path to product invisibility.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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