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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I want an iPhone

Here is a link to a Youtube video that is NOT appropriate for work, due to language. I link to it because it typifies certain attitudes prevalent in business. If you choose not to follow the link, here is the gist:

A customer comes to a store and asks for the new iPhone 4G. The store rep says they are currently out, but offers similar alternatives. The customer will hear nothing of alternatives but fixedly desires an iPhone 4G. The store rep repeatedly attempts to reason with the customer, explaining how the alternatives could be preferable to the iPhone 4G, but the situation devolves to profanity-laden dismissal of the customer (hence my warning).

I often saw situations similar to this in the wine business. Not to the degree of profanity, but certainly to the point of frustration. Customers would be focused on a certain product. If that proved unavailable, the customer would hear no alternatives. As a retailer, one wants to provide an alternative. You can only tell such a customer so much, however. They are caught in an enthusiasm.

We all fall for enthusiasm, or hype. It is not logical, but it happens. Even among diehard fans, the iPhone has its issues. Dropped calls, lack of cut-and-paste, lack of turn-by-turn GPS, and antenna issues have all been cited over the years. Even as fans complain about these issues, they remain loyal to the iPhone.These issues simply are not deal killers.

Getting one’s back up over a customer’s loyal preferences serves nothing but to widen the divide. In the wine business, we did blind tastings. These often led to surprises and revelations for consumers, when some well known wine does poorly or little known one wins tasters’ preference. Even with such ‘proof’, many people remained loyal to their initial preference. It is not logical but there you are. Emotion often prevails.

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