I was reading Good enough . It prompted me to write, what prompts manufacturers to add many useless features to a product, which a normal user probably wonâ€™t even explore in the productâ€™s life time. Is it desperation to score over competitors? Or is it the mind of an expert psychiatrist at work who is exploiting the â€œfeel goodâ€? factor of the potential buyer? Potential buyer can boasts to the family and friends, â€œLook at my appliance. It’s different!â€? Or is it the fault of the research wing Who canâ€™t gauge the mind of an average consumer? Feature adding just works at the initial stage. Potential customer is attracted to buy, but afterwards he gripes about it to many.
Harvard Business Review Working Knowledge says, â€œIf you are a manager in a consumer products company, our research presents you with a dilemma. Adding features improves the initial attractiveness of a product but ultimately decreases customers’ satisfaction with it. So, what should you do? If you give people what they want, they will suffer for it later, and that has three follow-on effects.â€?
“Finally, frustrated product owners . . . will spread the word of their dissatisfaction. This appears to be the case with BMW, whose 7 Series cars feature the complicated iDrive system, which offers about 700 capabilities requiring multifunction displays and multistep operationsâ€”even for functions that formerly required the twist of a knob or the flick of a switch. BMW included instruction sheets in the glove compartment because it is almost impossible to give the car to a valet parker without an impromptu lecture. According to industry news reports, sales of the 7 Series in the United States in the first half of 2005 were down about 10 percent relative to the same period in 2004. Past studies have established the power of positive word of mouth and the much greater prevalence of its negative formâ€”and most of those studies were conducted before the Internet gave every dissatisfied party a global sphere of influence.”
I find the same apprehension in this post.
Finally what a product manager should do to keep consumersâ€™ dissatisfaction at bay? Well that needs another post.