Troy Wolverton is a News Columnist for the San Jose Mercury News and this morning’s paper carried his fascinating column on his growing infatuation with Siri, the intelligent assistant that lives inside of every Apple iPhone 4S. The column is truly an entertaining read, but as I read it I realized that Wolverton is acting as a 1-person focus group for any Realization team involved in any sort of product development. As Wolverton writes:
“Our relationship started off professionally. Siri helped me send text messages and set up calls. She took dictation when I wanted to send email, updated my calendar with new appointments and looked up stock quotes for me.”
“She was so good at her job, that I soon had her doing personal tasks. I’d ask her to play a song, check the weather, and search Wikipedia for information on whatever popped into my mind.”
“The more I talked to Siri, the more enchanted I became.”
“I think this is the start of a beautiful relationship.”
Now think about these excerpts for a minute. When’s the last time one of your customers told you that they were “enchanted” by your product. Perhaps that’s because your product communicates with the customer using messages such as “Error 404” or “Could not compile” or perhaps the infamous blue screen of death. All of those communication styles are the ones we’ve become familiar with in our little high-tech world. We tolerate this brusque treatment but we are hardly enchanted.
Siri’s error responses:
“I can’t answer that now, but give me some time to write a very long play in which nothing happens.”
“I’m sorry Troy, I’m afraid I can’t do that. Are you happy now?”
And my favorite:
“Two iPhones walk into a bar … I forget the rest.”
Does your product have a built-in sense of humor?
As it so often does, Apple has significantly raised the bar on human-machine interaction with the introduction of Siri. So now, you can expect customers to become significantly less and less enchanted with all manner of products that fail to match Apple’s latest offering.
Dickens wrote an entire book on this topic: “Great Expectations”.
You can read Wolverton’s full article here.