Why enterprise products still need a manual

When was the last time you referenced your smartphone’s manual? Does it even come with one? The key to a great experience, one that your customers will enthuse over, is an intuitive design. The gap between how you expect a product to work and how it does work has narrowed dramatically and consumers have benefited greatly. Have you seen the baby working a tablet perfectly?

At the other end of the spectrum is enterprise IT.  IT administrators manage enterprise products such as servers, storage, networking, and software. I would argue that for most of these products, the learning curve has indeed shrunk, but not nearly enough. That’s because the gap between how IT expects a product to work and how it does work was massive 20 years ago and is still extremely wide today.

In order to bring great experiences to IT, tech companies must do two things in combination: Design intuitive interfaces and continually rebalance the support apparatus. I’m sure you would agree that designing intuitive interfaces are definitely the harder of the two. Yet, companies still spend a much greater percentage of its resources doing it. Why?

Rebalancing the support apparatus consists of analyzing how much customer touch is required and how technology can augment or replace it. Take the automated phone menu. When it was first introduced, it was fantastic – and over time, it got a little better. But now it’s just miserable.  No one wants to get stuck dealing with these things. It’s so miserable that some companies are offering alternatives as a competitive advantage. Discover’s new it card commercial markets how customers can talk to a real person, not a machine.

Today, Dell helps customers to help themselves with some additional technology. The popular Quick Resource Locator (QRL) is now available for Dell Networking products.  QRL provides immediate access to extensive system information and detailed how-to videos using your smartphone. It’s available on the web and for Android, iOS, and Windows mobile devices. The effort began with a single question: How do we help customers help themselves? The result is immediate access to solutions for the top 15 call drivers, videos, installation setup, training, and reference material. We view this as an enhancement – not a replacement – to customer touch. In fact, within the QRL app is a direct link to Technical Support, formal training courses, and sales.

The result is a new balance between technology and customer touch.

About the Author: Jason Landry

Jason Landry is a Senior Product Marketing Manager. He markets Dell EMC PowerEdge Servers by telling customer stories and creating unique messaging for the PowerEdge family. He writes stories about technology and business with a goal of providing readers with a perspective they have not seen. He has been a part of the tech industry for more than 15 years, starting with a small software company he founded in 2000. He holds a Masters of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. Jason joined Dell in 2017 after departing Ixia Communications where he marketed their test and visibility products. He is an avid follower of business and consumer technology stories, especially ones about game changers who are disrupting an industry with technology. Uber and tastyworks are two of his favorites. He is borderline obsessive about golf and college football. He is married and in the process of adopting a child.