Change #Fail – What’s In It For Me, Exactly?

by Thomas MORADPOUR on December 13, 2011 · 8 comments

I’ll keep this one short.

Doesn’t it strike you that whenever a business comes up with a change to an established product or service, it’s always welcomed by a barrage of people who hate it?

New New Twitter was announced this week. Oh no. The Twitter app has too many clicks now, it’s clunky, where did “my retweets” go, it’s too much like cluttered Facebook now…  and the list goes on.

WE HATE CHANGE

It clear that any changes introduces discomfort for users, and we’re creatures of habit. Why would we be happy with someone moving our cheese, forcing us to go back into discovery, learning curve mode? And yes, voices who complain are always louder than voices of appreciation.

THEY’LL GET USED TO IT EVENTUALLY

Conventional wisdom on change is that people will eventually see the light – users don’t know what they don’t know. Innovation is not a democratic process of asking people what they want – because they don’t know what they have not seen before. It’s the role of experts to improve and innovate, and know better than anyone else what can be done better.

BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?

My problem is that in many cases, change fails to answer a very simple question.

“What’s in it for me?”

I’m in business, I get the whole thinking: every business has goals and strategy – and strategy is about change.
But I’m a user. And if you can’t show me added value for me, sorry but I’m out.

Sorry Twitter, I don’t see the point for me, of just switching things around, and making me click twice as much.
Likewise, sorry Klout, I did not see personal value in having my score drop 15points for the sake of a better algorithm distribution.
And sorry Netflix, breaking your business in two separate entities was entirely meaningless for me as a user.

What do you say? Anything in it for you?

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  • http://twitter.com/beanbagboy Lima Bean

    Awesome article! I agree. I think sometimes change is made for the sake of change. Not to improve the user experience. And when change is made, the customer/user isn’t educated as to what it all means or the benefits thereof.
    Also, shouldn’t change streamline a process instead of making it more complicated? I often find that change is made because it makes sense to the designer/programmer and not for the layman, who’s thought processes are completely different.

    • http://twitter.com/TomMoradpour Thomas Moradpour

      Thanks for reading and I agree with you wholeheartedly.
      I think it’s perfectly legitimate to change your product or service for an internal business reason… or to think ahead of where consumers are… but there is just no excuse for not pitching it in a way that makes sense for THEM.
      Tom

  • Anonymous

    Tom, good post; picture is spot on perfect.  When I think of change it must answer these questions:
    1) Does it improve Cost?
    2) Does it improve Quality?
    3) Does it improve Time?
    Those three measures are best viewed as a Clock.  Typically you can have the hands point to two of the three but not optimize for all three.  Take Federal Express as an example…  You pay more to insure Quality (reliable delivery) and Time (speed to end of process).  It costs more though. :)

    And, you’re on a roll! A second post.  Nice…  Off to look at that one later in the day.
    – Josepf

    • http://twitter.com/TomMoradpour Thomas Moradpour

      three actually!
      Thanks Josepf for the build!
      Tom

    • http://twitter.com/danielnewmanUV Daniel Newman

      I would also add -> Does it improve culture, morale, vision, etc

  • http://twitter.com/kurtfrenier RedHotMktBlender

    Question is: are you changing to beat the market or to beat (i.e. improve) the consumer experience? Far too many times, the market “performance” leads : being first, being different, being fast … for the sake of first, different, fast. Too many eyes on the scoreboard instead of the ball!

  • http://MerlinUWard.com Merlin U Ward

    Great post, Tom! I agree with Josepf that customers changes should answer those questions. When it comes to users however I think it’s very important for the business to build expectation.

    Klout failed because there was no warning and then a poor followup to explain. Although, I believe the change was made to improve the business and it’s integrity, the users didn’t see it that way. Same for Twitter. Changes were made with little explanation. I had to read Brian Solis’ blog to get the skinny on the changea.

    Facebook is the only one who really communicates to their users the changes. They shop so in a very “Steve Jobs” style format and discuss WHY changes are made. The backlash really settled down after F8.

    Sometimes a refresh isn’t bad as long as its an improvement or positioning the business for new direction. But it must be explained to users! There will always be some backlash, but it can be minimized.

  • Anonymous

    Okay Tom – Confession time. Sometimes I use Twitter for tweeting. I know that probably makes me uncool, and to be fair, it’s usually in conjunction with activity in Hootsuite, LinkedIn, mobile, etc. but depending what application I’m in at any given point, sometimes it’s just easier. Until this past week.
    I do get change and I’m usually okay with it, because I’m optimistic that with change, comes some improvement, increased value, or other benefit. I know our human nature is to resist – at least a little – but I wanted to give it a chance.
    Fast forward a week, and I too am struggling to see any benefit, value, or improvement to me, as a user, or Twitter itself. I think Josepf and Daniel make good points, but in the end, organizations need to be more focused on how the decisions they make affect the customer experience.
    For me, I now find myself shunning Twitter and relying more on my 3rd party applications. Probably not what Twitter was intending. 
    Thanks Tom!
    Ted

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