On delighting instead of insulting your customers.

Jon Peddie

Why are some products more desirable than others? It could be a variety of things—price, features, newness, color, brand/status, and ease of use, or maybe something more subtle.

Cable TV was a dream come true, lots of channels, ease of use, and yet everyone hated the cable companies. Why? Because the cable companies never understood their customers or their relationship to customers. The cable companies didn’t get that they were there to serve the customer, not the other way around. Many of the streaming platforms are making the same mistakes. You can predict their future.

Some car companies have made a model or two that just wasn’t very good, was unreliable and, therefore, frustrating to own. One company—I won’t name but will call Axelrod—which did just that, ultimately failed and was acquired by another, also unnamed here but we’ll call Rising Sun, is a major brand today. What was the difference? The failed company, Axelrod, had the attitude that customers were tokens to be spent, used. They saw warranty costs as a bad thing, caused by the customers. The other company, Rising Sun, saw it as an alarm. They had not lived up to their goals. They were embarrassed. They treated the complaining customers with respect, and even with extra services. They not only won back their customers, but they made them lifetime customers. The company understood who was paying their salaries. Who worked for whom.

Apple gets it too.

Apple, for all its flaws and misfires, understands UIs and user experience. And I say this not as a fanboy but coming from decades of Apple scorn.

Okay, my only main experience is Apple TV (although I did get a watch and phone for Christmas and am liking them so far).

When going through the Apple TV platform, even to other platforms like Prime, MHz (but not PBS for some weird reason), Apple remembers that you last watched Episode 4 of Season 9 of Hercule Poirot and leads you (gently) to Episode 5.

Sure, other brands manage this feat to some extent. Roku does it sometimes on certain shows, but it is by no means consistent.

Apple even keeps track of UK cop shows as well as where you paused the French film Anatomy of a Fall (and went to bed). Great, tense film, BTW, with a classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf marital meltdown scene—highly recommended.

These are examples of delights. Products that delight you. When I open my car door at night, the interior lights come on slowly and a beam of light shines on the ground by the door to illuminate my way. It’s delightful. Would I pay $100 extra for it? Well, now I might. But if it were offered to me as a choice when buying the car and having no experience with it, probably not.

How many products delight you?

I mentioned my new phone. With my beloved superthin Samsung Galaxy, I always had problems answering a phone call using the phone’s touchy screen, and then getting it into speakerphone entailed more fumbling. Most frustrating, not delightful, and the phone was superexpensive. When this new iPhone rings, I slide one icon and it answers, and then I push an easy-to-find large button (because it’s one of only six) for speakerphone. Delightful, and no more missed and fumbled calls that usually required me to call the person back and apologize for hanging up on them.

So that’s what the streaming platform vendors need to learn—how to make using their platform delightful, enjoyable, and a destination, not a dread.

Oh, and P.S., the Apple TV remote is a universal that doesn’t require setup. We have three controls—the AV amp (because there is a 7.1 system involved), a TV control (to light it up, it’s nothing more than a monitor), and a source remote (Roku or Apple, as well as an Xfinity we didn’t order but came with the Internet service). If we are going to watch something on Roku, it’s clickity-click three times (often more because the TV is cranky about how you aim at it). If we are going to watch something on the Apple platform, it’s click—done.

Delightful. No setup. It just works without being asked, or asking me for a password.

So, streamer, or any product or service vendor, want my business and loyalty? Delight me. Don’t make me work for you to use your product and pay you for the abuse.