We’ve been an Apple Macintosh shop from day one. We loved them. They were intuitive, stable, and reliable.
Until the Cloud.
Most of our software now comes from the Cloud. Programs update automatically and sometimes without warning. Apple, in an effort to stay ahead of hackers and competitors, releases new systems more frequently than my windows get washed. As new versions are introduced, software developers scramble to stay compatible.
Apple isn’t the only culprit. Larger developers drive change as well. Often, Adobe’s Creative Cloud’s frequent updates mean files built with the latest software won’t open in even slightly older versions.
All these “New and Improved” developments coming from the Cloud got me thinking. Could thoughtful marketing communications have made these changes easier to accept?
Here’s what I wish I could tell Apple to do, and what you can do if you’re introducing a changed product or service.
Give us a warning.
Tell us when change is coming with enough time to prepare for the transition. Upgrade costs, training demands and operational impacts will all be factors in determining how much lead time your customers may need.
Show me and tell me what is changing and how it will impact me. Provide demos and documentation. Share your research, trial results and white papers. Discuss the benefits of the “new”, but be honest about any potentially unwelcome changes, too.
Let me test it first.
Provide samples, a trial period, or a preview. Letting us try the new thing into our own real-world setting alleviates a lot of fear.
Give me options.
As much as possible, give me control over when the change occurs. Keep both the new and old products in production for a while to accommodate late adopters. Tell me when the original will no longer be available.
Let me change my mind.
If I hate the new thing, how do I undo my decision? Are refunds or guarantees possible? How do I return, uninstall, or dispose of the thing? What are the alternatives if this doesn’t work for me?
How you introduce change to a customer can make a big impact on its acceptance. Make marketing communications your ally and you’ll go a long way toward keeping them happy and open to improvements.