7 July 2015 | 19 Comments
What does hip surgery have to do with crowdfunding?
A friend of mine is a professional organizer. People hire her to come to their homes, assess what they have vs. what they really need, and reorganize everything so it’s more compact, efficient, and easy to find.
Recently she was hired by an elderly man who had fallen down the stairs in his house. He broke his pelvis and required extensive hip surgery, and his ability to climb or descend stairs was permanently diminished.
So my friend had the challenge of moving the entire contents of the man’s house to a new single-story condo while the man was recovering from surgery. She needed the man to feel at home when he returned, and the man needed to be able to find everything in his house on his own.
Now, there are a few ways my friend could have facilitated the move. One way is that she could have move the man’s possessions to the new condo without any input from him and organized them in a way that made sense to her. I’m sure the condo would have looked nice if she had taken that approach, but the man would really struggled to find things, and it wouldn’t have felt like home to him.
Instead, she took a different, more calculated approach: First she walked through the man’s old house and took photos of everything. Then she Facetimed with the man before she moved anything to see if there were certain things that could go in storage or be thrown away.
Then she painstakingly moved everything to the new location and recreated each room exactly as shown in the photos, even down to the spare pen on the bedside table. To her it was just another pen, but to the man that pen–and where it was located–might be really important.
My friend wasn’t there when the man moved in, but she got a call from him soon after. She could hear the emotion in his voice as he described how worried he had been, but that his worries were washed away when he walked in the door. It instantly felt like home to him.
I was reminded of this story yesterday when a customer e-mailed me about the status of an order he recently placed through our new Shopify store. He was looking for some information that he couldn’t find, partly because the information wasn’t available on the store.
So instead of just answering the question, I asked him, “Where exactly did you look for the information? I want to make sure I put it in the right place so it’s easy for you and other customers to find.”
I was trying to take a cue from my professional organizer friend. Rather than put the information where I thought it belonged, focused on the customer’s perspective.
I’ve experienced this recently with Scythe blind playtesting as well. Every morning I wake up to questions about rules. My internal reaction is, “It’s right there in the rulebook on page X!”
But then I get over myself and realize the truth behind those questions: Even if the rule is in the rulebook, if a playtester can’t find the rule, then there’s something wrong with the rulebook.
So I always go back to the rules to see how and where I placed the rule. And often I reach out to the playtester to ask where they looked for the rule. I might think the rule makes sense in the “Mech” section, but if everyone is looking for it under “Movement,” that tells me something.
Finally this brings us to Kickstarter and crowdfunding.
Whenever I send out the preview page and after the project launches, I often see questions that are answered on the page or in the FAQ. Again, my internal reaction is, “It’s right there!”, but then I get over myself and remember that if someone can’t find the answer, it doesn’t matter that the answer is there.
Sometimes these are one-off questions that don’t require more than subtle changes or clarifications. But sometimes several people ask the same question. That’s a clear signal that I haven’t highlighted a certain piece of information well enough, that something needs to be elevated on the project page, or that something needs to move from the FAQ (which few people read) to the core text of the project page.
Really, it’s all about customer-facing service. Sometimes it’s hard, but the next time you have the same reaction as me–“It’s right there!”–just think of what my friend did to make the old man feel at home again. If you can do that in a small way for your backers, you’re doing a great job as a creator.
Can you think of times when a company or creator executed great customer-facing service for you? Or perhaps an example of how much organization matters in helping you find the thing you’re looking for?
- KS Lesson #143: How Can I Make This Experience Better for You?
- KS Lesson #132: The 6 Core Philosophies for Great Customer Service
- KS Lesson #39: Anatomy of a Great Kickstarter Project Page