You know, all the stuff that Apple gets perfect every time and most other companies can't do right for more than about a month at a time.
So...we don't have any boxes any more. How can OOBE matter? Extend the idea from "your product" to "your company." Substitute the words "initial customer experience" -- or even better, "initial contact experience" (for people who aren't yet customers). Guess what: Apple gets this perfect every time, and too many other companies can't seem to do it right to save their lives. This isn't just a matter of attractively designed bags and boxes...it's less to do with design than with execution and attention to detail.
If you plan on keeping customers, you need to design interactions as carefully as you design products. Whether you're in retail or consumer or IT or professional services, it is almost impossible to be too good at OOBE. And little things you're doing sloppily are turning customers away every day. Due to layoffs & cutbacks, this issue is getting worse. Read up.
Imagine you're trying to contact a company for the first time, either with an innocent request for information or to find out what their warranty returns policy is.
So now -- are you EVER going to do business with this company? Not very likely if you have the choice.
The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions
From the first moment a customer, prospect, or curious tire-kicker tries to interact with your company, you have the opportunity to impress them...positively or negatively. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to put people off, even though your intention is to give them the best possible customer service. Many an horrendous customer experience has occurred in the name of cost control, expediting, or responsiveness. Despite the good intentions, fragmentary execution means a lot of people fall through the cracks.
To avoid these problems, you've got to think through the entire contact cycle as if you were an uninformed customer. This isn't just a "site design" or "information architecture" exercise. This is the look and feel of your entire company. Here are the steps:
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. So don't skimp on this stuff! The business case for investing in OOBE is sledgehammer-simple:
The answers here won't be "zero," but will be very small indeed.
About the Author:
David Taber is the author of the Prentice-Hall book, "Salesforce.com Secrets of Success" and the CEO of SalesLogistix.