Minimize switching costs to maximize value

Minimize switching costs to maximize value

最小化转换成本到最大化价值

If you want to be a bad product manager, build the “best” product and assume that the customers will come. That’s all that matters to customers, right? Sure, it might seem like a bit of a hassle at first to switch over, but once people will realize how great your product is, they won’t mind at all.

如果你想成为一个糟糕的产品经理,那么去构建这个“最好”的产品并假设客户会来。对于客户就是这样的,对吧?确实,这种转变起初看起来有些麻烦,但是一旦人们意识到你的产品有多好,他们就根本不会关注了。

If you want to be a good product manager, understand relevant switching costs and attempt to reduce them as much as possible to improve customer acquisition and perceived value. Every product has a cost, whether implicit or explicit. Even “free” products have a cost, most notably the time a consumer spends learning and using it. People will buy and use products where the value and benefit they get from the product is higher than the cost to them.

如果你想成为一个不错的产品经理,那就要懂得相关的转换成本并尽可能地努力减少他们去提高客户的收益和感知价值。每个产品都有成本,无论是隐性的或是显性的。甚至“免费”的产品也有成本,大多数体现在消费者花费学习和使用它的时间上。只有当客户能从产品中获得的价值和收益高于他们的成本时,他们会购买和使用产品。

In most cases, the main cost is explicit — the price of the product to purchase. However, in many cases, the cost to someone is beyond just what they have to spend and takes into account other factors. These switching costs take multiple different forms:

在大多数情况下,主要的成本是显性的-购买产品的价格。然而,在许多情况下,某人的成本正好是超过了他们必须要花费的以及要把其他因素考虑进去。这些转换成本有多种形式:

  • Learning cost: A new product might have improved functionality or capability which requires an investment of time and training to take advantage of. Switching from a car automatic to manual transmission may require the driver to learn how to drive a stick-shift. Switching from Windows to OS X may offer some benefits, though there is initially some loss of efficiency at a minimum for even the most experienced computer users. For a computer programmer, coding in a new programming language may offer many benefits, though it will require time to learn the language and potentially cost to purchase resources and training in order to become knowledgeable about the new language.

学习成本:一个新产品可能会提高功能或者性能,而这需要投入时间和训练去获得优势。从自动挡转换到手动挡或许需要驾驶员去学习如何操作挡把。从windows转换到OS X或许提供了一些益处,但是起初多少都会有一些效率的损失,即使是对最有经验的计算机用户。对于一个计算机程序员来说,以一种新的程序语言编码或许会提供许多益处,但是这需要时间去学习这个语言以及潜在的成本去购买资源和训练,为的是成为对这个新语言知识渊博的人。

  • Opportunity cost: In some cases, consumers have to deal with mutually exclusive product offerings, and choosing a new one which provides benefits may require losing some benefits their current offering provides. A hospital choosing an electronic medical record system on which to standardize will select the option which best meets their needs, though invariably there will be features and benefits of other systems of which they will miss out. A long-time elite member of one airline’s frequent flyer program considering a switch to another airline as their primary carrier will invariably get some additional benefits with the new program, though will likely have to give up perks of their previous program.

机会成本:在一些情况下,消费者必须面对产品提供的排斥性,选择一个提供利益的新产品或许就要失去它们当前提供的利益。一家医院选择一台电子病例系统,标准化将是符合它们需求的最好选择,尽管在其它系统中会有特征和利益,但是他们会忽略掉。一家航空公司的常客中的优质会员计划考虑转换到另一家为他们提供一些新计划额外利益的航空公司作为他们的承运人,但是这将不得不放弃他们前一个计划的权益。

  • Implementation cost: The cost of getting to the point where a product can be actually used is often higher than the cost of the product itself and is often a huge consideration in enterprise environments. Installing a new ecommerce system may offer significant improvements for an online retailer, though there will likely be costs in adapting that system to billing, fulfillment, customer service, and related technologies within the organization. Solar roof panels may be an improved option for a homeowner looking to reduce energy costs, but there are significant costs in not only installing the panels themselves but wiring the home’s electrical system to take advantage of the new technology.

实施成本:简而言之,这是指一个产品实际使用的成本经常高于这个产品本身的成本,这在企业环境中是一个巨大的付出。安装一个新的电子商务系统或许可以对在线零售有显著的提高,但是在企业内部会有计费、实施、客服和相关技术这些系统改变的成本。太阳能屋顶板或许有助于房主减少能源成本,但是不仅仅是在安装屋顶板上会有明显的成本,房屋电力系统的接线也是利用了新技术。

  • Conversion cost: For some products, data or settings need to be converted from the old to the new product. Switching to a new contact management system involves proper transition of the data from the old to new application to ensure no data is lost or rearranged. Anyone who has avoided upgrading an aging computer knows the cost (in time, and often in money) to convert data and settings to the new version.

转换成本:对于一些产品,从旧产品到新产品的数据或者设置需要转换。转换到一个新的联络管理系统涉及到从旧的完全转换到新的应用中,并确保没有数据丢失或重置。避免升级一台有年代的计算机的人知道这个转换数据和设置新版本的成本(时间,和金钱)。

Decisions to stick with a current (and often inferior) product rather than switch or upgrade can also be attributed to these more psychological or behavioral reasons:

坚持现有(和通常低档的)产品而不是转换或者升级的决策也可能归因于更多的心理或者习惯的原因。

  • Inertia: People in general stick with what makes them comfortable. They use products that have worked well for them, and do things a certain way because they have always done things a certain way. (“My mother always used this brand of pasta sauce, and her mother always used this brand of pasta sauce…”)

惯性:通常情况下,人们都会坚持让他们舒服的。他们使用一直为他们工作不错的产品,以某种特定的方法做事,因为他们一直就是用这样的方法做的。(我们的母亲经常用这种牌子的意大利酱,她的母亲经常用那个牌子的意大利酱……)

  • Fear of change: Rather than looking at the benefits of a change, people may look at only the things which can go wrong. (“What if the new detergent doesn’t clean as well as the old one? What if my cell phone number doesn’t get switched properly to my new carrier and I’m without a phone for several days?”)

惧怕改变:宁可不去寻求改变带来的利益,人们也只会着眼于不能带来错误的事物。(如果这个新的清洁剂无法和旧的清洗的一样怎么办?如果我的手机号码没有适当地转移到我的新手机中,我已经好几天没有电话了,怎么办?)

  • Overestimation of the difficulty of the change: Some changes can seem more daunting than they actually are. If consumers do not have a clear picture of what the change requires, they may resist. (“I’d like to switch to a new bank account with higher interest rates, though I can’t bear to think of the hassle of changing my direct deposit setup and automatic bill payments.”)

过高估计改变的难度:一些改变看上去要比事实上更让人怯步。如果消费者没有清晰得改变需求的构想,那么他们就会抗拒。(我想以更高的银行利率转变我的银行账户,但是我不能想到改变我的直接存款设置和自动账单支付这些麻烦事。)

Switching costs are relevant for most products in some form. Even with totally new and groundbreaking products, consumers are switching from some other prior option, even if not a direct competitor. (Consumers using ZipCar for the first time, for example, do not switch from using Hertz or Avis, but instead from using public transportation, a taxi, or maybe borrowing a friend’s car.) Product managers need to identify what the potential barriers to adopting their product could be and how to overcome these obstacles. These can be built in to the product or service itself to not only remove objections but actually provide additional competitive differentiators. For example:

转换成本是和各种形式的大多数产品相关的。甚至有全新和开创性的产品也是如此,消费者从一些其它先前的选择中转换,即使没有一个直接的竞争者。(例如,消费者第一次使用ZipCar,没有从Hertz 或者Avis转换,但是却代替公共交通,出租车或者可能购买了一辆朋友的车。)产品经理需要使用他们的产品去识别潜在的障碍,这样才有可能去知道如何克服他们的障碍。这要在产品或者服务中被构建,而不是消除反对意见,需要真正提供额外的竞争差异。例如:

  • A customer relationship management (CRM) application provider could offer data setup for free to all customers who sign up for an initial contract term to ensure that conversion costs are not a barrier to adoption. To provide additional benefit, they could offer to “clean” the data while converting it, providing an additional service and benefit to customers.

一个CRM应用提供商应该免费向签署了初期协议的消费者提供数据设置来保证转换成本不会成为接纳的障碍。去提供额外的利益,当需要转换的时候,他们能够提供“清除”数据,向消费者提供额外的服务和利益。

  • For a product with a learning curve, certain elements like an online demo and customer testimonials on the product’s ease of use could address customer fears about learning cost. Discussion forums, free online training, and implementation guides could help support users after adoption as well.

对于一个产品的学习曲线,像一个在线的demo和产品易用性的客户评价书这样某种元素能够定位客户关于学习成本的担心。讨论论坛,免费在线培训,和实施向导能够在客户接受后更加有助于支持他们。

  • A bank attempting to lure customers to a new checking account offering could offer a checklist of automatic payments the customer needs to consider changing. Better yet, the bank could offer contact information for the most common payees, forms for the customer to provide to their payroll department to change direct deposit settings, or even provide personal assistance in setting up automatic bill payments on the new account.

一家试图引诱客户到一种新的支票账户的银行能够提供一个客户需要考虑改变的自动付款清单。然而更好的是,这家银行能够提供为大多数普通的收款人提供联系信息,为客户提供他们的工资管理部门的表单去改变直接付款的设置,或者甚至可以在新的账号中提供设置自动票据支付的个人助理。

Successful product management is not just about having a “better” product — it is about understanding what it will take for a customer to adopt the product. By understanding the explicit and implicit reasons for a customer to resist switching, product managers can better design their offerings to allow a larger number of people to actually adopt them.

成功的产品管理不只是有一个“更好的”产品-而是要懂得它能为客户购买产品带来什么。通过了解客户抵制改变的显性和隐性的原因,产品经理就能够更好地设计他们的解决方案去让更多的人真正的购买它们。

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