The machine is able to calculate the total change deposited almost instantly. Yet, during testing the company learned that consumers did not trust the machines. Customers though it was impossible for a machine to count change accurately at such a high rate.
Faced with the issues of trust and preconceived expectations of necessary effort, the company began to rework the user experience.
The solution was fairly simple. The machine still counted at the same pace but displayed the results at a significantly slower rate. In fact, the sound of change working the way through the machine is just a recording that is played through a speaker.
Altering the user experience to match expectations created trust and met the customers expectation of the necessary effort to complete the task.
My theory with money: the less your customer has, the more important appearances are. Go to your local bank and look at how nicely dressed the tellers that are cashing grandma's $20 check, and then go to their trading floor and look at the traders that are trading millions of dollars a day.
In the case of Coinstar, every penny is important to the customer, even though a penny is worth approximately nothing. (And of course, they take 10% anyway, so their incentive is to over-count, not under-count, but I digress...)
Your specific example may have more to do with proximity to the customer.
Me too. I always found it bizarre that they're so slow. The OP would certainly explain things.
One of the things they found in user testing was that when new users clicked "Create my Blog" on the last step of the setup process, they were confused at how quickly their blog was created. "That's it? Is something wrong?" were the types of things people said.
So they added an interstitial "Creating your blog..." type page that did nothing but spin a little animated gif and wait a few seconds before sending new users to the "Yay, your blog is created! page". Users were far more satisfied with the new experience that took longer.
A quick google search returned a news item posted on the corporate website of Coinstar which claims the machine processes 600 coins per minute. They also have some general information about customer behavior on the page as well. http://www.coinstar.com/us/WebDocs/A3-2-2
It was also quite expensive, but it saved minutes counting down a drawer at the end of a cashier's shift, and probably paid for itself in labor rather quickly (the cashier did not clock out until the drawer was counted).
The customer feels less ripped off, and the door is open. Win win.
Once when I locked myself out and needed a locksmith he went to do the same - started with the picks and I said "just use the gun, I don't mind" and the door was opened within the minute! They all do it I tells ya!
Although, I realise I'm probably just nitpicking.
So as someone with some knowledge of the profession, I would tip a locksmith far more if they picked it by hand in display of skill and dedication than if they resorted to no-skill tools, especially since it will probably take the same amount of my time.
This is true of the pin-tumbler and wafer-tumbler locks that are common in the US, and for that matter there are plenty of "locked" US doors that can be opened with a credit card; but in places that have crime, pin-tumbler locks are fairly unusual, at least for the doors of houses and businesses.
This anecdote has got me wondering that perhaps the drillers have more satisfied customers than real locksmiths. The driller makes a big noisy mess, gets covered in brass chips and fits a shiny new lock for only a bit more money than a professional charges to put a key in the lock and tap it with a little hammer for ten seconds.
The human mind is weird.
In America, people without locksmith licenses can't legally buy bumpkeys, sadly. If I had a problem that a locksmith could solve with a bumpkey, I'd be quite annoyed that my payment to him is essentially a government subsidy coming out of my pocket.
I have heard that postal regulations prohibit mailing lockpicking tools though. I have not specifically asked a postmaster or checked on this.
I've been told by locksmiths that lockpicking tools are illegal in my state, yet no one can point out where state law says this. Thats because its not illegal here. Locksmith isn't even a licensed profession here.
That said, it is not that hard to design a lock that cannot be opened with a bumpkey, and there are now some locks that are so designed.
This was in San Francisco, which apparently (alluded to below in comments) on the issue of..pseudo licensed / "driller" locksmith's.
I hate the fact that many times in large companies, or many other professions, that doing "well" "drags down" the mediocre employee's.
When the provider is really fast, people feel like they were overcharged.
This would not happen with services that people have more experience with.
Also being faster doesn't always add value to the customer, but it does help the provider, so people are unwilling to pay for it. They figure if he's fast he can do more business per day.
(Obviously this depends on the situation, but if you wait for an hour for the locksmith to arrive, him taking 1 minute or 15 doesn't really matter much to you.)
Except for that putting on a show is the key to success in almost every industry, whether you're an author, entrepreneur, salesperson, financial analyst, doctor, grocery store, etc. In fact the only area I can think of where this isn't the case is in amateur sports, which is telling.
On the other hand, I have very little understanding of how much time/effort is required by doctors and financial analysts, so I could easily be tricked by them.
Maybe not quite as universal as claimed by the OP but he definitely has a point.
I am willing to pay the sticker price for the groceries I pull off the shelf, not the cashier's skill in ringing them up.
After the year passed, the man returned and requested his painting. As he watched, the artist produced a canvas and brushes and took five minutes to create the most beautiful painting he had ever seen.
"This is perfect," said the collector, as he looked at the still-drying fish, "but I must admit, I'm quite annoyed that you made me wait an entire year for something that very clearly took you only five minutes to produce!"
Wordlessly, the artist gestured to a nearby cabinet. The man opened it, and out poured thousands of sketches and studies of fish, more than he thought one person could produce in a lifetime, much less 365 days.
He nodded in gratitude, and exited with his painting.
A factory is completely shut down, costing its owner $100,000 per hour. An expert is brought in to get it up and running again. He walks around examining many machines, then pulls a screw driver out of his pocket, and adjusts one screw on one machine. The entire factory instantly starts running again.
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" the plant manager exclaims, "Give me your bill."
The expert presents him with a bill for $10,000.
The plant manager, surprised by such a large bill for so little effort, asked for an itemized bill.
The itemized bill:
Turning a screw: $1
Knowing which screw to turn: $9,999
2) "I have found the problem, the fix will cost $10,000. Should I proceed?"
It's extremely likely in the computer/PC world that your first inclination doesn't fix the problem. Sometimes rebooting DOES fix the problem, and sometimes it doesn't. What then? Another $10,000 for the next attempt?
Clearly, if he KNEW that turning the one screw would fix the problem, it's a different case altogether, but I'm suggesting that it's rarely that cut and dry.
I've never in all my years had this problem. There never was something I couldn't fix, but there were plenty of things that took more time than I initially thought. I usually tell the client "it seems that I won't be able to complete the task in the time of the original estimation, do you want me to stop now and you don't have to pay, or do you want me to try for an extra 1-2 hours and get it fixed?"
People always seem to pick the latter, and I haven't had any unresolved problems or unsatisfied customers yet....
There is also a Russian version of this story, but it is about an expert sysadmin who knew exactly which point on the server box had to be hit with a hammer to fix an issue.
The solution? Smaller glasses of course. Complaints dropped to zero.
Sadly, wanting good things leads to a lot of stress, at least in the US. (Go to Target sometime. Is there anything there that you couldn't get a higher-quality version of on Amazon for less money? Nope.)
Expectations? If you put a big cup in front of me, I can expect you to fill half of it, fill it completely or anything in-between. If the glass is small, I expect you to fill it to the top, no uncertainty.
So, they'll sit there jabbing at the lock with various pieces of metal, blow into it with compressed air (This does nothing. It's simply for show), or tap it lightly with their knuckles for about 5-10 minutes. Then "POP!" it comes open, and the client is SUPER GRATEFUL.
Normally I think someone misrepresenting their job would be bad, but in this case I can totally understand how a lot of customers would argue about paying $100 for a lockout (10pm at night, the tech has to get out of bed, put clothes on, get in his car, drive an hour, pick the lock, then drive an hour home) when it only took 5 seconds to open.
My pop-psychology spider sense tells me this is the important factor. People don't like to be made aware that their locks are actually useless. This unhappiness gets taken out on the locksmith, because he happens to be around. It's shooting the messenger, which is less than useless, but still very common. Conversely, putting on theatrics to open the lock makes people feel secure. A false sense of security, obviously, but one that results in better tips.
They aren't useless. They raise the bar from "able to open a door" to "able to pick a lock or willing to break the door down". That cuts out like 99.9% of people on the planet (and a vast swath of actual criminals). That's a good deal for twenty bucks, even if the bar being raised is almost comically low.
What people don't like is paying for someone else to do something which appears trivial enough that anyone could do it. That it's a skill which takes time and practice to hone until the process looks that trivial is irrelevant, it looked too easy to need to pay someone else to do it.
EDIT: Found the source, http://businessofsoftware.org/video_09_dnorman.aspx
Don Norman discussing delays they put in some H&R block tax preparation software for the emotional benefit of the users.
Most of my products are "wizards" that generate code for advanced functions that my customers can then add into their websites.
Even though the generation process for most of them actually is very complex it's still nothing that the server can't perform in 10 ms. But people don't like that. So I always put in a spinning progress bar for 5-10 seconds and then they're happy.
Upper management neither knows nor cares to be informed, sadly.
Quote: How does acts_as_enterprisey make webapp development look hard? Well, the only way your client can judge your app is by playing around with it. What better gives the feeling of heavy weights being lifted behind the scenes than slow response times? Exactly. That’s what acts_as_enterprisey does.
So while your client clicks, …waits…, and then gets the page, you can blather on heroically about wrestling with clustered indexes, cache expiration strategies, n log n seek times, etc ad nauseam.
Back when I was still working with customer project, I noticed an inverse relation with the required effort to do a feature and the effort customers think it requires. So, they'd ask for something "simple" which actually involved quite a lot of changes to the code. Or alternatively the customers could be almost hesitant to suggest some other change, already fearing it would cost them dozens or hundreds of hours while I could do in half a day.
First I did it honestly: the simple thing was finished in a day and the customer would first be baffled and then very soon asking for more of the same, possibly feeling they had been ripped off somehow. The difficult thing took its time and the customer was waiting and complaining all the time, while I re-established that what they asked was a big change eventhough they couldn't possibly see why without knowing the source code. And they were possibly feeling they had been ripped off somehow, again.
Then later I changed tactics. The customers were much more happy to wait for a week or two for the easy feature which I had already coded, probably the first day. Delivering on the next week still made me ahead of schedule because the customer had their internal expectations of a much greater effort. Conversely, I checked the truly difficult problem by simply explaining that I'll do "that easy thing" last because it's easy and I wanted to focus on the "that difficult effort" first. In reality I spent the time programming the other while I was supposed to be working on the other.
Now, the customer reaction was totally opposite. They were very happy to see that I went through all the effort to produce the "difficult" thing and even if it took a week or two (because I was coding the "easy" thing) to deliver, they were just pleased to even get that far. After all, the "difficult" task was probably nearly impossible so anything I could make to work was on the surplus side. As an added bonus, they appreciated that I could still throw in the "easy" feature (which I had been coding all the time), despite the efforts poured into the "difficult" feature.
Moral of the story: working from the customer's perceptions keeps the customer happy, even if the actuality will sing another song. Maybe it's because customers like to be right or maybe it's because human beings like to remain fixed on ideas and preconceptions.
If I was a locksmith, I'd probably spend around five minutes on opening each door, making it feel long, doing manual work, and possibly talking with the customer about that particular make of lock. Not because I wanted to rip off my customers but to give them something they paid for. I suspect that many would be happier to pay $100 for five minutes of hard, manual labor than $50 for applying an automatic device for one second.
(I don't think I would even end up doing fewer customers per day, either, you can waste five minutes in traffic very easily.)
Perhaps after a certain level of speed/competence, you should look to get paid on a per-project basis, and provide a summary of results instead of a summary of hours.
I worked for years as a bike messenger. There's some minor vocational mystery as with the locksmith, but clients generally understood that our job was dangerous and that we did it well. Still...the only time we saw a tip was when we got documents to an office just in the nick of time — too early lacked the drama. There's a perception of extra effort, which anyone appreciates when you're paying a professional to do something that's impossible for you but easy for them.
I got myself orientated with the internal document system and located the content to post. I then poked around a bit and found that their site was running MoveableType. I found the login information left by the previous employee and posted the content.
Start to finish time: about 20 minutes. I then went to find the department head to get the next assignment. I was met with "You're done already? (The person I replaced) would take 2 or 3 days to get everything up. Are you sure you didn't miss anything?"
I ended up taking the moral high road and explained that it was actually very simple work and my consulting time would be better spent training existing employees how to post the data themselves.
I sometimes think that was a foolish decision.
Hitting engine with hammer - $1
Knowing where to hit - $99
It didn't hurt that he lived for quite a while.
Dali was also quite popular in his lifetime, and possibly even less afraid of self-promotion.
Living quite a while seems to be as big a factor in gaining fame as an artist than anything else - this is also important to win a Nobel prize!
That depends on the lock, and your skills. I've never managed to get the hang of it personally, but I've seen others take to it like ducks to water.
Nowadays I would implement it as a behemoth Linux application with an AJAX-abusing complicated web GUI :)
Something to always remember when dealing with consumer products.
I'm still mad about that.
The product was introduced at this trade-show and it was a success. However, of the hundreds of people I spoke to at the booth only one made a lasting impression that I remember ten years later. This Italian buyer comes over to get a demo. After a 20 minute presentation he asks for the price. Then he picks-up the unit and says: "8000 dollars! Why so light!".
He actually thought we were charging too much based on how light the thing was. Never mind that there was a year and a half of heavy-duty development behind it. He had a mental image of what an $8,000 product was supposed to weigh and that was the end of it.
We switched to heavier steel enclosures (cheaper too!). I couldn't count the number of times I heard people make comments about the weight corresponding in some way to the price of the product.
That said, while there aren't many high quality amplifiers with a smaller footprint, there are a few on the market much reduced in height that are still good quality.
The same goes for speakers. Generally quality requires size (although a lot of that is due to the increased volume that is expected to come with expense), but there are a few neat tricks to make small ones that buck the trend.
Meanwhile, if the file is 100MB big, and takes a while to download, he'd feel satisfied that he got his money's worth.
Supposedly, people would complain that these felt "underpowered" because the engine noise would just increase in pitch gradually instead of revving up, pausing, and starting again at a lower pitch like a normal transmission with gears. So they doctored the CVT-based cars to make them sound like that.
Funny part was that a significant portion of the binder would be things like all the associated RFCs in their entirety. Even pages of dilbert comics.
edit: I guess my point is that the locksmith profession is so screwed up that it's difficult to take too many lessons from them.
The less time an expert takes to perform an act, the more likely someone is to think that they could have done the job themselves with a minimal learning curve.
As a takeaway, if I owned a computer repair shop, should I tell everyone 5 days to increase their perceived utility even if a fix could potentially take two hours?
The price of a service is always dictated by competition. Obviously, there is not enough competition in the locksmith world.
That trick has saved my friends' money on many occasions.
I've recovered some seriously screwed up hard drives.
I know the tools, I have the resources. I takes quite a bit of my time, plus I'm assuming some risk.
I therefore now direct corporate data loss issues to a contracted data loss company who has proven to be reliable and efficient (and can handle situations I can't)
Sure, they charge more for it - but I don't look at it and say "That's BS, I could have done that myself" - because I have a logical reason as to why I'm choosing them.
Similarly, having dabbled in lockpicking, I would be the one tipping the locksmith for showing up in a hurry and not damaging my lock - but only because I understand the alternatives (everything from me breaking my house somewhere to a crappy locksmith making me wait to the point of just about breaking my house, to a crappy locksmith showing up and mangling my lock for good).
If you own a computer repair shop you should give people reasonable estimates as to how long it takes to fix their problem and endeavour to always deliver just short of that time - consistently. Over time your reputation for consistency and reliability is more important than short-term money.
A simple job might be a simple 1 hour job - but you have other tasks as well, other customers, and you never know what complications might arise, so you have good reason to tell give a larger estimate.
They'll be more than happy when you call htem the next day saying "something opened up, everything went fine, here you go."
Locksmiths are in a weird spot because they don't, I think, get a lot of repeat calls (or if htey do, those repeat callers aren't the ones who don't appreciate them.) Many people probably go through life never having engaged a locksmith, and having a guy show up with a little kit, spending 30 seconds opening your door at 2am and hten charging you $75might feel like a ripoff - but presumably you called him because you had no alternative. He didn't accidentally leave your keys in your house or lose them at the bar.
Dare I suggest he spend some time telling his customers about his time as an apprentice, the broken locks, and how long it took to get good. Then after that pick the lock. Educate your customers.
However, if the fee is higher than the price of the lock, why not break the lock yourself?