Sometimes going for major cool, major smart, and major disruption, leaves you missing the obvious.
Submitted for your consideration: Zoom Systems. They make a pretty sophisticated high tech Kiosk called the Zoom Shop.
There is a Kiosk at the hotel where I am staying. Early in the morning, just prior to my daily 20 ft run, I wandered over to take a look at the Kiosk as it is the gift shop for the hotel. The nice Hilton Garden employee said “Sorry, it’s busted. We’ve called em a couple of times, they’re pretty slow at responding, happens a bunch.”
Ouch number one. Random employee, of another company, completely out of your control, just trashes your reliability and customer service in a hotel packed with business people. Yep, but there is more.
As I wandered over anyway, I was think, uh oh another BOD (Blue Screen of Death) picture in the making. These are those famous photos of Windows crashing on signs, movie marquees, etc, etc. Ah, no.
Yes, that would be a non-windows crashed machine.
The point here isn’t one crash for the Penguin, naah, happens to the best of us.
There are two points.
First, a truckload of money was spent on this product. Millions went into this according to the web site. Clearly, somebody didn’t save a bit of coin for a customer service response team that is totally focussed on making sure random employees of other companies aren’t given material to trash Zoom Systems.
The second is the engineering here seems a bit weird. I can think of all the obvious remote management, firmware reboot, etc, etc, things that should be in this system which would prevent this from ever happening. In my simple brain, having a firmware/embedded fail safe that brings the curtain down gracefully (we are updating, please come back) or anything to prevent the customer from seeing this screen, would be a priority. Dialing home instantly, etc, etc, all seem to be logical things for this box to do.
And it all might be there.
It all might work most of the time, but none of it mattered because for the better part of 9 hours (I asked) the machine was dead and the Hilton Garden employees were pointing out how bad it and the company’s service was. Guests would come up to the lobby and employees would trash the machine and the company.
Lesson for your start up? Besides the obvious engineering points (build for the failure scenarios), remember, no sear into your brain, the importance of customer service and what happens when others, you can’t fire/train/control, are talking about your products and services.