Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity

Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity

Irene Etzkorn

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 1455509663

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

For decades, Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn have championed simplicity as a competitive advantage and a consumer right. Consulting with businesses and organizations around the world to streamline products, services, processes and communications, they have achieved dramatic results.

In SIMPLE, the culmination of their work together, Siegel and Etzkorn show us how having empathy, striving for clarity, and distilling your message can reduce the distance between company and customer, hospital and patient, government and citizen-and increase your bottom line.

Examining the best and worst practices of an array of organizations big and small-including the IRS, Google, Philips, Trader Joe's, Chubb Insurance, and ING Direct, and many more-Siegel and Etzkorn recast simplicity as a mindset, a design aesthetic, and a writing technique.

In these illuminating pages you will discover, among other things:

  • Why the Flip camera became roadkill in the wake of the iPhone
  • What SIMPLE idea allowed the Cleveland Clinic to improve care and increase revenue
  • How OXO designed a measuring cup that sold a million units in its first 18 months on the market
  • Where Target got the idea for their "ClearRX" prescription system
  • How New York City simplified its unwieldy bureaucracy with three simple numbers

By exposing the overly complex things we encounter every day, SIMPLE reveals the reasons we allow confusion to persist, inspires us to seek clarity, and explores how social media is empowering consumers to demand simplicity.

The next big idea in business is SIMPLE.

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Simplicity as a luxury Offering simplicity within a complex domain is likely to be so appreciated and valued by customers that it ends up being perceived as a luxury. That may surprise some marketers who make the common mistake of thinking that in order to position a brand as a “luxury” alternative, you must provide customers with more features, perks, and options; luxury, in this context, is equated with “excess.” But we’ve found that consumers of luxury goods have even less time and desire

from its operations, but it has always put a premium on improving human contact with passengers. Some of this flies in the face of the prevalent view that business must cut costs to the bone, especially in lean times. Simplification can indeed be an excellent way to lower costs, but not if it involves scaling back on customer service. When companies try to save money on outsourced customer service, phone trees, or form-letter responses, they destroy any chance of developing meaningful

simplification as a shortening of the distance between sender (seller) and receiver (buyer), there are a number of ways to achieve this. The seller can communicate so clearly and present options so simply that you easily recognize what you want to buy. But another approach, made possible by technology, is to create a “decision filter” to deliver the perfect choice without my having to make a laborious decision. Pandora’s cofounder, Tim Westergren, had both a technology and a music business

satisfaction scores for all to see. During our time at the clinic, it was obvious that the people working there take great pride in their patient satisfaction scores—in fact, it’s a fascinating use of data to create a healthy culture of competitiveness, all based around the primary goal of meeting patients’ needs. William D. Green of Accenture confesses that he once sat through a three-day managerial training session at the company and counted “68 things that we told them they needed to do to be

saving money on plane maintenance, food, and cleaning costs, while also ensuring that its planes spent more time aloft and less on the ground. As noted, the airline “keeps things simple and consistent, which drives costs down” and “maximizes productive assets.”6 Of course, all that streamlining could have diminished the customer experience, but Southwest turned it into a positive by focusing on simple, basic benefits that mattered a lot to its customers. It used the cost savings to

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