Have you ever had this kind of conversation with a customer?
Customer: I have this huge problem. I’m looking for a widgeterator to solve the problem and I’m having a lot of trouble finding one!
You: A widgeterator? OMG! We sell those! You have been our customer for years — I can’t believe you didn’t know that.
Customer: Wow — I can’t believe it. I even looked on your website, too! I can’t believe I didn’t see it!
You: Hold on, let me show you. See, right here: The Supertasticator 5400.
Customer: [Head explodes in frustration.]
The fact is, many of us figure out somewhere along the way that we’re not speaking the same language as our customers. We talk inside baseball. We have our own terminology. Someone from marketing decides that products will be more valuable if we re-brand them with different names.
Similar issues also crop up when you are categorizing content for your website. Often, there are many ways to organize things. It’s tempting to simply create the most logical structure and be done with it.
It’s just that what seems logical to you may seem pretty stupid to your customer.
If you’ve ever had this happen — or if you just want to prevent future customer head explosions — join me on Oct. 20, 2012, at Nashville’s Barcamp, when I explore issues related to naming and categorization. My session is titled The Fruitiest Fruit: Creating Categories Your Customers Understand. My librarian friends probably already know why — but it will be fun to share the meaning behind the title with the rest of you.