Business Technology

Feature fatigue - How can this affect usability?

6 min read

29 May 2018

With advancements in technology, it’s become all too tempting, and easy, for tech companies to dump as many features into their products as they can in the hope that each new feature will serve as a key point of differentiation.

Their logic is sound if sales is their only goal. Customer satisfaction and loyalty are, however, destined to suffer. Research has proven over and over again that consumers place high value on the range of a product’s capabilities at the time of purchase, with a “more-features-the-merrier” attitude. To the contrary, though, customer satisfaction diminishes over time as they struggle to use a product that they find to be overly complex.

The incidence of “feature fatigue” suggests that today’s tech companies should focus on providing a range of specialised, targeted products with a limited number of well-researched, well-designed features in order to increase customer lifetime value.

Usability has become the driver of great product design

Consider this: when Apple released the iPad, critics poked fun at the new device, claiming it was but a mere iPod with a larger screen and fewer features. Consumers, however, thought otherwise. Rather than focusing on what the product lacked, they appreciated its intuitive, purposefully-tailored design. In circumventing the features rat race, the iPad disrupted an entire industry with its focus on simplicity and usability.

The design of phone systems is no different. Usability reigns

For example, a small business can either float or sink depending on its customer experience, so it is tempting to follow vendor hype and dive into multi-channel communications. But voice still remains the preferred channel for most customers seeking support and this should not be overlooked when deciding on the less obvious features such as network connectivity, security, business continuity, regulatory compliance and technical support.

Also, your business phone system should ensure that an excellent customer experience is both easy and intuitive for your team to deliver. Like so many tech products, though, phone systems are at risk of becoming unnecessarily complicated and complex to manage. Many providers are now dead set on adding features in order to build utility, only to see this strategy backfire with increased frustration among their customers.

In response we’ve designed our own Voxivo cloud phone system to reduce the burden of phone system management on IT and business managers through simplified features and user interfaces. Administrators and callers alike benefit from an intuitive, visually-striking interface combined with the flexibility, scalability and interoperability of the cloud. Thanks to streamlined simplicity and the integration of easy-to-use, intelligent features, the headaches involved in phone system management, maintenance, security and connectivity are now a relic of days past.

If you’re looking to upgrade your phone system, our advice is to lay out all of the features available and consider if and how each one could enhance your business operations. Decipher between the basic core features you absolutely need to continue “business as usual” and the features that could really take you to the next level.

Often, less is more for smaller companies and getting down to the essential will not only help to ensure your phone system upgrade fits more comfortably within your budget but will also prevent you from signing up for superfluous features that risk causing confusion and making a dent in your productivity.

Another thing to remember, which is as important as the features you adopt, is to be sure to select a provider that will be a good long-term partner to your company, with the technical expertise and resources available to provide sufficient support to your team.

You’ll want a provider that is savvy enough to respect your current budget and choice of features while also giving you the possibility to add and drop features in the future in order to keep up with your evolving business needs. This means your provider should have a solid understanding of the nature of your business and what the future could hold for your operations. Once this is established, the provider should provide you with a roadmap of features that you may wish to consider in the coming years. This roadmap will prevent costly future hiccups by ensuring that the phone system you install now will allow for the seamless inclusion of the features you need in the future.

Your phone system should resolve issues not cause them. Avoid over-complication and steer clear of the “features, features, and more features” route. You are the best-situated to decide the unique needs of your business in terms of communications tools, so take control over your phone system, set your goals and define the specific features you’ll need to get there.

If you need advice on mapping your phone’s capabilities to your unique business needs, contact our team at Foehn. For further information regarding the Voxivo cloud phone system, visit here.