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Business Expectations: Are You Using Technology to its Fullest? by Jeffrey Blander, Bryan Bergeron

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Chapter 3. Customer Behavior

 

The better telescopes become, the more stars there will be.

 
 --Gustave Flaubert

Technology alone is not enough to guarantee the success of a product in the marketplace. Timing, the political and economic environment, the competition, and customer acceptance are also important. On the surface, assessing the customer acceptance factor seems straightforward. After all, despite the exponentially increasing rate of technologic evolution in the past few centuries, human behavior has not changed much since recorded history. Take status symbols, for example. We walk around with the modern equivalents of face paint and ceremonial weapons, and wear costumes imbued with supernatural powers. The police officer's uniform, attorney's custom suit, and physician's white coat and stethoscope are all instantly recognizable and, to varying degrees, respected.

When it comes to accepting new technologies, some groups of potential customers are more reluctant than others to change behavior even when new products require it. Resistance to change may simply be based on experience with products that fail to perform as promised, but it is usually a reaction to a combination of deep-seated personal beliefs and social issues.

As an illustration of the complex interaction between customers and new technologies, consider the technologic and social evolution of the stethoscope, the device physicians use to listen to a patient's heart and lungs. To many laypeople, the stethoscope is ...

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