The Nikon Customer Experience Acid Test

You all know Nikon, which has more than $8 billion in annual revenue and 26,000 employees worldwide. At Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum, 2011, we also got to know David Dentry, general manager of customer relations for Nikon.

David’s a lucky guy. He’s been interested in photography since he was a small child, so working at Nikon is a dream job for him. He was a photographer and photo teacher in the US Navy for eight years, which had him shooting (in a way that’s different from the way most military personnel shoot) everything from aerial reconnaissance photos to cake-cutting events. In fact, he joined the Navy based on his recruiter’s assurance that if he signed up he’d get to be a photographer.

Today David’s responsible for all aspects of customer support for Nikon in the Americas. His team manages Nikon’s call center operations and the website. That’s quite an interesting challenge because he gets the customer service experience challenge in stereo from two very different types of channels. Not to worry, though, because he has a technique he uses to suss out the lowest common denominator when it comes to customer experience challenges: ask Grandma.

Here's how he describes his approach.


I have heard people recommend

I have heard people recommend this approach before to evaluate user experience and while I think there is a valid point in considering the lowest common denominator, it is contrary to the idea of user centric design. I am not sure if Nikon targets the "Grandma" segment, but this only makes sense for those brands who consider Grandma a key user. There is no reason to dumb down your UX if you target millennials.

Regardless, I think it makes sense for most brands to consider digital experience/savvy as a variable in their segmentation so that there is no ambiguity what the lowest common denominator is.

They're so good, that my 92-year-old father is a loyal customer!

Harley, thanks for sharing that video, and passing along the concept.

The "Grandma Test" is by far, the most consistently effective approach I've seen for testing and validating the "ease of doing business" factor for the customer experience.

I've also found that to be very true among those companies that my 92-year old father prefers to patronize:

Thanks again, Harley

Jim Watson