Post CES reflection on role of technology and Alzheimer's.
Boston, mid-May, 2016
I was reading Joe Coughlin’s recent column It’s the Services Stupid! and realized that I sorta agree with him and sorta don’t. Putting AIP tech into retail settings doesn’t work yet. There are a number of vendors out there who have products in Best Buy and other major retail stores and have found it doesn’t add a lot to their sales bottom line. Instead:
It’s the Language Stupid! I’ve been shopping lately for my latest project, an aging-in-place home remodel for our own home. I had a big Ah Ha! moment last week. – the language we use in our industry is kooky. I’m looking for an ADA-height toilet and when you go to Amazon to find an ADA Toto toilet, you get a title that says ADA. When you go to the Home Depot, the ADA toilet is called a “luxury height” toilet. Now, which one do you want to buy … the disabled toilet or the luxury one? I also saw a title of a book the other day called Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want which includes strategies for “going geriatric.” Staying Put versus Aging in Place. Hummmm. Which one do you think would vibe better with seniors?
Creating the Ah Ha! Moment. Today, I gave an Internet talk to a group of 50 older adults, most were 70+. Three had iPads. Part of the talk was geared towards iPads since a gerontologist (who is 80+ and brought me to the group) was annoyed that more people didn’t have tablets. It was interesting to see the Ah Ha! moment when the audience members figured out they should be considering a tablet instead of a computer. What caused the Ah Ha! was 30 iPad screenshots of a variety of apps – there was one in there that anyone could relate to. “I didn’t know they could do all that” was the common refrain.
Many of our aging in place tech products don’t position themselves properly to create the Ah Ha! moment, the epiphany for the target demographic/psychographic. High-touch selling practices, infomercials, and hands-on events are important strategies that vendors should investigate for their AIP tech product. I almost never talk about frailty-oriented AIP tech products to audiences of older adults but invariably discuss them one-on-one after the talk is over. (But, I do talk about automated pillboxes as a great item for their cat or dog.)
Geezer Squad. The same gerontologist also has been encouraging our local Apple store to hire some older adults. He thinks that the “kids” they have working there don’t understand older adults and can’t help them decide to get a smartphone or iPad. I’ve also heard that from other older adults. We hear the same complaints about the Best Buy folks and their Geek Squad. But, should those businesses design their installation and support around seniors? Probably not. But, if they “designed for all ages” would other customers be happier? Age is not necessarily the only determinant for needing an extra moment of service advice, so I bet all customers would be appreciative.
The Challenge. I’d love to hear from you what language changes you’ve made, what Ah Ha! moments you’ve seen and successful high-touch installation and support scenarios work. Tell me. Please. Every one in our industry needs to know.