I have recently been puzzling about how to use iPads to improve service delivery. Who knew I would get some insights on a trip to the grocery store?

Safway’s New Customization Initiative

My local Safeway was introducing the “Just for u” program. They positioned an employee holding an iPad near the store entrance. They were, in other words initiating a strategic intervention, to encourage shoppers to personalize their shopping profiles. Of course they could badger me with emails, which I likely ignore, but by placing a human being holding an iPad (i.e. ready willing and able to help) in my path, they got my attention. The Safeway employee was able to build my custom “Just for u ” profile. and able to download the app right onto my phone in about 2 minutes.  I will get alerts when my favorite products are on sale, ,they will load coupons and special deals  on my loyalty account and I walked away with a free carton of eggs as a bonus for signing up.

If we had researchers and KM professionals conduct outreach using  iPads, what initiatives should we promote? Some of the possibilities include:

  • Demonstrate ebook features with the goal of migrating lawyers off of print
  • Convert lawyers from print to digital newsletter delivery
  • Demonstrate new KM drafting products 
  • Roving research. Answer research questions 
  • Provide “just in time” training
  • Interview lawyers to create custom information profiles

 But the Safeway “Just For U” initiative focused my attention on the endless challenge of  improving and updating personalized news and legal monitoring for lawyers.

The Myth of the End User Dashboard Customized monitoring is an endless challenge. Lawyers’ needs are not static, clients change, issues change, products change. Customized monitoring is hot. Over the past year I have fielded innumerable pitches from a variety of vendors hawking the latest and greatest custom monitoring platform. One feature that most share is based on the notion that lawyers want to l learn to manage their alerts in a customized platform. They presume that lawyers want and are willing to learn “to drive” a custom alerts platform.

The Power of Human Intervention. I fear that we are all facing a bit of “customization fatigue.” It would be daunting to even estimate how many more personalized passwords  and account setups we will all be forced create over the coming decade. The central lesson of the “Safeway experience” for me was how a simple human intervention overcame all resistance. It reinforced my gut feeling that we should recognize “dashboard fatigue” and  simply offer lawyers the option of a “chauffeur ride” to a more efficient process. Roving KM professionals armed with iPads can build more lawyer efficiency  in two minutes than a year of email reminders to “log in” to a new product unassisted.