Louis CK, Prescription Refills and Short Attention

I had my Louis CK moment this holiday weekend.   I never thought a geek like me would react that way because I retain a sense of wonder about the changes in our lives.

  • High def television?  Try color.
  • Cell phones in pockets?   Try a hard-wired rotary phone.
  • The human genome?   Beats the heck out of a throat culture, doesn’t it?

And those things changed since I was in elementary school.   But I was never blase about the experience.  An iPod for my whole music collection?  Whoa.  I have more than 10,000 tracks on music server and they fit on something the size of the wallet I used to slip in my back pocket.

I love this world.

But my wife needed a prescription refill this weekend, and for some inexplicable reason, I wasn’t near a keyboard.  That’s okay, I remembered.  CVS has that phone technology for refills.  I used to use it before you could renew prescriptions online.

So I dialed the number and started pushing keys.

And then I pushed some more keys.  And then the system laboriously read back each number in a slow monotone that makes a Type A’s head explode.  C’mon, c’mon, c’mon.  I got a full list today.  Just tell me the last three letters of my last name and close the call.  What could happen?   You fill the wrong thing and someone waits at the pharmacy.  How much are your phone charges anyway? C’mon already!  Go, go, go, go!

CVS spoiled me by making online prescription refills blazing fast.  I log in, click a button, check a box, press the submit key and a few others and I’m out in 30 seconds.  This horrible phone thing?  A good 90 seconds.

And I realized that I was as guilty as the people in this video of demanding faster, stronger, more everything.   Sure, the irritation with CVS was momentary and uncalled for because they’re a quality outfit with good technology.  But the irritation existed.

Think about your business.   You don’t compete with your traditional competitors.  You compete with 20 second prescription refills, cell phones that double as camcorders and instant information retrieval from places like The Mayo Clinic, Wharton or the US Government.

If your online experience isn’t providing the same level of immediacy, run your own focus group.   Put a camera to the side of a PC and have your non-tech *and* your geek friends use your web site.  Watch the tape, err, video carefully.   Look for every facial tic, every sigh, every impatient shift of position.

Even Google now says that the speed at which a page loads is a ranking factor in its famous search engine.  We want bigger, faster, more and NOW.

Watch the Louis CK video when he was on Conan’s show last year and see how much of what he says you agree with.  And then realize that the video went viral exactly because we all know people like that.

They’re called customers.

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