Too Complicated—Take It Back

Half of electronic product returns happen because the products are just too complex for the consumer. That's the conclusion of a thesis published at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands. The study by Elke van Ouden found that American consumers are willing to spend 20 minutes on how do you work this thing before giving up. Even professionals—product managers from Philips, no less—had trouble when confronted with unfamiliar products. The researcher found that the single biggest problem was "product definition." It appears many consumers don't even know what they're buying. Maybe they should spend more time reading Home Theater. Just a suggestion.

JPM's picture

Poorly written or entirely absent manuals are just as much to blame as any lack of patience. As products in the HT area have become ever more complex, the manuals seem to be worse than afterthoughts. Poorly organized, written in confusing language and generally lacking even a passable index. A little more spent on a decent manual could save manufacturers far more in tech support and returns.

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