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Things as Customers: Don’t Worry, This Isn’t Smart House

by Jenny Sussin  |  April 10, 2015  |  Comments Off on Things as Customers: Don’t Worry, This Isn’t Smart House

You know how people always say, “I’m dating myself with this reference?” Well, I’m seriously dating myself with this reference – to the point that only about 5% of the living, US-based population will know what I’m talking about.

See, I hear people talk about Skynet all of the time, but for me the true technology-driven supervillain is Pat from Smart House.

Here is what you need to know about Smart House to continue on with this post: it’s a Disney Channel original movie from the 90’s. The basic plot is that there is a middle school kid who loses his mom and picks up a lot of the work in taking care of his family. He enters this competition and wins a “Smart House,” one which does all of the chores for him and throws parties for him and his friends, etc.

The Smart House has a name and personality, “Pat.” Yadda, yadda, Pat gets emotionally attached to the family and gets mad at them for various things and goes crazy.

The thing is, whoever build Pat and this Smart House, programmed her to go crazy and get upset when the kids didn’t “appreciate” her. Having Things as your companions or customers isn’t inherently bad – it’s all what the constructor or the owner instructs that “thing” to do and learn that makes up what the Smart House movie poster calls,  “Opinions.”

Having Things as customers actually means organizations will have an easier time marketing, selling, and servicing because things have algorithms which are somewhat predictable. People get emotional, things do not.

So don’t worry about Pat, she is only a threat if we all make her one. And Gartner clients, check out the work Don Scheibenreif and I did on Things as Customers. We’ll have more research coming out here for clients, and for attendees of Gartner’s CRM Summit, Gartner’s Customer 360 Summit and Gartner’s Symposium series of events.

Feel free to share any cool examples you’ve seen of things as customers, and we’ll work to include them in our research and presentations.

Also: here is a clip of Smart House I found on YouTube…

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Jenny Sussin
Managing VP
7 years with Gartner
8 years IT industry

Jenny Sussin is a Managing Vice President for CX and Sales Research. Read Full Bio

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