By Atul Vir

Over the last month, we’ve had crews at my house performing construction work on a few rooms. As I was checking out the new and improved bathroom design, I decided to make a few changes myself. What began as a DIY project quickly turned into a lesson in product innovation.

All I wanted to do was install a new shower head. It seems like a simple job, doesn’t it? And it would have been — until that I realized that I didn’t have any plumbers tape. If you’ve never installed a shower head before, the plumbers tape is what you wrap around the shower pipe to prevent leakage. I looked for it in the kitchen. I looked for it in the garage. I looked for plumbers tape everywhere around the house, yet I couldn’t find a single strip of the tape I needed to get this shower head installed.

I came back into the bathroom frustrated, thinking that I’d have to wait another day to install the new shower head. I glanced at the shower head, still not believing that I hadn’t had the foresight to buy the tape I needed to finish this job. That’s when I saw something tucked into the bottom corner of the package: a coil of plumbing tape. This little strip of tape — probably a 10-cent addition to the shower head product — made me the happiest man on Earth.

Most people think that innovation is fancy tech, but in this case, that one coil of plumbers tape made me happier than any cutting-edge shower head technology would have. We’ve all experienced these moments where a product meets our unspoken needs, and that’s what creates a truly positive customer experience.

As innovators, we must all think about our customers’ experiences when we develop our products so that we can anticipate customers’ needs, be it a flashy tech feature or a simple strip of tape. That’s what separates great products from not-so-great ones.

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