What this store did to their customer’s enquiry was absolute genius! A lesson in customer experience for everyone!

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Let me tell you the story about Lily.

One day, Lily Robinson, three and a half year old, was walking around the aisles of Sainsbury’s super market with her mother. When her mother picked up some tiger bread, a popular brand of bread, Lily had a question which comes naturally owing to the curiosity of a kid.

She asked her mom, “Why is this called tiger bread? This looks like a giraffe bread to me.”
Lily was referring to the patterns baked on the bread, which in fact resembled the pattern on a giraffe than that of a tiger. Her mom said, “Maybe you should ask them.” And she did. She wrote a letter, presumably with the help of her mom, to the 145 year old, £798M super market chain of 1200 stores.

“Why is tiger bread called tiger bread? It should be called giraffe bread. Love from Lily Robinson age 3 and 1/2″.

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Now, this letter probably wouldn’t raise more than a couple of chuckles before it went into some file of the corporation.

But Chris King, from Sainsbury’s customer service thought it was a brilliant idea. He wrote back to her.

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“I think renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea – it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it?” He went on to explain, “It is called tiger bread because the first baker who made it a looong time ago thought it looked stripey like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly.”

He included a gift card and signed off the letter, “Chris King (age 27 & 1/3)”

Her mom, put the letters on her blog and in couple of weeks, it struck a chord with many and went viral. There was a facebook page set up, Chris King was celebrated as a legend and the internet stood by the logic of this three year old. In a couple of months, owing to the ‘overwhelming response from its customers’, the 145 year old corporation, changed the name of tiger bread to giraffe bread.

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This story speaks volumes of how Sainsbury’s treats its customers and also exemplifies how each customer deserves to be treated. Unfortunately, not in our everyday lives we come across such incidents where the customer is valued and considered as the pivot point in a business.

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Forget listening to the customers, can you even find where the bread section is in a supermarket without walking around the place three times and asking someone in vain?
We hear or even have gone through nightmarish experiences with these business establishments.

In this age of the customer, where they demand customized, individual care, it is absolutely impossible for any business to sustain unless they start listening to its customers.

Always remember, the customer is king!

By Harikrishnan Menon

The Most Important Skill to Become a Successful User Experience Designer

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Many people, from different backgrounds, non-designers, non-technical folks, ask me sometimes – Can I become a user experience professional?

This made me think, what is the most important skill one would need to become a successful user experience professional?  Is it a Master’s degree in UX or IX from a reputed institute? Or deep knowledge about the principles of UX?  Excellent design skills? Communication? Technical expertise? All of the above?

I think none of them matter beyond a point. Of course, they would help, but none of them, in my opinion, qualifies to be the most important skill you would need to become a great UX designer.

The number one skill to be a successful user experience designer is what I call empathetic UX mindset.

Let me explain.

For example, consider the compose screen of any email application, say Gmail.

If you ask a develthe-most-important-skill-to-become-a-successful-user-experience-designer-screenshotoper to tell you about this screen, he might probably say something like, “You know, it’s a layover, with two text boxes and a large edit box. In the bottom bar there are a couple of icons and a “send” button. When the user presses ‘send,’ the data is validated and submitted to the server.”

If you ask the same question to a designer, he would say “I love the minimal design in this, see how neatly they have arranged the textboxes and the message field. And they have used the blue color for the send button, which is a universally accepted color without any negative implications! Brilliant, no?”

If you ask someone from the business side, they would say something like “We need to send the data through the algorithm to pick up relevant keywords, so that we can show matching ads and increase revenue.”

There is no problem with any one the above responses, they all are genuine and true.

But, if you see the same interface from a user’s perspective, say a 50 year old dad, he would say, “My daughter has gone abroad for an assignment, it has been three days we spoke to her over the phone, but you know it is very costly from here. And maybe she is busy and we don’t want to call and trouble her every time. She, before leaving, taught me how to use this email thing and I am trying to send an email to her from me and her mother.” Her mom would add, “Can we send her those photos of Pintu too?”

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You go beyond text boxes, colors and technical words. All you see and hear are emotions. Nervousness of using the app for the first time. Eagerness to communicate with their dear one. Love and affection.

The most important skill you require, my friends, to become a successful user experience designer, is the ability to understand that elderly couple. And thousands of others like them. Everything else will fall in line, when you make it your responsibility to make sure they are able to use the application without any difficulties.

If you walk a mile in their shoes, see the product through their eyes, empathize with the user – that makes the winning difference more than any other skill you might have.

When you step outside your technical boundaries, forget the rigid business needs and become your user, only then do you become a successful user experience designer.

And your user will thank you for that.

By Harikrishnan Menon

How to Read Customer Support Reports for Usability

In any usareading-customer-support-reports-for-usability-studies-blog-thumbnailbility study conducted in an organization, the focus is on conducting user tests to gauge the workability of the product. But customer support reports give an entirely different picture.

We have all called customer support at some point seeking their assistance for product or services that we are using. The call could be related to a bank account, purchase order, missing luggage, changing mobile plans, etc. The common thread in all these is the understanding of customers’ problems, solving them & keeping a record of it. Customer support is one division within an organization that interacts most frequently with its customers. And for a usability consultant, that’s a knowledge bank out there to understand its users. The key advantage of looking into customer support data is that usability enhancements can be done at any part of product life-cycle & don’t cost anything extra.

Usability Study Input Area
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Not all parts of customer support data will be useful for a usability study. It needs careful filtering of data to drill down to issues reported by customers on usage of product. It could be related to incomplete transactions, error scenarios, unsuccessful operations or difficulty in understanding product in itself. These reports give a clear picture as to where the application is failing with users. Sometimes, customer support executives walk customers through the whole process and help them finish it step by step. This is when we know the product’s not working with users & needs immediate attention. Most companies are opting to record conversations between customer support staff & customers for quality monitoring purposes. This enables us to listen to actual conversations & underline customer needs. Possible usability solutions could include fixing navigational flow, making cosmetic design changes, adding usable features etc.

Usability experts will then jot down these issues and give them priority & severity ratings. It’s also a good practice to check if the issue has been reported in any other study such as user testing, surveys etc.

Usability Issues Categorization
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Customer Support Data Sources

An organization will have one or more support systems in place to assist customer on their products or services. And these are the places to look for usability roadblocks.

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Customer Support Data Consumption

The data from customer support not only benefits usability studies, but has been regularly consumed by various departments of an organization. Examples would include identifying incorrect product details (content management division),fixing  system errors (development teams) and recording system bugs (quality assurance team).

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Case Study

In May last year, while working in the Las Vegas office of our customer, I happened to meet employees of a popular e-commerce site whose office was just a few yards away. During the conversation, I got to learn about their customer first culture. They take customers so seriously that all new joiners work for Customer Support for a few weeks before being added to their respective departments. That’s part of their induction program. Hearing this gave me goose bumps!

Bottom Line

Good usability practices will help cut down costs on customer support and gain customer confidence.

By Balachandra Shetty

The power of customer experience to shape brand perceptions

 

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Scene #1

One fine morning, when I was going through the daily chore of checking my Facebook newsfeed, I came across a post by one of my friends about her delightful experience with a particular cab service provider. She had written how she had left her cellphone in the cab and the driver came back to return it in the evening. More than a 100 people had liked the post and a few commented about their similar experiences with this company. A couple of other folks also joked about her phone being an old featured phone model which nobody would want to keep.

Scene #2

I was travelling by bus and a lady sitting in front of me made a call to the customer service department of a leading e-commerce company in India. She got through to a representative and described the product she bought online a few days back. She explained the hardware problem she had found with the newly bought phone.

The executive, I guess, suggested she go through the user manual, installation guide etc. and offered to try and resolve the issue over the call. She got a bit irritated since she had already mentioned that it was a hardware issue, which would presumably be impossible to resolve over a call. Although it didn’t go into shouting and screaming since she was in a public bus, her agitation could be felt easily by all the fellow passengers. I could sense the lack of empathy and bad quality of solution provided by the executive.

The problem was finally resolved when the call was transferred to the manager, who agreed to pick up the product from her address and give her a full refund. She explained to the manager how she had always been shopping from this ecommerce giant and had liked the experience overall; but this particular purchase which was worth thousands of rupees had shattered her faith in the company.

What I learned from these stories

It’s quite clear what happened in the above two cases. In today’s world, the customer holds the power of making or breaking a brand in the true sense. It’s an era where the customer is the marketer! I am sure more than a hundred people who liked the post, including me, about the cab service provider company, would have more faith in that brand now. Whereas, the poor experience passed on by the online shopping giant would be shared with more friends, colleagues and relatives and some of them might hesitate to go ahead with such purchases, even though their past experiences have been good.

We, as humans, give a great deal of importance to empathy and emotions. Even if we don’t know someone personally, we somehow feel connected to their experiences. Sometime, somewhere, we have gone through it too.

However, we should not forget that an experience is always a perceived one. It totally depends on how an individual feels about the experience. An experience can be overwhelming for somebody but maybe not so intriguing for others at the same time. A lot of this perception depends on our expectations as a customer.

In conclusion, we can say that the need of this hour is to identify your customers as individuals, understand their expectations, segment them and treat them in such a way that they become promoters of your brand. Word of mouth indeed travels far and fast!

 By Sona Todi

 

 

 

Stop guessing! Decipher your customer’s intent with touch point analysis

96% of unhappy cucustomer-touch-point-analysis-mohan-litehouse-design-blog-thumbnailstomers don’t complain and 91% of those will simply leave and never come back.

For businesses to create deeper, meaningful and empathetic customer connect,  it is indispensable to experience their brands as their consumers do to determine every possible way to make the product or service experience better, more pleasant, more human, and more productive.This is possible only when every brand carefully analyzes every touch point throughout the customer journey – before, during, and after purchase.

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Today’s customers are more demanding and less forgiving than ever before.

Getting the Touch-Point Analysis Right. First Time. Every Time.

Any organization that performs touch-point analysis with utmost care, can uncover powerful customer insights as well as opportunities to improve how well customer-segment needs and wants can be met.

Establishing a Cause and Effect Relationship between Each of the Customer Actions

Human experience is complex, and mostly intangible. Several companies that do touch-point mapping exceptionally well, establish a cause and effect relationship between all the customer actions to arrive at a deep and meaningful understanding of each engagement.

Piecing together the bigger picture of why and how customers are interacting at various touch-points can help in delivering a predictive and proactive experience. The questions listed below can drive meaningful insights about customer behavior at each touch point.

Context and Device

What are the devices used for engaging with the brand and how best can you leverage all the contextual data gathered by the device, such as time and location?

Engagement channel

Which is the actual site or media through which the customer first engaged? (Email/Social/Website/Paid Ad/SMS)

Touch-point sequence

How did the customer progress through the buying journey? What and where did the customer stop before and after engaging at each touch point?

Content consumed / action taken

What are the various content viewed/clicked/downloaded by the customer?

Time elapsed between each engagement

What is the time frame of each engagement, and the time elapsed between each activity and between activity and inactivity?

Finally, spot the touch-point that can trigger emotional connect.

Touch points with high volumes of customer interaction and those that can evoke strong emotions in customers turn into loyal advocates and will be ever willing to spend with the brand even if meaningful and available alternatives are presented.

Here are a few examples of the brands that have capitalized on this very fact to create a steadfast advantage over the competition.

Case In Point

PayPal’s Customer Effort Score

In the E-commerce industry, reducing customer friction is extremely important. Every extra second the website takes to load, costs you a customer. Reports suggests that even just a 1 second delay in page load time could reduce conversions by 7%. If that increases to 2 seconds, you’re looking at an abandonment rate of 40%.

PayPal was one of the early players to realize and act on optimizing this particular customer touch point. And the result? Well, a $2 billion increase in transactions. Now that’s quite a big win!

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Starbucks

So, how is Starbucks keeping pace with competition even now? Simple, personalization at every touch point and their ability to cater to each individual customer as a segment on its own. The “My Starbucks Rewards” and the loyalty mobile apps was a great step towards customer delight.

By optimizing the mobile touch point with a killer mobile app, Starbucks saw a whopping 4 million dollar mobile payments every week. customer-touch-point-analysis-mohan-litehouse-design-blog-starbucks1         customer-touch-point-analysis-mohan-litehouse-design-blog-starbucks2  Tesco’s Social media strategy to show they care

Tesco like any other retail giant, has a myriad of touch points. Tesco has always been right by their customer’s side to assist them at every step.

The most remarkable is Tesco’s efficient use of Twitter as a customer service channel. Tesco uses Twitter really well for social customer service. Tesco is able to build a stronger relationship with customers by connecting at a personal level by adding a bit of humor to every interaction. customer-touch-point-analysis-mohan-litehouse-design-blog-tescoThese are just a few example of impactful touch point experiences.

Have you been overwhelmed recently by any such experiences? Share it in the comments below.
By Mohan Krishnaraj