Category Archives: Customer Experience

How to make online shopping difficult

PromoD never stops surprising me.

If there is ONE THING that you need to have if you sell clothes online, is a colour/size filter.

It generally always is on the left navigation bar, allowing the shopper to refine results based on a desired colour, or most importantly, on a desired size.

It’s pretty much the reason why shopping for clothes online is easier than in real shops: sorting your choices by colour, size or category takes much less effort than browing a real shop, crowded with people, with missing sizes, and so on.

Plus, you can see all you need, in one page, at a glance.

Now, PromoD, why would you hide your filter in the one place nobody would ever expect to find it?

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 9.32.35 AM

Conventions are so useful, especially online. Why do UX designers think that moving a filter from the left navigation bar to the middle of the page, where nobody can see it, is a good idea?

Someone pleas help me understand that.

Thanks!

Disclaimer: The postings on this site are my own and do not represent the postings, strategies or opinions of the company I work for.

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Ryanair, their calendar and an inverted logic user experience

How many times have you had to select or enter your date of birth on a website in your life?

I bet hundreds, probably thousands of times.

It’s a very basic function, which is generally proposed with a basic calendar interface, in which you select the day, month, and year of birth (in Europe, that’s the logic) – or the month, day and year of birth (in the US, the logic is different).

I would have never, ever in my life, imagined that such a basic, standard, and common concept as DD, MM, YYYY, would have been inverted. 

Ryanair, in fact, when you check in online, will ask you to select your date of birth by first selecting a year, then a month, and then a day.

Awesome.

In Usability, there’s a rule. It’s a simple rule. It says: “don’t make the user think”.

“If we find something that works, we stick to it. Once we find something that works — no matter how badly — we tend not to look for a better way. We’ll use a better way if we stumble across one, but we seldom look for one.”

Which means just one thing: do not put unnecessary effort on the customer. If since forever, the logic behind selecting a date has always been DD, MM, YYYY – or MM, DD, YYYY, depending on which part of the world you live in – then why change it?

If there’s a good reason behind this decision, I’d be happy to know it!

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Localization, where are thou?

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Evernote 3

I don’t know if everybody gets annoyed at bad localizations like me. Bad localization AND poor grammar are those things that really really make me mad. Especially in digital products. I mean: you are clearly renown, you have funds, you have the resources to make your app stand out of the crowd, you decide to localize it in N languages and you do it this bad?

WHY?

What is the ultimate target of localization if not making the unfamiliar familiar?

And what is less familiar than a word in your own language with a wrong letter? I tell ya. Nothing.

A word in your own language with a wrong spelling creates that sense of étrangement – as we say in rhetoric. That is, it makes everything to the reader a little strange

How can language make such a difference in the perceived value of a digital product (app, e-commerce, etc)?

Well, by making everything in the product familiar to the buyer. A localized content is what makes the customer feel at home, comfortable and trustworthy. These feelings are – guess what – the best sediment for a fertile and long-term customer engagement.

In other words: words – allow me the repetition – are the best way to cultivate your customers’ trust.

Some examples of things that let me down about Evernote, one of my favourite apps.

Italian people will understand.

1) “In atteSSa della pagina”

2) “CoLLazione”

3) “I mie Pasti”

4) “Tocca per ritagliare le ricette e salvarNE nell’account Evernote”.

Evernote: how can i trust you if you don’t even spell the words in my language properly? 

What do I have to think about you?

1) That you use an automatic translator (bad, bad, bad).

2) That your italian localization guy does not speak italian (bad, bad, bad).

3) That you don’t really care about Italian customers. Then, why doing the localization?

Apart from this, I love your app 🙂

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Advantages of e-commerce: a sentimental post

I love e-commerce

When Christmas madness comes is the moment I remember more how much and why I love e-commerce.

At Christmas you also usually get more sentimental / emotional, so this is a strictly non-scientific post about why, sometimes, digital wins over physical, in my world.

In macro-terms, and presuming that the e-commerce experience is smooth (that is: no walls between me and the item I want to buy), shopping online is much easier than shopping in real life, and here are the main 3 reasons why I love e-commerce:

1) Order vs Chaos: How many times I entered a huge shop crowded of people and items and had the impression of a chaotic mess of dresses randomly hanging on the shop’s walls after a bomb had exploded? I mean, especially before/after Christmas, when crazy people become crazier and throw things on the floor. How many times have I wished to have a filter, right there at my fingertips, where I could select “dresses” “green” (yes! my favourite colour is finally colour of the year!) “L”. But no, no filters in physical shops. There’s not even a Category page where you can easily land and have that orientation that you need for a good journey (in this case, the journey).

2) Noise: by noise I mean: anything that can distract me or annoy me during my shopping experience. How many times have I wished that people could be just “hidden” as annoying pop ups? Screaming teenagers, screaming babies, screaming mums. There’s no such thing online. Online, it is quiet. It’s oh so quiet! Also, to make it more uncomfortable, 100% of physical shops decide to pump music I hate in my ears. Why? Why? Why? I just wanted to buy a pair of jeans and now I’m in a sort of techno-pop party. There is no such public place where they play Pink Floyd. (Actually yes, it happened to me once at Bologna airport. A pretty weird experience, but pleasant overall). Online, if the shop was built in 1994 and never updated, there might me an introductory music. But you can just click and turn it off.

3) Time: as many of you know, I live in Ireland. Dublin, more specifically. Since my first day here I asked myself: “how are they gonna do with the economy?”. Basically shops open every day at 10 and close at 6. The late ones at 6.30. People work from 9 to 6. Therefore  workers (people with an income!) cannot shop during the week. The only moment when they can shop is the weekend. Which is also the moment when all the others can shop. And here comes the mess. How cool is to do your shopping from your sofa at 11 pm and have the groceries delivered the following day?

Pointless to say, I guess, but I bought all my presents online. Even my super amazing number 1 christmas comfort food: Panettone Margherita. Which I bought here: http://shoponline.bistefani.it/

Enjoy!

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What is Customer Satisfaction?

What is Customer Satisfaction

The one million euro question: what is customer satisfaction?

It is so hard to find an answer, so I’ll just let some words speak for me.

I had a few problems with my order so I spoke customer support a few times. And the customer support is EXCELLENT, never seen it better anywhere else. They really are there to help you. They changed everything into a good experience.”

This is customer satisfaction.

When moments of  pain become moments of magic.

Friction is inevitable. “Shite happens”, they say here in Ireland 🙂 What is hard is to turn a bad experience into a good one, a remarkable one.

Well, how do you get to receive such feedbacks?

Of course, you need to have in your team someone who really cares about the customers. And by the way, what kind of customer care is when people just don’t care? Then, once you know you’ve got the most philanthropic people of the world (!!!) working with you, you need to get the feedback from that saved customer.

Asking the right questions is crucial. A good customer satisfaction survey can give great results if the right question is asked at the right time.

Yes, time. How about asking for feedback when one’s still in the “climax” moment of the e-commerce drama?

For more references and to better understand what I’m talking about please read it.

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The Democracy of Customer Experience (People have the power)

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What do Democracy and Customer Experience have in common?

The free market has some pros and cons. Most of the time they collide; it is the case for the existence of competitors.

Your business can reduce margin to increase profit, sure. But that has a limit. When the price is already at the break-even what makes a difference is the Customer Experience.

How do you achieve that? Or better, how do you achieve that without budget?

By creating a customer-centric company culture. Every single person in the company with the same mission: making the customer’s life a little bit better. Every single person in contact with your customers is going to be kind, really helpful and motivated to solve your problems and make your life easier. There’s a nice story about Zappos’ CEO calling in secret its customer service line at 1am expressing the wish to eat a Pizza but not knowing where to get it at that time. The legend says the customer care agent actually sorted it out for him, without knowing it was the CEO. I hope this guy got a promotion 🙂

I do not see anything wrong in this. We are people who also happen to be customers.

I want to have an easier life and I don’t enjoy sharing my vital space with too many people, this is why I shop online. Also, most of the times I know what I want, so I just go online, filter, and sort it out.

If A and B offer the same products at the same price but A gives me a smooth, easy and tailor made customer experience why should I choose B?

This is it. E-commerce is democratic. Those who offer the best Customer Experience will win. Those who don’t treat people the way they should be treated, will loose. People have the power!

The product-centricity era is about to come to an end.

Say hello to the Era of the Customer.

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What makes your customers leave?

My dear readers, I can’t write much because of a temporary problem involving my right hand and a tendon, therefore I’ll just share with you an amazing Infographic powered by Kissmetrics!

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The e-commerce Drama

The e-commerce drama

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you study literature at school or university?

I did, and I loved it, but that was in my previous non-geek life.

Have you ever heard of the dramatic structure? That sequence of events that compose a play or a drama, a comedy or a tragedy.

The dear old Aristotle, for instance, viewed the plot structure as divided into three parts: protasis, epitasis and catastrophe. Horace, instead, stated in his Ars Poetica that each dramatic play should have a 5-act structure.

For reasons of convenience, we will use Gustav Freytag’s study of the 5-act dramatic structure:  Die Technik des Dramas. Freytag stated that a drama is divided into five parts, or acts, which some refer to as a dramatic arc: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and dénouement, (resolution ou catastrophe).

Yes, but how is this related to the online customer journey?

Well, this is the fun part!

1) EXPOSITION: background information needed to properly understand the story –> HOME PAGE: here is who we are, this is what we sell, here is the context in which we act, this is our identity.

2) RISING ACTION: you have a target but some conflicts arise –> CATEGORY PAGE: you want to find a v-neck warm and cosy black coat. You filter the coats macro category by inserting your preferences: it has to be a size 12, it has to be black, and it has to be long. Gosh, no results. You broaden your search criteria: ok, I’ll be ok if it’s a size 12 and black, but not long. You think about it and …

3) CLIMAX:  the turning point, for the better or the worse, in the protagonist’s affairs –> ADD TO CART: yes, you thought about it, you sent the product page’s link to your friend on Skype and she agrees that this is the right coat for you. Good choice! The product page details say this is the last item left: you feel blessed by the God of the World Wide Web and have doubts no more! You do THE action, you click on the add to cart button.

4) FALLING ACTION (or ANTI-CLIMAX): it might contain a moment of final suspense, during which the final outcome is in doubt. –> CHECKOUT: umpf, you have to create an account. Umpf, there are so many fields to fill in, but yes, it’s so worth it that you do it fast. Umpf, credit card number. Where is the credit card? Will it be safe? Gosh, it’s 300£, is it a wise expense? At the end of the day the sales will start just in a couple of months. Do I really need this? Oh, whatever, it’s been a hard week, I worked hard, I deserve this coat. I need it. It’s so cold outside …

5) DÉNOUEMENT (RESOLUTION): The issues are resolved, creating for the character a sense of catharsis, all the tensions are released. –> DELIVERY: Oh my God this coat is amazing. It is amazing!  The delivery was super fast, and the fabric is so soft and it fits me perfectly! I’m so happy I spent only 300£ for it. My friends are going to love it, I can’t wait to wear it 🙂

6) DÉNOUEMENT (CATASTROPHE): The bitter end. The story ends with the death of the character, a sense of injustice and unfairness affects everything. –> FAULTY/WRONG ITEM:  Oh my God this coat is amazing. It is amazing. The delivery was super fast, and the fabric is so soft and it fits me perfectly! Wait … what is this? Is this a hole? Is this a hole? Jaysus, (the character is Irish) this is a big, huge, irreparable hole! Right under the arm’s seam! Noooo this is so unfair! I spent £300 for this … I even removed the label and washed it. They are never going to refund it … I am never ever shopping online again!

 

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Customer Experience Best Practices: Shoescribe.com

shoescribeUnlike its older brother yoox.com, shoescribe.com – the multibrand shoes platform for shoes-aholics – offers an amazing service in terms of Customer Experience. Why? Let’s say a few words on each step of the shoescribe customer journey.

Home Page:

http://www.shoescribe.com/

The home page is fresh, tidy, beautiful and functional. The fancy editorial style makes it a very well optimised page with lots of good content and a very clear category organization. In this home page there is space for everything that really matters: the product, of course, the editorial content, some marketing & call to actions (but not too much) the help & info area in the footer. The main characteristic, though, it’s that there is evidence of a very good quantity of quality content! We love it! Let’s move forward to the category page!

Category Page:

http://www.shoescribe.com/ie/women/shoes/pumps-heels

A poem. A clean, beautiful and functional category page with an amazing feature: the filter is in the header. The filter, a super functional designer, size, heel size and colour filter, is not anymore on the side bar but is clearly visible on the top of the page. It is expandable and WORKS perfectly! You can easily remove every filter and make one step back without any fear of losing the query.

Product Page:

http://www.shoescribe.com/ie/women/shoes/pumps-heels

it’s clean and functional but it might be better. How? SEO descriptions (missing) and product review. But there is a lot of free space in the page layout, so I guess these features shall be developed one day.

Customer Care page:

http://help.shoescribe.com/system/web/custom/hp/homepage/homepage.jsp?confId=1011

It’s the part I love most! Maybe because the Customer Care area’s project was managed by one of my best friends and former colleagues, sure. But also because it’ extremely user friendly, simple and straightforward: the most frequent and important subjects are there, easy to read and use. And I Love the communication style! It’s friendly and really warms up the relationship with customers!

Attila Ovari

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