Consider Giving Customers Fewer Choices

There’s an interesting article in the Financial Post that discusses research on how choice affects customer satisfaction. Here are some of the key insights from the article: Although people are attracted to larger assortments, they are often happier with their purchases when they buy from smaller selections. When the differences between products are smaller, people are less certain that they have chosen the right one. People tend to choose the products with more features even though they would have been happier with an easier-to-use alternative (with fewer features). Consumers are less satisfied when they pay for features they don’t or can’t use. My take: Read More …

Google Chrome OS Sets Off Customer Experience War

Google recently created quite a stir when it introduced its new operating system (OS), Chrome OS. Here’s how Google describes its new OS: Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. My take: Will Chrome OS destroy Microsoft? No. Will Chrome shake up the PC market? Yes; especially when it comes to customer experience. Here are a few lessons that Microsoft and others can learn from Google’s announcement: Ultrasimplicity is powerful. Most companies compete by adding features Read More …

Navigation Plagues Web Experiences

In a recently published research report, I examined the results of more than 1,200 Web Site Reviews that Forrester has completed over the last 10 years. It turns out that Website experiences still need a lot of work. To begin with, 60% of sites ended up with “poor” or “very poor” scores in 2008. Our expert review grades 25 criteria across four areas: Value, Navigation, Presentation, and Trust. When examining how sites have done in each of these areas, we find that they most often fail the Navigation criteria. As sites have become more complex, they’ve piled on content and functionality (more Value) which has made it more difficult for Read More …

Obama Needs A Citizen Experience Officer

Bruce Nussbaum’s excellent Business Week blog has a post called Letter to President-Elect Obama: Here’s How To Build Your Innovation Dream Team. It recommends candidates for roles in Obama’s administration and also identifies a couple of new roles: Chief Innovation Officer and Creativity Advisory Board.  I agree with Nussbaum. President-Elect Obama needs to make significant changes in the way government operates and should infuse innovation and design thinking into his administration. But I would also propose another position: Citizen Experience Officer.  I often advise large organizations (banks. retailers, telcos, etc.) to put an executive in charge of their customer experience efforts; creating a position like Chief Customer Officer if they are committed to making improvements. Read More …

Recession Strategies From IDEO And Potatoes

I ran across an interesting article on the IDEO Website called Reframing Recession: Lessons from the potato (.pdf). The article discusses how potatoes became a popular food item in the 1790’s amidst the turmoil of a devastating grain market and repeated crop failures. The potato’s rise to the family table was driven by consumers’ innovation in trying to fill an overarching goal — feeding their families. The article does a nice job of using this story to frame the reality of poor economic times: There’s still opportunities for growth. Here’s a very interesting observation from the article: When the economy is down, people look to different product Read More …

HTC On Innovation, Simplicity, And Branding

I ran across a very interesting Q&A with John Wang, CMO of HTC, the Taiwanese company that delivered the first cell phone using Google’s Android operating system. The article focuses on how HTC cultivates innovation through it’s Magic Labs organization, which is a group of people across multiple disciplines (called “Magicians”) that focus on long-term innovations. The CMO runs the group and his business card says “Chief Innovation Wizard.” While the article provides interesting insights about how HTC handles innovation, I really enjoyed Wang’s discussion about two of my favorite topics: simplicity and branding. The way most companies compete is by adding features to their products and services. So, Read More …

Trend Watch #4: Business Week “Innovation Predictions 2008”

In this Trend Watch, I’m taking a closer look at the following article from Business Week: “Innovation Predictions 2008” While you can see the full list of 14 predictions at the bottom of this post, here are the 7 items that I think are most important for customer experience: #1) Innovation Consolidation. Excerpt: “One of the big, established consulting firms such as McKinsey, Bain or BCG makes a pass at one of the small design-turned-innovation consultancies-Jump, Continuum, IDEO, or ZIBA-to bolster its innovation practice.” My take: Many of these “innovation consultancies” are going beyond product design and deeper into overall customer experience design — which needs to be a core part of Read More …

The Best Of Customer Experience Matters, Volume #1

Well, this is a big moment — my 50th blog post. I just started a few months ago, but the uptick in readership has been fantastic. So let me start with by saying thank you to everyone who has been reading, linking to, writing about, and passing along my blog! Rather than introducing something totally new to mark this milestone, I decided to go with a retrospective. TV series do this to get new audiences caught up with the plot line — why not do it with my blog?! So, here goes, a look back at some of my favorite posts from the first 49: My Read More …

WaMu Heads For Simplicity: Follow!

In the American Banker last week, there was an article called Web Simplicity Initiative Bearing Fruit for Wamu. As an example of Washington Mutual’s (WaMu’s) focus on simplicity, the article described changes that WaMu made to the online application for its free checking account– cutting the process from 8 pages & 15 minutes to 3 steps & 6 minutes. And to eliminate the need for mailing forms to new customers, WaMu uses the first check as a signature card. I really, really, really liked the this quote from Richard Blunck, a senior vice president and WaMu’s director of e-commerce: Simple, for us, is critical My take: Simple is critical for just Read More …

NetFlix Ends Email Support; Tries Another Disruptive Strategy

NetFlix decided to stop its email customer service and, instead, beef-up its phone support. According to an article in the New York Times: Netflix took an unusual step for a Web-based company: it eliminated e-mail-based customer service inquiries. Now all questions, complaints and suggestions go to the Hillsboro call center, which is open 24 hours a day.   My take: Wow! Gutsy move. Okay, now for a more analytical discussion… NetFlix probably recognizes the realities of handling customer service emails — it’s incredibly difficult to do right. Here are some datapoints to think about: Most emails deliver a poor customer experience. In a recent Forrester research report called Best And Worst Read More …

Five Disruptive Customer Experience Strategies

In one of my earlier posts about Webkinz, I mentioned my research on five disruptive customer experience strategies. But I failed to list them out (thanks for those emails). So here they are: Ultrasimplicity: stripping away features to better meet the needs of customers. Companies often compete with each other by squeezing new features into their offerings. Over time, this process of “continuous enhancement” can lead to products and services with more capabilities than most customers need. So there’s an opportunity to develop a simplified version of existing offerings. [examples: ING Direct and JetBlue] Online infusion: integrating online features into core offerings. Read More …