Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happiness is...happy consumers

How to keep cross channel consumers happy

Adele Sage, Analyst
Forrester Research

  • A story about an intent to purchase a digital camera [you've been here...you get customer service...they can't answer your question...or transfer you to someone who can..you get po'd].
  • [Several key customer experience points ripe with opportunity for epic fail: researching the product purchase; tracking status; obtaining support
Theme: Time to fix cross channel experiences

  • Channels include chat, web, store, phone, email, mobile.
  • Claim: For purchasing, more consumers going across channels (web, phone, instore)...71% of consumers are cross channel shoppers. Only 29% are web only shoppers.
  • Claim: For service/support, 43% used phone...next most prevalent is web form at 23%.
  • Claim: Satisfaction with experience is low...61% rate experience across channels as poor or very poor.
How to Fix?
  • Focus on one channel pair at a time: for instance...phone<-->email...web<-->store
  • Use scenario design for experiences: Who are the users, what are their goals and what path can you help them take to achieve them.
  • Do research...ethnographic research to create a persona based profile. [Sounds alot like observation-based usability research techniques employed in early stages of product/software design]
  • Three components of channel design: CHoice, Consistency, Continuity
  • BestBuy.com as a best practice in choice: ability to schedule a time online that a BB associate will call you by phone.
  • Consistency of words and information used [this is a principle of interface design...consistency over elegance in interface design]: Kohls uses same images on line that they use instore on packaging...consistency from a user perspective. 
  • Continuity: Preserving context across channels...providing same 800 number online, in email and during confirmation of order/shipping status communications...providing inventory status instore while researching product online (Circuit City site)...phone agent knows who you are when you've already entered data in voice response system (Macy's).
[An interesting session on looking at cross channel experiences...many of hte points struck me as some of the fundamental principles of designing products and software as promulgated by the likes of Don Norman, Jakob Neilsen and others...suggesting that experience design can learn alot from product design...and that marketing would do well to employ them.]

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