When I checked the status of my Amazon order recently, I was happily surprised to see the status shown to me in this green graphic:
At a quick glance, without taking the time to read anything, I got the information that I wanted; I could see that my stuff was on a truck, and headed my way today. No squinting, no thinking, no mental interpretation involved. That's the way I like it.
But it turns out that I'm no different from the other 7.3 billion people on earth - our brains are wired for communication through pictures instead of text. Felicia Golden explains why so eloquently in her blog post, "The power of visual content: Images vs. Text."
Now, when I took the tracking number, and plugged it into the USPS Tracking Tool, this is what I received (check out the picture to the right). Do you notice the difference between the Amazon report, and the USPS report? My over-burdened brain certainly does.
Visual content reaches our brains faster, and is easier to understand than textual information. So why would you burden your customers' brains with a lot of text? If you want your customers and prospects to understand your benefits faster, more fully (and hence hire you sooner and more often), why not re-write your value proposition in pictures or video, instead of prose?
You'll be doing a favor for both your customers' brains and your bottom line.
Like many people across America today, I'm saddened to hear of the passing of Yogi Berra, the Hall of Fame catcher of the New York Yankees who may be remembered as much for his quotes as he was for his baseball.
In honor of Yogi, I'm re-posting an article that was written on the dawn of the 2011 baseball season.
Rest in peace, Yogi - we'll forever smile and learn from your quips!
“You can observe a lot by watching.”
Now, if you’re like me, you’re always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the customer experience. Yogi’s advice may, in fact, be the advice we need for customer experience innovation; a great way for finding ideas for creating new and better experiences for your customers.
Whenever our emotions are triggered for better or for worse while we’re being our customer-selves, pause for a moment; stop and think... What particular thing delighted you, ticked you off, and essentially made the experience memorable?
Make a mental note of what exactly occurred, how and why it occurred to make the experience what it was. Think more broadly now, to understand how you can apply or prevent those same triggers within your customer-facing business processes, to make your customers feel like they're having a better experience.
In a word, what can you learn from your personal customer experiences that you can apply to the experiences that you deliver to your customers?
If we take the time to observe, the answers are all around us.
Or, as Yogi said, we can observe a lot by watching.
Thanks to Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times for this portrait of Yogi at 83.
If you could conduct each customer satisfaction survey as a live one-on-one conversation with the customer, how would you do it?
What kinds of questions would you ask? Would you just ask those same "on a scale of 1 to 5" questions, or would you take a different approach? If the customer tells you that they didn't like the service they received, you'd probably ask the customer to elaborate, and describe in their own words exactly what stunk about the service.
Why should a real survey be any different?
Unfortunately, a lot of surveys seem to be more focused on capturing objective data related to customer satisfaction, rather than uncovering the actual cause of the satisfaction (or dissatisfaction).
An effective survey is essentially an interview with a customer. And in any good interview, the person asking the questions rarely stops at the first response; they ask follow-up questions that encourage the interviewee to open up and speak freely to explain their response; to explain what they feels, and why they feel that way. An effective survey feels like a good interview; a natural conversation.
That's how I felt - as the interviewee - when I was completing a customer support survey from fitbit this week - like I was having a conversation with a real person from fitbit. Each closed-ended question was followed by an open-ended question. For example, the first question was a simple Yes or No question:
That question was followed by another, asking me to elaborate on why I answered the previous question the way that I did.
This gave the survey a conversational flow, like a good interview: "What exactly do you mean by that? "Tell us what YOU think?" It gave me a chance to speak and express myself. And it gave fitbit a chance to understand how their processes were affecting my experience.
Most surveys I receive are comprised primarily of consecutive closed-ended questions. Surveys like that may collect a lot of data - but they elicit only what a customer thinks. But since they don't follow-up the what question with an open-ended why question, the surveys do a poor job of eliciting the root cause of the pleasure or the pain. And without knowing that root cause, you can't know precisely what to fix in order to improve the experience.
The point is this:
Structure your surveys to uncover the "why" behind the "what." An effective way to do this is by following each closed-ended question with an open-ended question.
Do your surveys flow like real conversations?
Do they ask enough "why" questions?
Do they uncover why customers feel the way they do?
And most important, do they lead you to the root cause of customer sentiment?