Recently, I was on my way to LAX when I received one of those recorded calls from the airline, “…your flight # was cancelled…” The cool cucumber that I am, I raced over to the airport going through a few scenarios of what would happen if I couldn’t find the next available flight. “Why couldn’t I find that jet propulsion backpack on eBay?@!!!”
Then I called the airline and found out that the next flight was too late to take. Still using my phone, I searched for the next available flight on Expedia and so wished that their site was mobile friendly.
The site displayed my search and there it was, the next flight out with a different airline – perfect timing. I would’ve ordered the ticket online, rather than stand in a line, but I gotta tell you, I’m a customer and I am interested in a good user experience. Even if I could have typed my info into the small form fields, it was 6:30 in the morning and I was not prepared for any of this and not in a frame of mind to be squinting at my phone screen for a half an hour. So, I opted to stand in a pretty short line. It’s predictable, familiar, and felt easy.
The lesson here? Always have more than one airline customer # in your contact list! And the other lesson is for clients, and a reminder to all of us, to look at services and/or products being used beyond the ways that we may assume.
Expedia had a chance to sell me a ticket that I was desperate to purchase, but they lost that connection with me – simply because of the context. I’m in an airport, a little stressed out, rushing for an early meeting. When comparing my option with the more predictable and familiar model, I chose what appeared to be the “easiest, no brainer” choice.
I think they failed to see other contexts in which their customers would use their site. They are talking to travelers, where a lot of variables can apply.
However, it was the research that I had to do, where they truly lost me due to lack of usability. To clarify, the method of delivering their site (in my case, by phone) compromised the usability of their site. I’m sure if the design team were aware and tasked with addressing a better user experience, the design would be different. Maybe the content would be exactly the same, but the experience may vary, simply because the medium is different.
Sometimes I think this is all common sense, but I come across this issue more times than not with clients. One easy way to bring up the importance of this lesson is to think beyond the one or two touch points that you may be focused on. Ask, “How do these touch points and others affect each other?” Take a more holistic view of your brand and service to see where the biggest gaps are with your customers. Simply put, think about the 3 C’s – Context, Content, and Connection.
This may also help you when you or your clients or partners are thinking about “repurposing” your content. Syndicating your content is great, but I’d empower your audience to decide the context. But, that’s getting into a post for another day….
To find out more about how Acquity Group addresses the “3 C’s ” visit: http://www.acquitygroup.com/thought-leadership/ and download our “Managing Customer Perceptions” White Paper.