Previously I wrote about how taking a little time to write a good error message can turn what is potentially a catastrophic user experience into one that actually endears you to your customers.
Here’s another great example from WordPress that turned a potentially frustrating experience (not being able to reach someone’s blog when I wanted to), into an experience that confirmed my experience of the WordPress brand, *and* made me smile.
Even though they’re personifying the server here, the voice of the clever and friendly and humorous people who make up WordPress comes through loud and clear.
As the Cluetrain guys say (which you should all know from heart by now):
These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked.
Unless you saw this error message too many times (and nothing can turn chronically poor performance into a good user experience), you’d be hard pressed to come away from this experience thinking poorer of WordPress.
You may even be so impressed you have to write a blog post about it :)
I’ve had two close encounters with 2.0 customer service this week. Both of them have really left an impression, so let me share:
Blogbeat: This one you can actually see on an earlier post. I’ve been having a bit of a go at Blogbeat lately because I actually want to like them, but I find it hard to love an interface that’s so bloody ugly (it doesn’t work for me.. I don’t care what Scoble says).
After my last post, Jeff from Blogbeat lobbed up and posted a little comment that totally put a human face on that company and their service for me. And then he linked to me! Even though I wasn’t saying entirely flattering things.
And what’s the outcome? I’ve got about 15 days left on my free trial at Blogbeat and now I’m almost sure I’ll pay them their $24USD. Eh. I feel like I kind of know them now. I have an emotional involvement with them now. If anyone’s going to get my cash, then I’d rather it be someone I know (this is not a new concept). Its like I want to reward them for caring about what I think, and engaging in the conversation.
powerful customer service 2.0, or I’m just a big sucker.
Either way, I like it.
Now, I’m not compulsive about my Technorati ranking… Its hard to get too excited about it when there are so many digits involved! But I use Technorati tags and my blog hadn’t been updated on Techorati for over a month. I was pinging.. they weren’t receiving. What was up with that?
This morning I filled in their contact form to see what was going on. They auto-responded saying they might take a few days to get back to me. 5 minutes later I received an email from a real person telling me the what the problem was, that they’d fixed it and apologising.
5 minutes! Very impressed.
I had no inclination to blog about Technorati in the past. So many other people do, I figure, why add to the noise. But service like that is something special. So, here I am. Talking up Technorati. Doing their marketing for them.
So, when you go to seminars and hear people abstractly talk about ‘engaging in your customers conversations’, ‘listening to the market’, ‘creating a one to one relationship with your customer’, being honest, and open and truthful. This is what it looks like. Here are concrete examples.
I’d be interested to hear other examples you’ve had of personal experiences with customer service 2.0. The good, the bad and the ugly.
[we] communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked.
I love even more error messages like this one that make it ever so clear that there are people behind this website – both through the voice and explicitly.
A friend of mine just finished being a ‘user’ for a testing company. They were doing final usability testing before launching a redesign of a well known online share trading website.
They’d asked him in because he’s been using this website every day for a few years now. It was the only reason he was interested in the internet. He struggles doing a search on Google, but he’s a power user of this site.
At the end of the user testing he emerged frustrated and a little angry.
He hated the new design, but because he’s so experienced with the tasks that he was asked to perform, he would have tested quite well.
When it came to the questionnaire, he said that he didn’t really tell them what he thought because he didn’t want them to think he was being ‘smart’.
‘I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they knew what they were doing and that they were making good decisions’.
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me