customer service 2.0

technorati logo

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.

Then today – Technorati impressed my socks off.

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.

Who’s been treating you nice lately?

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error messages that speak to me

Zoinks!

I love websites that speak with a human voice, as the ClueTrain Manifesto says:

[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.

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“I didn’t want them to think I was being smart” (user 15 mins after completing user testing session)

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’.

Oh dear.

User Centred Design and Leg Waxing – An Instructional Analogy

wax

I went to a new waxing place on Saturday, and I’m never going back there again. Ever.

Even though they’re half the price of my old salon. There is nothing that would entice me back there again.

I had my legs and eyebrows waxed. I’ve been thinking about the importance of user centred design ever since.

Let me start by saying that I emerged unharmed (there are pots of hot wax involved, personal safety shouldn’t necessarily be assumed!). And I emerged more aware of the power of user experience for branding, loyalty, word of mouth and, ultimately – revenue.

So, what happened, and what on earth does a leg wax have to do with user experience online?

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