Industry Opinion: Don’t Clutter Customer Experience in Person, or Online
By Chris Owen on May 13th 2016Read this article on our full site
M&C Saatchi's Chris Owen is left frustrated by the customer experience being cluttered in real life - and now he's seeing it online. Here are his thoughts.
So, the below happened this morning.
- Barista: What would you like?
- Me: A medium Americano please, and a chocolate muffin
- Barista: Would you like to try our Peruvian blend?
- Me: [for the twelfth day running] No, it’s fine
- Barista: Would you like to buy a bag of coffee and get your coffee free?
- Me: No
- Barista: Are you coming back here later?
- Me: Depends if I ever manage to leave
- Barista: If you come back, bring this receipt, you’ll get 50% off
- Me: Fine
- Barista: What’s your name?
- Me: Chris
- Barista: That’s £2.29 please
- Me: Any chance of the muffin?
Look, I’m fine with an upsell, but can just get the simple things right first, and don’t let the upsell get in the way of the actual sale.
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Customer experience: lost in translation?
If you do have a one-day offer – buy a bag of coffee, get your actual coffee free – make sure it’s not vaguely counterintuitive.
Currently, a newsagent chain is offering a free bottle of water with every Daily Telegraph, (the water is twice the price of the paper), so people who just want water end up dumping newspapers everywhere.
I mean, I’m from the UK, and I’m only just getting used to the arrival of the American “hey, what’s your name?” part of the coffee buying experience – something I’m not against, just find difficult because I’m such a prudish Brit.
That said, I’ve found turning it into a game is fun.
If you mumble your name you can see what you end up with – ‘Grace’ being one of my personal favourite interpretations of ‘Chris’, given it’s not even my correct gender.
The main issue though is the experience – don’t bombard me with so many attempts to sell me more stuff that your in-store visit begins to resemble the online, pop-up ad laden experience which is, sadly, now blighting websites worldwide.
These roll-overs, takeovers, video Manhattans, and pre-video trailers are making some websites utterly unvisitable.
Some of the biggest names in publishing have more garish marketing around the editorial so it’s impenetrable, and in some cases so slow to load that people are simply not sticking around.
Now there’s a case for breaking into jail if ever I saw it.
One major American publisher is well known for being so bottlenecked that people simply go elsewhere rather than click links to it – we simply don’t want to wait eight seconds for a page to load, (and, arguably, shouldn’t).
A recent study from the UK newspaper, The Guardian, demonstrated this lag problem perfectly in its analysis of the publishing industry – have a look through this (especially slide seven).
The Boston Globe website comes in at over 40 seconds to load a page due to all the content and advertising – of which over eight seconds is advertising.
Nearly a minute to load a page.
How can this be tenable in the long term? One proposed answer is membership, but that’s a discussion for another day.
At the end of the day, whether you’re online or in-store, it’s obvious, and it’s easy. Keep it simple. The customer is already spending some money with you, or visiting your site, or looking through your store – treat them with some respect and be less ungrateful.
Don’t bombard them with requests for more – let them spend (be it cash or time) at their own pace and build up loyalty over time; it’s not a race.