Customer Experience during a Pandemic

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Global pandemics are a challenge for everyone. Customers look to institutions and businesses they already trust for answers. Meanwhile, companies must scramble to figure out the best way to maintain excellent Customer Experience (CX) during unprecedented times.

No matter what the economy does, you can take some proactive steps to ensure your customers remain loyal to your brand. Creating an excellent CX takes dedication and focus, especially during a global pandemic.

Determine a Spokesperson

When a crisis hits, it’s easy to send mixed messages. Choosing a single spokesperson ensures what you’re saying is consistent. During emergencies, the company may need to make fast decisions and distribute information to customers and employees.

Select someone with a reassuring presence. Make sure this person understands the emotions people deal with during difficult times. Come up with a few messages aimed at solving pain points for your customers.

The person you appoint is the face of your brand. Make sure they embrace the values you hold dear and understand the personality of your company. The best representative is often the founder of the company. However, if that person isn’t comfortable in front of a camera, it might be best to choose a Marketing or PR Specialist.

Send Clear Signals

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during a pandemic. You must figure out ways for your business to survive, alongside worrying about employee health and keeping customers safe. Figure out what your primary message is and deliver it immediately. The longer it takes customers to hear from you, the less likely they’ll feel confident you have a handle on any issues.

Look for no-contact ways to stay in touch. Utilize email, social media, and even snail mail to send out sales campaigns or updates about your business. No matter how you distribute your message, make sure it is the same message each time. Emails should match print ads. Offer the same deals via social media as you do on your website. Present a consistent signal, so users don’t grow confused about your process during the pandemic.

Tap Into Emotions

Some companies just keep plugging along with business as usual. However, not even acknowledging there’s a pandemic can make consumers feel unsure about the measures you’re taking to protect them.

Your first step is understanding your target audience. If you mainly cater to members of the younger generations, they may be acting less fearful of the virus than those impacted more severely. Know who your customers are and what their fears are.

Once you understand the fears or anxieties driving their behavior, it’s much easier to show empathy. For in person services, at risk clients might benefit from a separate shopping time period when they won’t have to interact with the general public. All types of shoppers will appreciate courtesy features like pickup and delivery.

Survey Your Customers

The best way to figure out what your customers want is by surveying them. Ask them what new procedures they’re happy with and what doesn’t work for them.

Go through any complaints or feedback offered in support chat, via email, or phoned in. These are clues about areas needing improvement. Once you identify key issues, make the needed adjustments to ensure a positive shopping experience in the future.

Know the path people take when they land on your website. Create a customer journey map and look at each touchpoint in the process. Can you make any improvements that might cause hesitation from the buyer? Do they feel safe from the virus through each element?

Refocus Your Support

A well-trained online support staff can create such a fantastic customer experience that people become loyal to the brand. One of the reasons for Intercom’s success is how it encourages consistent and positive immediate chat support. When you talk to chat support staff, or the chat bots, they almost always say, “My pleasure.” or “Thank you.”

Many in-person shops have reduced their hours during the pandemic. Use this extra time to conduct training sessions for your employees. Explain how customers are feeling and how they can make it a little better. Give them time to discuss their own concerns. Those who work with the public may have fears of their own. Look for ways to make their jobs better so that their happiness spreads to your customers.

Train your customer support staff to focus on the CX of every interaction. If someone calls in, do they hang up afterward feeling heard? If a potential client begins a chat inquiry, do they feel welcome? Go through each point of the buyer’s journey and consider how staff can improve the CX through each phase.

Embrace Forward Thinking

These days, the small business landscape is challenging because of reduced in-person activity. One way to get through the social distancing era unscathed is to look forward to future changes and adapt. For example, people are likely to continue shopping from home and requesting curbside pickup for the foreseeable future.

Even once the pandemic passes, the convenience of these services will linger. Implement changes now so you’re ready for the shifts in consumer spending. If a majority of your sales currently happen online, that isn’t likely to change. Make sure your website has an excellent CX and embrace omnichannel experiences.

Ask your customers what else they’d like to see. Some of the best ideas come from those you serve. While you can’t embrace every view, you can certainly start a few new traditions and keep your patrons happy.

CX Doesn’t Change

Even if the world can change drastically in a few short months, the general principles of an exceptional customer experience remain the same. Focus on solving pain points for customers. The problems they face during a global pandemic may be different from what they had before, but you should still be a beacon of hope.

Offer them answers and strive to be the best in your field. You’ll gain loyal fans who will stay with you long after the virus fades into obscurity.


Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

Usability Testing Guide

The process of conducting a usability test by:   |  Posted on

Usability testing is a core component of User Centered Design and can be used at any stage in the process. It provides valuable insight into the mind of the user, giving us a better understanding of users’ mental models, and it helps to highlight issues that might negatively impact the experience, while also pointing to solutions. If you are new to Usability Testing and want to learn more or just interested in how someone else approaches it, this article gives an overview of how to set-up and run a usability test, and provides a checklist of things to do to complete a usability testing project.

Preparation 

Here is a brief outline of the different stages involved in setting up a Usability Testing session. I will go into each in greater detail and explain what it is and what you need to do.

  • Briefing Meeting
  • Participant Specification
  • Recruitment
  • Discussion Guide
  • Consent Form
  • Setting Up the Session
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Collaborative Journey Maps

Moving Agile Product Teams from Magic to Mission by:   |  Posted on

In many organizations, the design team does some research then retreats to their tower to conjure deep magics that turn note filled notebooks into a customer journey map. At least that’s what it looks like to their peers.

IMG scribble, magic, journey map

Journey diagrams capture tons of detailed info about users, processes, and systems. The best teams share the same understanding of the user’s journey. Instead of having your team wonder where you got this information or how you came to these conclusions, have them build the journey map with you.

When you map the user journey with your team, everyone understands what it says and why. When you collaborate with your team, the journey map transforms from the designer’s magic to the team’s mission, representing the journey you shepherd for your users.

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Stop Counting Clicks.

The Myth is Busted. by:   |  Posted on

Every user interaction is a decision. Every decision can lead to an exit. So the more options we offer, the more exit opportunities we create, which will reduce the probability of conversion. Right? Well…

In fact, the number of interactions a user makes is in no way directly related to conversion rates. It might be a surprise, but there is no statistical evidence to prove that this widely held belief is true. When establishing the amount of clicks that are appropriate for a task, it actually solely depends on the requirements regarding complexity, security, and usability. In this article, we’re going to share with you how we use these requirements to assess how many clicks are appropriate on a page. Once we started looking at clicks through this lens, we were able to increase conversion, reduce task time, and increase customer satisfaction. 

The 3-click rule is dead

The “3-Click Rule” has been causing a ruckus for decades. In 2001, Jeffrey Zeldman suggested in his book »Taking Your Talent to the Web« that all information should be available on a website within three clicks. If you take a look at the state that web design was in back then, this isn’t a big surprise. It seemed like the more information that was on the page, the better. At that time of course, the data on interactions with digital services was quite scarce. 

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People Who Design: Connecting Design Communities

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These days, creating a personal website is easy. You don’t need to know about how to code; the newest platforms can host profile pages with templates you can fill in with photos, links, and text about you and your works. Especially if your content all fits in just one page, you have all you need for a website no matter if you’re a media person, digital professional, creative designer, or a tech expert. Having a website really helps to make you relevant and reliable, establishing yourself as a landmark in anything, and everyone knows this. If you’re a company or organization, private or public, it doesn’t matter, you obviously need an online presence.

The Problem

According to the Hosting Tribunal there are about 2 billion websites but less than 400 million of them are active. By the time you finish reading this article, thousands of new sites will spawn. Looking just at blogs and personal pages, stats reveal great prospects for those as well. Every day, over 500 million blogs and 19 million bloggers spawn a massive amount of new content readily available at your fingertips.

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Design is Changing Shopping (for the Better)

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Technology changes at the speed of light. Just when a shopping experience is updated for the latest craze, something new arrives on the scene and uproots the way people shop online. Even though this happens all the time, some design trends can give hints at how the landscape of eCommerce changes from year to year. Paying attention to these improvements allows us to stay on top of consumer needs and make educated guesses about where and when the next big thing happens. 

The number of people shopping online increases massively every year, especially in 2020 during the global pandemic. Online retailers can expect increased orders, and stores not yet online should get their websites up and running to meet this demand. 

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Architectural Intelligence: Part 2

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We are pleased to present a few more sections from Molly Wright Steenson’s brilliant book detailing the rich history of Digital Architecture. The book covers five influential architects who insisted on working to forward digital approaches, and proceeded to create the design path for a lot of modern digital design, including the origins of Information Architecture.

In Part 2 of these book excerpts Molly covers the early history of Boxes and Arrows alongside a few events and details from the early IA community.

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Moving from Corporate to Contract

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Working as a full time in house employee definitely has its benefits; camaraderie, stability, and the support of a team are alluring aspects for many designers. Yet, it also has many drawbacks. If you’re frustrated with the politics, tired of endless meetings, or you just want creative freedom and increased income, contract work can be an appealing option.

But how do you actually start freelancing?

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Architectural Intelligence: Part 1

by:   |  Posted on

We are pleased to present a few sections from Molly Wright Steenson’s brilliant book detailing the rich history of Digital Architecture. The book covers five influential architects who insisted on working to forward digital approaches, and proceeded to create the design path for a lot of modern digital design, including the origins of Information Architecture.

In Part 1 of these book excerpts Molly covers the history of how Information Architecture emerged as a practice and the beginnings of what we know of as IA today.

Continue reading Architectural Intelligence: Part 1

We are a community

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Message from the publishers

As a native Texan in the Pacific Northwest, and a transplant Texan from Southern California, we are very aware of the significance of today’s date: Juneteenth. And we celebrate its significance and reflect on what it means to us. We’re left asking ourselves how we can be better allies. We know we haven’t done enough. We are educating ourselves on how to do more.

Boxes and Arrows has always been a platform for community.  We are a Latinx owned, volunteer run publication, and we stand with the community in proclaiming loudly that Black Lives Matter. Over the past three weeks we have watched events unfold showing the effects of systemic racism and police brutality. It is difficult. It is emotional. We are deeply affected. We’ve huddled closely to our families, and marched beside members of our communities to send a clear message that change must happen now.

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