Number Crunching, Video, and Whack-A-Mole: This Week’s Great Reads

Whack a mole

As we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at some of the news, articles, and blog posts that caught our eye over the last few days.

Let’s run some numbers

Whether you visit this blog as a CEO, small business owner, MindTouch customer, tech journalist, customer service manager, or you’re just killing time until your dentist appointment, we all have one thing in common. We’re all consumers of something. To that end, we know you’ll nod your head in agreement with some data points we’re about to throw your way.

While discussing the operational details of providing an optimal customer service strategy, Forrester Analyst Kate Leggett crunches some important data:

“Sixty-six percent of customers agree that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service. Forty-five percent of US online adults will abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.

Why is it so important to deliver on customer expectations?  Customer satisfaction correlates to customer loyalty, and loyalty has economic benefits. Forrester calculates that a 10-percentage-point improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion in revenue. Conversely, poor customer experiences are costly: Our data shows that 75% of consumers move to another channel when online service fails, which can incur a cost of many millions of dollars.

That’s right, 75 percent of consumers will bail on you if your online customer service isn’t up to snuff. That’s an insanely high number but we’ll bet most readers are thinking right now about how fast they left a company because of a bad customer experience. You may think you can’t afford to worry about the nuances of a good customer experience strategy but, can you afford not to? Are you willing to risk losing 75 percent of your customers over something preventable? Spend some time thinking about these concepts after you leave the dentist.


Caught on video

Savvy business owners know that single-sheet paper documentation or a general support email address buried in a website no longer cuts it as a means to providing outstanding customer service. Many companies now employ an integrated help system with multiple points of entry via online product documentation, continuously updated knowledge bases, and robust ticketing systems. That’s a lot of ways to offer automated self-help. Can you think of more?

1to1Media’s Cynthia Clark says video is the next rising star in the self-service product help arena.

“The benefits of video extend beyond its ability to show customers what they need to do to address their issues, but its availability around the clock means that customers can access the information at anytime they want and at a lower cost, even when a contact center might be closed. [Invodo CEO Craig] Wax notes that while video can be beneficial for all self-service situations, it is particularly effective to address complex issues or ones that involve detailed instructions through visuals.”

Given the popularity of YouTube, vlogging, and other forms of video content, this is a pretty safe conclusion to draw. It’s not a sparkling new idea, though. E-commerce industry experts have been making this case for years and Gerrard Dennis, managing director of, has one of the best arguments we know of about the  importance of including video in your product documentation. Commenting on how videos increased sales by 25 percent and cut down substantially on return rates, Dennis tells Econsultancy:

“The key here is that, along with all the other information on the products pages, these videos answer all the questions which customers may have about products, bringing it closer to the in-store experience. In fact, Gerrard argues that this can be better than the in store experience, since ‘you get the most knowledgable member of staff each time, not just the Saturday guy.'”

Take another look at that last remark. Consumers “get the most knowledgeable member of staff each time,” not just a random person who happens to be in a position to answer customer questions. Customer service doesn’t get much more proactive than this, folks. Anticipate what people want to know and have answers ready when they’re looking for them. Whether you produce them in-house or contract out the work to a specialty agency, there’s no denying video tutorials are the next wave. Catch it, ride it.


Maybe we like Whack-A-Mole

Awesome customer interaction isn’t limited to just providing speedy answers or detailed product help. Sometimes its the little things that count. Amazon built a subtle but amazingly effective touch into its drop down menu functionality that makes navigating its site a smooth, delay-free experience. Ben Kamens, lead developer at Kahn Academy, drills down into the predictive technology behind interactive Amazon’s menu feature and why “to-delay-or-not-to-delay” is an important consideration from a consumer standpoint:

“You need that, because otherwise when you try to move your mouse from the main menu to the submenu, the submenu will disappear out from under you like some sort of sick, unwinnable game of whack-a-mole.”

We spend a lot of time here talking about optimizing the customer experience by being proactive and making sure you delight your customers every single time they come in contact with you. This little gem of a detail Kamens unearthed is a great example of how the smallest change on your website can mean better engagement of your customer. Putting this idea to practical use, if part of your product documentation involves lots of drop down menus requiring users to click around for information, take a page from Amazon and give some thought to whether that process is as smooth as it can be. [via Mashable]

 Image: jeff_kontur