Good User Experience Means More Than A Good Product
Most definitions of User Experience center around how the user feels while using a certain product. When people write about User Experience, they usually focus specifically on the features/usability of the product and how that relates to what the person is feeling.
It strikes me as odd that people focus only the features/usability of the product when talking about User Experience. Things outside of the features/usability of a product effect how your users feel about the product too. A good User Experience doesn't end with just a good product. When you provide amazing customer experience or you stand for a cause that your users relate to, they actually enjoy using your product more.
Here are some things you can start doing for your customers today that will make their experience with your product better.
Here Are Some Of The Things We Do
Say Thank You With No Strings Attached
Take the time to find out who's buying from you and get to know them a bit. Sincerely tell them thank you. We send every company that signs up a hand-written letter telling them how awesome they are. And a little bag of Skittles. Who doesn't love Skittles?
It takes us around five minutes per customer to look up their address and write a personalized letter to honestly thank them for using your product. Spend the five minutes, it's worth it.
Be Proactive With Olark
One of the best User Experience moments you can create is fixing a bug in real time. Our application errors get posted directly into our HipChat room. Most of the time we're able to reach directly out (using Olark) to the person who encountered the bug, let them know we saw the error, fix the issue, deploy, and let them know the problem has been fixed.
Talk With Them On Twitter
If you haven't read Creating Customer Evangelists or The Thank You Economy, do yourself a favor and read them. I listened to both of them on the drive back from Mountain View, CA to Raleigh, NC this Summer and they changed the way I think about customer service.
Both talk about how Twitter allows you to have personal moments with potential customers that you would have otherwise never knew existed. It is an open arena where your customers are talking and you have the opportunity to talk back. People notice when you care enough to comment on one of their tweets.
Reward Those Who Go Above And Beyond
We are extremely thankful to the people that take time out of their day to do awesome things for us. For example, Mathias from TravisCI created a Hubot script to control status pages via chat programs. Warwick, a.k.a. Rick created this awesome fake US Government Status Page that took off on Twitter and was tweeted about over 1,000 times.
We sent these people (and several others) a legit quadrocopter as our way of saying thank you.
P.S. if you do something awesome, there's a decent chance you'll get one too.
Be Humble In Your Screw Ups
When StatusPage.io goes down, we are proactive about telling customers and keeping them up to date as best as we can. There is no greater customer service failure than your servers going down and you leaving your customers completely in the dark. I hear there's some newfangled company out there that helps you easily create your own status page -- so you don't have an excuse.
Here Are Some Things Other Companies Do
We create segments to identify new paying customers who receive stickers, and a thank you card in the mail. When someone upgrades we offer them the chance of exposure through their Twitter account, with an in-app message like this. For customers who upgrade but have yet to use certain features, we offer them a short Skype call to learn about their needs too.
One of our customers wrote code to make it easier for other people to use our product. We were really happy they were generous enough to share it. I looked at their twitter account and saw they loved to travel so we sent them the book "1000 places to see before you die". Small surprises that have a lot of meaning to the recipient go a long way towards building long relationships.
Our view is that Support is Sales. The goal isn't just to resolve the support issue, it's to get to know the Customer. An easy way to start is by always asking questions in support responses. "What are you building?" "I noticed you work here -- are you looking to integrate X for Y? Things like that." The better you know your customer, the better your product will be.
We help our customers pull together amazing analytics setups. Part of that is making it easy to record analytics data, but another major part is helping our customers understand how to use the data that they're collecting. So we gave away free copies of Lean Startup and Lean Analytics to visitors reading Analytics Academy (https://segment.io/academy/) who did the homework on each article. May their businesses prosper!
This Is What I Want You To Take Away From This Post
Most of the stuff I just talked about has one common thread and it's that your customers, your users, those people on the other side of the screen -- they're humans too. They love it when people make them feel special. They want to feel like they're a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to connect with other humans. They want to know the other person is sorry when they've been wronged. So take the time to say thank you, shine a light on them for the good things they've done, and leave the corporate speak behind so they know you're just a human too.
Trust me, it will go a long way.