Forbes: Essere ‘Tolleranti’ agli errori dei Clienti. I casi Apple e Mercedes di Customer Experience Designer Strategy

AICEX: Il difficile è rendere le cose semplici e quando un Cliente commette degli errori è spesso a causa dell’Azienda. Se fosse tutto “a prova di bambino” forse non sbaglierebbero.

Micah Solomon ,CONTRIBUTOR – I write on customer service, customer experience and corporate culture
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

I’m sure you’re a tolerant person, but what about your business? As a customer experience designer, the strategy of “error-tolerant design” (for example, the Apple “lightning” connectors that literally don’t have a “wrong way” to plug in) and the related concept of “behavior-shaping constraints” (e.g., a car transmission that needs to be in ‘‘Park’’ before the key can be removed, or that needs to be in park or neutral for the ignition to kick in), are powerful concepts I want to share with you today.

These are well-established concepts in design and manufacturing (generally referred to by the Japanese term “poka-yoke”) that can bring advantages to a company in almost any arena. I’m going to give you some examples you can use directly at the end of this article. But first, so you can see the power of this stuff, let me tell you about my day.

This afternoon, I was feeling pretty great. I’d just completed a customer experience consulting engagement here in the Seattle area and was looking forward to driving home in the enlightened dashboard company of This American Life.

I threw my backpack in the trunk, slammed the lid–expecting that solid Germanic thunk–and realized the trunk wouldn’t close. I scanned the latch for obstructions, didn’t find any, slammed it shut a little harder this time. Still, it popped up just like the first time.

It was at that point I realized: there wasn’t anything obstructing the trunk latch and keeping it from closing. The car not closing was a feature, not glitch. Because–wait for it–I’d heedlessly tossed my keys into my backpack, something I almost never do. The car’s designers had gracefully conspired to keep me from a lock-out over an hour from home.

I have to say: this improved my experience of the day immensely.

Apple lightning connector front and back – literally no way to plug it in wrong

Similar thinking can improve the customer experience for your customers as well, regardless of what arena of business you’re playing in. Here are three examples – and a bonus — to consider implementing at your company. I’m sure you can think of more:

Error tolerance: When someone fills out an online form why not correct their typing for them? If that’s too hazardous (as it would be when names and other proper nouns are involved), at the very least, use capitalization correction: Nobody wants to end up in a company database as (and later get correspondence addressed to) jOhn smiTH simply because they were struggling to enter their name and address using a mobile keyboard, late at night, or when they were half in the bag.

Behavior shaping: Why not reduce the character set you use to generate serial numbers? In my opinion, there shouldn’t be any 0’s, 1’s , or other easily-swapped characters used in serial numbers. They too easily become O’s and l’s. Which, of course, means there shouldn’t be an O’s or l’s either.

Error tolerance writ large: In a sense, an omnichannel [see my Meghan Millennial article for a longer discussion of omnichannel] approach is error-tolerance incarnate. Of course, customers don’t consider it an error to purchase at your storefront cash register and then return from your porch, or to start a conversation with you on the phone and then expect to be able to continue it by email (with you retaining all the deets of the phone call so they don’t have to repeat themselves), but these are challenges to your processes that you need to overcome, rather than making the customer do the work.
–and one more, that’s rather different from the others, as this one depends on humans and thus isn’t something you can set and forget:

Error tolerance via empathetic, well-trained employees: In a sense, one of the most important error-tolerant “design” moves you can make in customer service and in the customer experience is to hire the right people and train them the right way, making it clear to them that they aren’t there to judge or correct their customers (except in matters of life, death, safety, security, or fraud), but to support their customers and, in the cases that errors do need to be corrected, to make the error seem minor and understandable. As I am prone to saying, “the customer isn’t always right, but it pays to make them feel that way.”
Micah Solomon is a customer experience designer, customer service consultant, customer experience speaker and bestselling business author, most recently of High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service

SOURCE: Become ‘Error-Tolerant’ Like Apple And Mercedes: A Customer Experience Designer Strategy

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