Tag Archive: customer experience


Why only 7?!?

Recently, my wife and I picked up some new Brita filters from Sam’s club. Now, while 7 filters for $30 is an amazing deal, what I couldn’t help but think is why are there only 7 filters?

You see, when you open up the package, you’ll find a very commercial looking box which looks like it could be sold as it’s own separate unit containing 4 filters, and another box with the same amount of detail, but only containing 3 filters.

…and then you’ll find the plain white “filler” box, which you can see in the picture.

This plain, white box does more than just serve as a placeholder so the 3-filter box doesn’t slide around, it also serves to be quite an eyesore and a reminder that, while you could have had two fancy looking boxes with 4 filters each, you get  one less filter.

Brita, why would you not just put 8 filters in the package and raise the price a tiny bit?

If you’ve optimized your price point with 7 filters, why do you not do something more crafty or creative with your “filler”? Make the package a different shape, or at least decorate the filler box in some way instead of including this eyesore in the package!

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Do Not Overfill!!!

 I understand that some products have reservoirs that should not be overfilled, but I don’t understand why some designers make it so hard to not overfill them!!!

The picture to the left is for the rinse aid reservoir from my dishwasher. It has the max fill line printed on the stem, which is attached to the back of this cap. What this means is that you have to slowly pour in the rinse aid (guessing at how close you are to the max fill line), then periodically insert the cap, then remove the  cap and look for residue indicating the fill level on the stem, and then wipe the residue off of the stem, and repeat. What nonsense.

A good reservoir would have a fill line on the reservoir itself, so, as you’re pouring, you can tell how full the container is and how close you are to the max fill line in ‘real-time’.

Now, some drastic instances may require the “line on stem” method (I’m thinking specifically of filling the oil in your car), but, I also believe that there can be more creative  solutions used to overcome this inconvenience (I’m thinking of a secondary reservoir with a fill line that you could fill and then empty into the main reservoir…think ‘ACT Mouthwash’, but backwards…).

This really vexes me. What product design features bother you the most?

Mobile Kiwi

In spite of what the rest of the internet says (you’re on your own to search for that), Ripe & Easy Kiwi did make one good marketing/design move:

They made kiwi mobile.

I have fond memories of kiwi growing up. My grandma used to peel it, cut it up in slices, and dish it up for me. I would have become a kiwi-haulic if not for one thing: I seldom have the time to prep a kiwi (…well, that and my grandma moved to Florida).

Therefore, I had given up on Kiwi (in favor of peaches and other more mobile fruit)…until I saw Ripe & Easy Kiwi: The picture on the label was of a girl who had cut the top off of the kiwi, and was scooping it out of the skin like it was a small bowl. BRILLIANT! I can eat kiwi on the go!

I went home and tried this at once…and it was a MESS.

My problem was that my spoon was too big and blunt, and it decimated the peel which let all of the juices run out. Also, you need two tools: the spoon, and the knife to cut the top. Still pretty inconvenient…until I spied something at the bottom of the package:

Included with this kiwi multi-pack was the tool that the girl on the package was using. A slender spoon/knife combination, where the spoon was more narrow and pointed. It did the job excellently, and Ripe & Easy Kiwi even made some extra sales from me because I bought more boxes to get more of the tools (so the wife and I could eat Kiwi together).

Great move, Ripe and Easy Kiwi! Way to make the Kiwi more portable (and yourselves more profitable)!

Way to go Menards!!!

Last weekend was my first trip to Menards, and I have to say that I was very impressed with all aspects of my visit.

Honestly, what struck me as one of the best things I saw on my trip was this sign, which was hung in a public area:

There are several reasons why I liked this sign so much:

  1. It cost virtually nothing to print and hang it up,
  2. It alters the attitudes of your employees when they see it,
  3. The customer also sees it (since it’s in a public area and not just in the break room), and feels better because they feel that their experience is important to your company, and
  4. Even if the same level of satisfactory service is received with nothing really ‘above-and-beyond’, I feel that the customer would still leave a little more satisfied from seeing this sign.

This sign is a cheap and simple way to change everyone’s state of mind in a positive direction, and, for taking this type of material out of the break room and on to the sales floor, I commend Menards!

The Method of Extremes

Lately I’ve been struggling with setting goals and priorities, and, as all great things come out of turmoil, I’ve stumbled upon a new method and strategy for dealing with this prioritizing and goal setting: The Method of Extremes.

Note: I should also clarify that this strategy is best applied to a task after the baseline work has been completed (for example: the next revision of an existing product). This should help determine where that last bit of your creative energy (the hardest stuff to come by) is spent. 

Please allow me to demonstrate:

Let’s say you’re DeWALT and you make a power drill: Your goal might be to make a smaller and more powerful drill.

Now, let’s take this to the extreme! Let’s say that we’re 10 or 20 years down the road, you’ve conquered the technological stumbling blocks, and you have created a 100V drill that fits in a 1″ x 1″ x 1″ box.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty useless drill to me (not to mention that one of your competitors could steal your title if they are just 1mm smaller in any dimension); therefore, should making a smaller, faster drill really be our #1 goal?

…but of course your end result would be ridiculous,” You might say, “That’s what happens when you take things to the extreme!“, but I beg to differ:

Let’s say now that your goal was to create a drill with sufficient torque to accomplish your required task and a size conducive to the ability to complete the task at hand, but your most creative energy went into creating the best ergonomic design possible.

Let’s take this to the extreme: You would have the most comfortable drill possible, and it will still accomplish its desired functions. It may even be bigger and heavier than your competitor’s drill, but that won’t matter if it’s the most comfortable!

I don’t know about you, but I’d buy that drill!!!

It’s time to re-evaluate where were expending that last bit of creative energy with the Method of Extremes.

“Free” samples!

So, I bought a new Husqvarna lawn mower this year (which is hilarious because I barely have a lawn).

My lawn had become quite overgrown, as the mower took  several weeks from the time I ordered it until when it was delivered, so I was very excited for its arrival. When my wife called and told me the box had been delivered, I started making my plans for the ride home from work that day.

  • Step #1: Stop at Lowes and pick up a gas can.
  • Step #2: Stop at the gas station and fill up the gas can.
  • Step #3: Get home, change, and start mowing!

All went as planned until Step #3… As soon as I unpackaged the mower, I realized that I had forgotten to pick up the oil! Upon further unpackaging, however, I noticed that a bottle of oil was included!

First of all, there is some cost associated with providing this “free” bottle of oil with every mower, but I believe that the benefits are manifold:

  • Customer Satisfaction – I didn’t have to run back to the store for a quart of oil! You saved me an extra trip, and I was pleasantly surprised (and, of course, when it’s unexpected, the effect is much greater)
  • Customer Loyalty – Instead of just telling me which recommended brand of oil I should go buy somewhere in the manual where I won’t read it anyway, you actually left me a free bottle. Again with the benefits of leaving something behind: I now have a physical bottle that I can take with me to the store when I get my refill; thus, there is a much greater chance that I will buy this exact same kind of oil when I go to the store to buy more!

Way to go Husqvarna!

…now if only you’d change your slogan to “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but they won’t break my Husqvarna!”

(It’s probably better that I’m not an ad guy!!!)

Amazon.com:

After all of the good times we’ve had together…

After all of the all of the major purchases we’ve made together…

After all of the personal information I’ve shared with you…

You send me this in an e-mail?!?!!

Amazon.com customer? Is that all I am to you? (…and even if it is…why would you be that obvious about it?)

It truly is the little things which separate the amazing from the run-of-the-mill…

Spotify – Fail

Really, I don’t know how many times I can talk about designing personalized ads for folks if you have enough information to do so!

Moreover, I don’t know why companies haven’t yet gotten this through their thick skulls.

Today’s offender is none other than Spotify:

I was doing my morning workout with my Spotify “Angry Workout Playlist” in the background (This playlist is a tasteful arrangement of compositions by artists such as Rise Against, Linkin Park, Slipknot, Static-X, Mudvayne, etc [Don’t judge!]), when an ad came on.

Now, I understand that I’m going to get advertisements (as I have a free account), but this was no ordinary ad: This was an ad for Pier One.

Now, I believe that, if you met a person on the street who was listening to the type of music on my workout playlist, you would not offer them a pamphlet from Pier One (you’d probably be more likely to offer them a Guitar Center magazine).

Why, then, is it ok for Spotify to do this when Spotify has this same knowledge of me (and even more, as Spotify knows my facebook account in addition to my listening preferences, so they should be certain that I am not in Pier One’s target demographic).

I suppose what irks me the most is that ads like this are nothing but destructive. They do not make any additional sales for Pier One and they do not increase my customer satisfaction with Spotify.

If you have the info – Customize!

Delivered by…

I love this: on my pizza delivery receipt, they included the order “Taken at” time and the “Delivered by” time.

Why is this so awesome?

I believe this is so great because of the following:

  1. It takes minimal effort and money to add this data to the receipt
  2. It allows the driver to properly prioritize his orders (if he gets confused as to which order should be delivered first)
  3. I’m pleased if I receive my pizza before the “Delivered by” time
  4. If my pizza is late, I will be upset anyway (even if they didn’t print the time on the receipt)

All customers have expectations, but they seldom quantify them; if we’re as good as we claim to be, this can be used to our advantage.

For example: I had no idea at which exact time I wanted my pizza. I just wanted it before I got too hungry and before it got “too late”. By seeing this receipt, it planted in my head that I wanted my pizza by 7:17pm, and that they exceeded my expectation by 19 minutes. I just went from content to happy – but there was no change in the act of delivery whatsoever!

Some high-schooler still took my pizza, put it in his car (with the funny sign on the roof), and drove it to my house – nothing physically changed in that process. The only difference, which led to me being more satisfied, was that they quantified my expectation, and then exceeded my, now quantified, expectation.

Where, in our daily lives, can we quantify other people’s ambiguous expectations of us so that we can exceed them? Project timelines with our bosses or our customers? Where else?

Contact us…maybe…

When I was learning to play bass guitar in High School (not that long ago), I picked up this handy little doo-dad to help me strengthen my fingers so I could play faster like my idol, Victor Wooten.

Anyway, I just noticed the “contact information” on this little guy yesterday, and I have to admit that I was a little surprised and confused at the same time…

Has there ever been a time in history when fax was the only option?