Where the customer journey can fall apart.

We realized early that you can have all the tactics in the world but if they hit your homepage and your homepage is bad, it’ll go to shit. If users sign up and you don’t have them doing anything useful after that, it’ll go to shit. If they go through onboarding and your onboarding sucks, it’ll go to shit. If you get it all right, they’ll become a happy customer, at which point your new obsession becomes keeping them. If you don’t keep them, they’ll either leave or go to another customer which means, again, it’ll go to shit. If there’s one point you should take from this, it’s that you have to work very, very hard to stop it all from going to shit.

Source: From signed-up to satisfied – Inside Intercom

Emphasis mine. There are so many points in the customer journey where everything can just fall apart.

Criticism over lack of iPhone headphone jack = criticism over lack of Adobe Flash

This was the choice Apple faced: support Flash and shut these critics up; or continue to not support Flash, take the criticism, and just wait a few years for everyone to forget about it, while former Flash proponents enjoy a better experience that they never would have gotten if Apple had listened to them.

Source: Daring Fireball: ‘Courage’

Point taken. Not to mention there’s a $10 adapter that adds a 3.5mm headphone jack to your iPhone. And, generally speaking, I’m not charging my phone while listening to it, so this yet-another-Apple-dongle does the job just fine, I think. 🙂

Somewhat aside: I’m holding off on getting an iPhone 7. Waiting until the (presumable) release of the 7S next year.

Phone cases mean the colour doesn’t matter.

If you’re going to put your iPhone in a case, then it doesn’t really matter whether you get regular black or jet black, because when encased, they’re nearly indistinguishable.

Source: Daring Fireball: iPhone 7: Jet Black vs. Black

I’m frequently complimented on the bamboo case for my iPhone 5S (photo below, taken with my Macbook’s webcam, apologies for potato quality). It’s relatively distinctive and adds a non-negligible layer of protection.

Bamboo iPhone case

I subscribe to the notion that phones should always have a case, because this is a friggin’ expensive piece of equipment that will be exposed to all sorts of abuse. And since I try to run on a 3-ish year hardware refresh cycle, the device needs to hold out for that long.

(It’s the same reason I have a hardshell for my Macbook Pro. It adds a layer of protection, and also gives me a guilt-free surface to place stickers on!)

Now I get that not everyone agrees with this philosophy. I see all those unprotected phones when I’m on the subway. And I get that the aesthetics of a naked phone matter greatly to some people.

But if you’re going to put your phone in a case, the colour doesn’t matter.

The touch points of an elegant client experience.

Today’s prompt on The Daily Post is the word elegant. So I got to thinking about what that word means to me.

Top of mind was Elegant Themes. (Probably because I’ve been maintaining GoDaddy’s WordPress Hot 100 for the past year, and Elegant Themes is a popular theme provider.)

Thinking about Elegant Themes got me thinking about elegance in the context of web development. And that got me thinking about the developer-client relationship (something we’ve been exploring on Agency Chat).

Cue subheading. 🙂

What’s an elegant experience like for clients?

I’m breaking it down into four touch points:

The first touch point is discovery.

That might be your social media updates, or your Upwork profile, or your website, or your business card. It’s that split-second impression you make before anything else is said.

The second touch point is investigative.

If the prospective client likes what they see — your style, your tone, your values — they may choose to go a step further. They’ll hit your site. They’ll see what you’re about.

And I think this is where a lot of people stop when they think about an elegant experience. “Ah, my site must be usable! It must look nice! I gotta have a great theme!”

Well, yes. That’s part of it. But that’s not all of it. Look at the content on your site. The text. The images. The video. Is it getting the job done?

Take a portfolio page, for example. Are you telling a story about each project you’ve worked on? Or is it just a name? Can visitors look at your work in detail? Or is it just a bunch of unclickable thumbnail images? Do you have testimonials from the clients you worked with? Or are you just talking about yourself?

Your site’s design might be beautiful. But that’s not all that prospective clients are looking for.

The third touch point is interactive.

Now the prospective client is ready to talk with you. So they hit your “Request a Quote” or “Contact Us” or “Get in Touch” or whatever-else-you-call-it page.

What’s on that page? Is it a generic contact form for them to fill out? Their name, their email address, their message?

Or are you using this page as an opportunity to start the discovery process?

I had a great conversation with an agency owner who created an automated flow in Gravity Forms. Using conditional logic and a lot of questions, she was getting prospective clients to flesh out their requirements in detail.

This approach provides value in a few different ways:

  • It provides value to the prospective client because they’re now thinking more deeply about their project.
  • It provides value to the agency/developer/designer because they’re not handling the initial Q&A (a potential time suck and eaten cost if the project goes nowhere).
  • And, lastly, it provides value to both parties by setting expectations. It’s like a safety buffer for qualifying each other. No money is on the line, no commitments have been made.

The fourth touch point is ongoing quality of life.

How do you present your proposals? How do you involve clients and communicate with them throughout the project? How do you stay in touch with clients after the project is over? What do your emails look like? Are they personal or sales-y?

All of the little things — holiday gifts, thank you notes, casual emails, lunch meetings, you name it — contribute to the overall quality of life.

Collectively, these four touch points help create an elegant client experience.

From the first impression to the ongoing relationship, an elegant experience requires more than aesthetics. It’s consistent attention to detail at all levels, creating value for everyone involved the entire way.

Note: This post is a response to WordPress.com’s The Daily Post prompt. You can find more of these posts via my “The Daily Post” tag. It’s a great way to get into a daily writing habit! Try it out yourself.

Photo credit: Thomas Martinsen via Unsplash

Audioblog 01: Continuing education vs. learning by doing

I spoke with Adam Warner a couple weeks ago about having podcasting as a “someday” item on my wishlist. My motivation was to learn more about working with audio. Adam’s reasoning for starting his podcast echoes some of my own curiosities about the medium.

Well, seeing as it’s after Labour Day, now seems like as good a time as any to start something new. 🙂 I’ll be experimenting with audioblogs as an excuse to fire up Adobe Audition.

First up: Elaborating on my comments about continuing education, from this week’s episode of Community Signal.


Image credit: Clem Onojeghuo via Unsplash