Whether it’s a weird online sign-up process or an incomprehensible set of instructions to put together a piece of furniture, we all know what it’s like when the creator of an experience hasn’t thought through every single step, hasn’t communicated it correctly or just flat out has it wrong. It’s frustrating, confusing and at least personally, makes me think less of the brand. That’s why spending time to craft every consumer touchpoint throughout your experience is so important.
In a simple-to-fix example, I recently tried to log onto my Clear account to stop automatic renewal since I now have TSA Pre-Check. I’ve probably only logged on once, ever, so of course guessing my password didn’t go well. There was a reset link, so great. Step one: check. But then it went downhill. They asked for my email and birthday. I know I’m old, but my date apparently broke their system. I got “Argument cannot be null.” as a response. Huh? There was no link for more help and refreshing the page, clearing cookies, etc. didn’t seem to help.
So, I bailed (annoyed) and hoped my credit card wasn’t going to be charged the renewal fee that day. Looking back, it was probably a technical issue, but one that could easily have been fixed with more user-friendly copy in place to give members a better idea of why their input isn’t working and how to get the help they need.
In a more complex example, I recently returned some patio lights to Crate and Barrel. It had literally had been about two weeks with no communication, which just feels unusual in the era of Amazon when your refund hits your credit card practically the minute you leave the UPS store. I finally got an email titled “Your Receipt for Order #xxxxxxxxx.” Again, huh?
The attached receipt was equally unclear as to whether I was being charged or credited for something — and good thing I’d only returned one item, since there wasn’t even any description. I get that in a large, complex retail organization, there are different teams creating website or in-store experiences, versus warehouse functions like shipping and returns. But they all should work together and all feel on brand and communicate clearly what is happening at each point in the sales cycle. I want to feel just as warm and fuzzy about my returns as I do about my shopping experience.
So how do you do it? Planning. It seems obvious, but mapping out each step of an experience is a critical part of any multi-step process, as is developing the copy, visuals or other assets that make sense and resonate for each step. Yalo recently developed a multi-part game for Star2Star’s sales team that helped them engage prospects. It included emails, a mailer and an in-person step that relied on interaction with a website. Before building any part of it, we mapped out what would happen during each step and what content or assets we would need for each one. Because of good planning, execution was seamless and the reps were easily able to engage in a fun, multi-touchpoint experience with their contacts. The program generated 200 meetings within a month. See some of how we did it in the process map below and check out the case study for details.