Great Customer Experience Made Easy

Getting customer experience (CX) right sounds terrifying, but it really doesn’t have to be.  I’d like to share a recent experience that shows how easily marketers can employ CX that truly engages and pleases the customer.  In this case, I am that customer.

Analyst firm Forrester has fostered a great conversation among marketers about CX. For the uninitiated, CX involves expanding the brand from a relatively simple platform for marketing communications to a theme that runs throughout every customer touchpoint.  Look at it this way, if your brand promotes fun, then the packaging should be fun, the people who pick the up the phone at the call center should be fun and the website ought to have some fun, too.

It sounds expensive and/or time-consuming, but Other World Computing (aka OWC and Macsales to its fans) manages to do so as a company with annual revenues around $100 million.  My recent experience with this retailer of Macintosh parts and accessories makes a great case study.

It started with a somewhat annoyed phone call.

Yesterday, I got their Holiday season catalog.

OWC_catalog

I’ve bought from OWC for years to keep my family’s fleet of Apple products in fighting trim.  I’ve bought RAM, an iPod battery and various other bits and bobs.  I’ve always appreciated their ability to make it easy for ham-handed mechanics like me to crack open cases, pull out what seem like vital organs and get the beasts back up and running better, faster, stronger.  Their website teems with simple configurators to find the right parts and how-to videos to make sure you put them in the right places.

As a result, the catalog didn’t come as a surprise, especially since they also send me weekly-ish emails on their new products and specials.  However, I try to limit the number of catalogs I get because TREES.

So I called them to ask them not to send the catalog anymore but to make sure I stayed on the email list.  A representative named Mike took my call and made the change right away.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

I got a confirmation email not from an autoresponder, but from Mike himself:

OWC_confirm


Thank you for your recent call to Other World Computing. I enjoyed speaking with you today.
I have included a brief summary of our discussion for your records:
Topic: Your mailing list removal request
Conclusion: I removed you from the catalog mailing list. If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to reply to this email, and I will be happy to assist you. Thank you once again for contacting OWC and have a wonderful day!
If you wish to contact us via Live Chat or phone please reference the ticket ID located in the subject of this email.  http://eshop.macsales.com/Service/contact/

Being the chatty sort I am, I replied that I really like the company but that I like trees, too.  To my surprise, I got a prompt reply, again from Mike:

OWC_follow-up

Here is a link to what behind our OWC building/campus here in Woodstock, IL: http://eshop.macsales.com/green/
Have a GREAT week, Ben!

And here’s where that link went:

 OWC_green

The page highlights the environmental features of their headquarters in Illinois (Woodstock, no less).

Now, while Mike may have been on the ball yesterday, I think OWC did some good CX thinking.  People unsubscribe from paper mail all the time.  Catalog Choice told CBS news that in 2011, they helped 1.3 million Americans stop 19 million pieces of direct mail.  And it’s a safe bet that many if not most of those Americans just wanted to save a few trees.

So I think that OWC put two (2) and two (2)  together (=4) and told their customer service staff to send any customers mentioning environmental concerns to the green page above.

And that’s how CX works.  OWC imagined a type of consumer (green-ish), a typical situation (please stop sending me paper) and developed a simple but effective customer experience.  Well done!

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