August 4, 2014
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? If you add functionality to your site, you have to know what the customer expectation will be- and deliver on it. Getting it ALMOST right is the same as getting it wrong.
Here’s an example: one day, I was shopping on one of my favorite flash-sale sites- amazing brands and products at unusually great deals. What’s not to love? But there are so many items, and I have limited time and patience. That’s why I was so glad to see a refine-by-size feature that allows me to sort by just the product that would work for me- good! That’s a best practice, especially for a sale in which quantities are limited.
The rub? When the refine-by-size feature doesn’t deliver real-time information, it’s worse than having no refinements at all- because you’ve set my expectations for a personalized result, but then let me down on the delivery. Advice? Turn the refinements off until you can get it right. It’s not a value-add if it’s only right sometimes (like a faulty clock: it’s right at LEAST twice a day…).
I realize there are reasons these things happen- someone made a business decision based on a technical limitation or a tradeoff on site speed vs. accuracy…there are always drivers for things like this. But the bottom line is the customer experience you deliver. If you make a promise (showing a refinement by size)- then you have to deliver on it well or there’s no point. A bad experience actually detracts from the perception of your brand (they don’t deliver!). Customers will bail on your site a lot faster when frustrated with the functionality.
This is just one tiny example of the many decisions brands make every day that impact customer experience. Make sure you understand the impact when you make the business decision. If it’s not worth doing right- it may not be worth doing at all.