Tag Archives: website feedback

The after-sales anti-complaints process

29 Jun

It’s a well known fact that us Brits hate to complain. Instead, we like to keep quiet, seethe internally, and then vote with our feet and never use the service again. But there are occasions where you know you need to complain to get something done about the poor experience you’ve had. You might need to get a refund, get an answer to a problem, or get someone to do something about your situation.

So you’re feeling angry, frustrated, and probably stressed that you now have another item to deal with on your growing to do list. Faced with the daunting task of having to contact a company to complain, the last thing you need is a tough time finding a way to complain. Enter the anti-complaint process. Where companies make it very hard for you to complain.

So how does a company employing the ‘anti-complaint process’ operate? It’s pretty simple really. The company offers several pathways which appear to lead you to somewhere to get help, but in reality they lead you to FAQs, a generic helpdesk email, or a generic phone number offering no option to speak with customer services or customer complaints.

The Comet complaints process

Consider the example I had recently where Comet had come to install a washing machine I purchased from them. During the installation a water pipe was damaged which caused a leak. We ended up with no running water (and no working washing machine). Naturally I wasn’t pleased so sought out a way to contact customer service or complaints on their website.

After finding a generic contact number to call I was routed through to the Installations team. Unfortunately they could not help me and said instead I would need to submit a complaint. I asked for the complaints team number but was told there wasn’t one and instead all complaints were done in a complaints section on the website.

 

 

Eventually I found an a way to enter a complaint but this was difficult to find as there was no ‘complaints’ section. It also gave very little confidence that the enquiry would be dealt with in a timely manner, or any information on what team the enquiry was even going to.

The Google Adwords complaints process

Another example I noticed recently was on the Google Adwords site. Our site was hacked and resulted in Google suspending our Adwords account until we cleared the problem and asked them to review. The process had taken 9 days with no feedback from Google so I wanted to escalate my issue to customer services or complaints to get a response. I called Google and was told that there was no customer services or customer complaints department to speak to, and again I had to complete the complaints form on the website.

Although I found the form eventually, had I not been told that there was a complaint form I would never have been able to find it.

In both examples the companies had made it difficult to make a complaint. It could be argued that they had simply prioritised other more common user journeys instead, however one of the common reasons to make contact with a company is to speak with customer services regarding a problem with an order or your account. In both examples these journeys were made difficult. Whether they were made deliberately difficult is up for debate. The sceptic in me believes they are: the harder it is to complain, the less complaints they receive, the less staff they need to deal with complaints, so the more money they save. But if they are by accident, it shows they place little value on the after sales customer experience.

Customers who have paid for a service should be happy with their experience. In our research we find that users place equal importance on the after sales experience as the pre-sales experience. When things go wrong, if customers are forced to work hard to even talk to someone they will feel cheated and unimportant. If a company is unable to allow users to speak to someone directly using a complaints number, then the least they should do is allow users to access complaints contact forms easily on their website.

The John Lewis complaints process

As you might imagine with their great reputation for customer service, John Lewis offer a very good example of how to do this properly.

 

 

 

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Damian Rees

About Damian Rees

Damian has worked as a usability and user experience consultant for over 13 years. He has worked in senior roles within companies like the BBC and National Air Traffic Services where he has researched and designed for users in a variety of different contexts including web applications, voice recognition, and air traffic control interfaces. Follow Damian on twitter @damianrees

Crazy Egg – Our Review

21 Feb

What is it?

Crazy Egg is an online tool that monitors individual pages from your website, giving you a breakdown of where different visitors have clicked and on which part of the screen. There is also some more basic analytics data available on which pages have been viewed most frequently, and where your visitors have come from using different visual displays.

All you have to do is insert a small bit of code into the html of the page you want it to monitor, and sit back and relax. The site does it all for you from then on providing live results as it tracks the progress and every click that visitors make on the chosen pages.
 

What are its advantages?

Simple steps to set it up. Probably the best advantage of Crazy Egg is that it’s easy to setup on any website providing you have access to the site’s code. In just three steps you can set up Crazy Egg to monitor as many pages of your site as you wish (With a free account you can monitor up to 4 pages. To monitor more you have to upgrade to a paid account but prices start at as low as $9 for 10 pages which is peanuts really).

Five different and interactive ways of viewing the results. Crazy Egg provides you with an array of different ways of viewing the results; each has their own uses and will cater to different peoples’ preferences of viewing information.

 

The four different visual views the Crazy Egg provides; (from left to right) heatmap,
scrollmap, confetti, overlay

 
Now all the different views certainly look eye catching and interesting, but the one that we think is the most informative and useful is the confetti visual which displays all the clicks in a colour coded fashion giving you the option to filter which clicks from which external sources you want to see displayed on the page. The other views certainly have their uses too and collectively provide back up evidence to support theories drawn from the overall information gathered. For example, the scroll map in conjunction with the heat or confetti map can give you a good gauge as to where the most focused part of the page is and whether users are clicking on your call to action buttons within those areas.

 

List view

The list view is the last of the different states and displays a table of the items
clicked on within the page

 
Exportable reports of your results. Crazy Egg allows you to export a report of your results which is good for sharing and bringing them to meetings. The different views also allow for an interesting display of information (not the normal pie or bar charts). A slight limitation of this however, is the fact that it merely exports a ‘screenshot’ of your snapshot in the visual that you viewing it in when you click export report.

Crazy Egg data can aid design decisions. The information that Crazy Egg provides about your website pages can prove helpful when discovering what elements of your website need to change – to be moved or altered aesthetically to enhance their use. As I mentioned earlier, the accuracy and specificity of Crazy Egg is really where its advantage over other analytic tools such as Google Analytics lies. In allowing you to see exactly where your users are trying to click, or more importantly where they aren’t trying to click, it allows you to make informed conclusions of where potential areas of improvement are within the site. Finding out what improvements, however, requires more research than Crazy Egg can provide.
 

What are its limitations?

Despite many claims it is not a usability tool. Don’t let the reviews fool you. It can be helpful in allowing you to spot a problem such as a button that does not get used, but it doesn’t give you any other information as to why people aren’t clicking on that button. You can make assumptions from the data that Crazy Egg gives you but each assumption you make could create yet another problem. Still, once the problem is spotted, these questions can easily be resolved by investing in a proper usability test of the site.

The confetti visitor box doesn’t move off the snapshot. When viewing the confetti results there is a little black box that lists the different visitor information for you in one area. However, the box is within the captured shot or ‘screenshot’ of your page, and so at no point can you see the whole page on its own. I realise you can minimise the box but even then I found it distracting. This might just be a pernickety personal irritation but I found it quite frustrating when trying to see the spread of clicks across the page.

 

The information on each type of visitor is displayed in the box above which cannot leave the screen

 
You can only compare two ‘snapshots’ via the heatmap view. Crazy Egg allows you to compare two or more page results within the site; though you can only compare them within the heatmap view. This can become tiresome especially if you wanted to see the comparison of specific clicks between pages.
 

The comparison feature on Crazy Egg only allows for a comparison of the heatmap view

 

When we recommend using it

We would recommend using it if you want to gain an insight into what your users are doing, in a very basic form, when they come onto your site – i.e. what links are being used and which seem to be ignored. This can help in making design decisions to improve your users’ interactions with your site. However each of these decisions still includes a large element of guess work which is why user testing is always a thorough technique to be used in conjunction with site analytics to ensure that you know exactly what needs to be changed, why, and what it needs to be changed to.

 

 

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Samantha Harvey

About Samantha Harvey

Sam recently graduated from Visual Communication. She joined our team in April 2011 and has been conducting user research and has been making sure our user interfaces follow good design principles. She's keen to point out our poor selection of fonts... er I mean typography (sorry Sam). Follow Samantha on twitter @samharvey_ux

TheClickTest.com – Our review

11 Nov

What is it?

The Click Test is a simple and quick test that allows you to upload an image (that image can contain one or two versions of a design for viewers to choose from) and ask the viewer a question which can be answered by them clicking on a certain part of the design. It’s part of a suite of tools offered by the UsabilityHub (we’ll review the other tools later).

A good example for how theclicktest.com would work is if you were to upload a screenshot of a homepage you are designing and asking the viewer to click on where they think they would find the contact details. You don’t have to just use it for web designs though, in the example below it is being used to determine which picture the majority thinks best represents the description.
 

Example of theclicktest.com

A screenshot of the tool in action where users are invited to click the option they feel works best

 

What are the advantages of using theclicktest.com?

The clicktest.com is simple and can be very useful when trying to answer basic questions about interface design. If you need a quick response to confirm a suspicion then the click test only takes a minute to load and is free if you collect ‘Karma points’ by completing a few of the other tests that members have uploaded i.e. you complete 2 random Click Tests on the site you earn 2 Karma points, which in turn allows you to have 2 people take your test. For those of us in a hurry, or who need a large amount of people to fill out the tests, there is also the option to purchase karma points or to simply email a URL to existing contacts.

The results start being collected instantly and due to the popular nature of the site and the random order tests are given to viewers, you are bound to start collecting results within the hour. Every time we have used the Click Test we have only had to wait a day to collect the desired amount of results we wanted.

The results come in three different forms; a plasma map, heat map, and a click map;
 

Snapshot of the result maps

A snapshot of the results for choosing a colour scheme (plasma, heat, & click test from left to right)

 
We found the click map the most useful as it shows clearly how many people clicked on what graph (in the above example), nonetheless the other maps are visually pleasing and with a higher volume of participants and a different sort of test could prove just as useful!

What are the limitations of using theclicktest.com?

Questions that are more complex might not be as reliable, as the tests are meant to be quick, and determining how much time someone spent reading the question and thinking about the answer is near impossible. This brings me to the main problem that the click test has, and in fact all small, short tests online. You cannot tell whether the answers you are being given are true as people may be participating in the test to earn Karma points and so not really taking notice of the test questions and just clicking anywhere to complete it.

Another issue that comes with allowing anyone to partake in your test is that other than people you can recruit yourself, you do not know whose opinion you are taking note of which may be detrimental to your design.

In addition, the tool only records one click, the last click a viewer makes on the page before finishing. This means the questions are limited as you need to only have one answer in order for the test to work. We found this out the hard way by uploading a test that required the viewer to click on the ‘two best colour schemes’. However when we checked to see how the results were doing we discovered that only one click had been recorded for each individual who had participated.

When should I use it?

So far we’ve found it to be a useful tool to get opinions on basic design elements such as colour scheme choice and chart style. But we haven’t relied upon this data alone. We’ve used it to guide decisions, and have then followed up with face to face user feedback before making a final call. By all means use it to test web designs and guide any other design decisions that will fit into a one click answer question, but don’t let it be the only result that you use to make a final decision.

If you can think of anything else you would like us to cover in future reviews please get in touch!

 

 

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Samantha Harvey

About Samantha Harvey

Sam recently graduated from Visual Communication. She joined our team in April 2011 and has been conducting user research and has been making sure our user interfaces follow good design principles. She's keen to point out our poor selection of fonts... er I mean typography (sorry Sam). Follow Samantha on twitter @samharvey_ux

How to deal with opinions about your website

3 Feb

Asking people what they think about your website can be a big mistake. Initially the opinions from the people you respect or from your customers appear to be really useful until you start to see that few people agree and most opinions contradict each other.

It is important to remember that getting people’s opinions do not reflect reality. Ultimately what people say they do, what they say they like or dislike, or what they say will influence them may not be true when they’re actually sat in front of a website using it to solve a problem. In our research with users, we’ve seen many people tell us they only use websites in a certain way, only to see them completely contradict themselves when they come to use a websites to complete a task. Often what influences us is not processed at a conscious level, so as humans we can be quite unreliable when predicting future behaviour or explaining our previous behaviour.

If you want to know how to improve your website there is no substitute for seeing real customers using your site. And when it comes to improving your website, focus on the logical factors rather than the emotive opinions.

There are of course times when you don’t ask for opinions but you receive feedback from friends, colleagues, customers, and peers. When you receive an opinion or comment about your site try not to engage with it emotionally, instead look at whether it is positive or negative and whether the opinion has valid reasons or justifications.

To help, use our categories below to determine what to do with any feedback you receive about your website:

Positive comment with no justification – This is the type of opinion you get from your Mum. They are saying nice things but it’s not anything meaningful to help you improve your website


Positive comment with good justification – This is useful. Think of what actions you have taken on the site to lead to this opinion and consider how you can maintain and transfer it to other areas of the site


Negative comment with good justification – This is useful. Think of what the likely causes are for this comment and investigate it further. If you receive similar comments over time start looking at your site analytics for possible trends and tell the person responsible for user experience to include this in the next usability test.


Negative comment with no justification – This is the type of comment you might get from someone who wants a reaction out of you. Typically this comes from a negative frame of mind and is unhelpful.

Opinions about your website are rarely helpful in helping you make improvements. When you do receive comments take time to strip them of their emotion and consider if they have real validity. Only when you have a number of comments highlighting a theme should you consider investigating further.

How do you deal with opinions about your website?

 

 

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Damian Rees

About Damian Rees

Damian has worked as a usability and user experience consultant for over 13 years. He has worked in senior roles within companies like the BBC and National Air Traffic Services where he has researched and designed for users in a variety of different contexts including web applications, voice recognition, and air traffic control interfaces. Follow Damian on twitter @damianrees