I recently dealt with a situation that made me think about how other processes that sit outside of your product can impact on a good user experience. The ideal user journey would be completed wholly within your product (and most will!) but sometimes users have to step outside of your control and speak to other parts of the business.
This is a story of how I tried to give my mobile provider money for a product and they ended up paying me £45. Imagine the losses that a company as large as mobile provider must incur because of situations like this. It’s crazy to think that their process of purchasing a product was so poor they had to compensate me for it.
I ran out of my mobile data allowance, so I decided to pay for a 1GB data add on to get me through the month. A promotional text that morning had said the purchase would include a bonus 2GB of data to use over the next 30 days – perfect!
✔ Timely and relevant promotions
After replying to the text to accept the offer, they replied to say ‘We are having trouble adding on the extra 2gb. Please call customer services.’
Sometimes there are technical mishaps, so I was happy to call up customer support to receive the deal.
I rang up and after some initial wrangling with their IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system, I was offered a callback when I had progressed to the top of the queue. This was a really nice feature as it meant I didn’t have to hold the line.
✔ Valuing the user’s time
The customer support agent told me they had no record of this free 2GB offer, and that he couldn’t apply it without evidence that I had actually received a text from them with this offer.
✘ Not trusting a long time customer
He said doing so could have cost him his job.
✘ Not empowering customer service staff
I offered to send him a screenshot of the message, but he directed me to the nearest physical store to show them the text in person. I’d be compensated for the inconvenience, he said, but it felt like a token gesture after a slap in the face.
✘ Not maintaining support through same channel
I explained the situation to the store assistant and before I had even finished I was being pitched a contract with more data for £25: £1 less than I was paying now, he said. This sent alarm bells ringing for me – my contract was for £22 a month!
He said that the text I had sent earlier that day was a change to my contract and that it was now ‘stuck’ on my account. I was furious that somehow the company’s process could allow you to make a decision like that which could have cost me £60 over the life of my contract just by texting 3 characters (1gb) to a number!
✘ Not being fully told what I was entering into via text
I immediately told him that I wanted to cancel this but he said he couldn’t do anything in store. All he could do was able to confirm that I had showed him the text that I had received and put a note on my account.
At this point I was a bit tired of dealing with the situation I had already been passed from telephone support to in-store support and now I was being told that I had to call back up again. However I persevered and called customer services once more.
After I explained the situation, the earlier phone call and what had happened in-store to the person on the phone she looked at the notes on my account and actually informed me that what the person had said in-store was untrue. I had actually just activated a ‘add on’ which could be turned off at any time. Looking back on the situation and the way he had told me it was clear he had lied to me in order to hard sell an upgrade to my contract which would have cost me more money.
✘ LYING TO A CUSTOMER
Fortunately for me the person on the phone spoke to her manager and offered me compensation for what I had gone through that day and told me that they would give me two months free on my contract. I had started the day trying to give them £6 and I ended up being refunded £45 and I even got the 3gb of extra data!
What does this mean for your product?
This experience has seriously damaged my opinion of the mobile phone provider and even though I have never had an issue with their service (i.e their product) I will think twice about continuing with them after my contract is up.
User journeys might start with your product, but a truly digital organisation looks at every aspect of the user journey. As an agile team you need to make sure you are taking all aspects of your user journey into account and speaking with the relevant teams.