In web development, we don’t talk about Customer Service; we speak of User Experience. After all, on a website, we’re not always there to guide a user’s hand so we want to make the experience as easy to understand as possible. But how many times do we see that in real life?
There is a myth that big box stores like Best Buy were destroyed by Amazon because people like the convenience of shopping online. That’s one reason. Another, less obvious reason Amazon won is because its user experience is much better. What people don’t talk about much when they mourn the loss of brick-and-mortar stores is that the user experience in them is terrible.
Instead of taking a look at their user experience, Best Buy has thrown everything else at the problem — adding more diverse inventory, pushing mobile phones, adding more and more customer service options. But at no time have they redesigned the experience of walking into one of their stores.
Apple took the physical user experience seriously when they designed the Apple store and it shows. There is a flow. There is an openness. There is a simplicity to all of their stores. From the floors to the tables to the products to the geniuses selling them, Apple is constantly tweaking details to make the user experience in the store better.
User experience is a far better ideal to focus on than customer service. After all, it doesn’t matter how polite and professional your employees are when the user experience is still terrible. We live in an era of choice. If my experience at one bank, bookstore, or smoothie place is bad, I just choose another to patronize.
Obviously, we want to be treated well at any of those places but if your experience is bad, do you return for the politeness?