The effect of delivering poor quality experiences

How does this manifest itself internally?

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten…”  

As I reflect more on this quote it strikes me as being equally true for both those on the receiving end of an experience, as it is for those delivering poor quality experiences. 

The double edge sword that is the MVP (minimal viable product) often leads to sub-standard, low quality experiences being released. This can often be down to the perceived subjectivity of what viable is, and also the decision being made from a technology and cost standpoint – rather than the integrity of the experience. 

Long term this comes back to bite an organisation. Benefits unrealised, too many bugs (blowing the total cost of ownership higher), rework required, introducing instability into the technology platform etc. It reduces trust in the delivery teams from stakeholders, and indeed those working to deliver these experiences feel short changed; demotivated for being unable to deliver anything of quality. 

Delivering poor experiences is not good for customers and not good for the business – we need to concentrate on delivering a quality baseline experience, and then, and only then, do we have permission to start to think about “surprise & delight” or introducing “value adding” features. 


On marrying quantitative and qualitative research


The focus in the commercial world on numbers breeds a huge bias in favour of quantitative research. One of the challenges with quantitative research is that it rarely answers the question ‘why’, and focuses on the ‘what’ (i.e. the ‘what happened?‘).


We, as customer/user experience professionals, need to balance this with qualitative research, focussing on uncovering the drivers of behaviour – why are people doing what they are doing? What goal are they trying to achieve? What Core Want are they trying to fulfil?


The ultimate goal should be to try and map our qualitative findings to quantitative measures – allowing us to tell the human story, but underpinned by quantitative measures.


The work that I have done mapping customer journeys, and experience mapping, has included a process whereby we identified key measures by which we relate qualitative findings to hard numbers – both outside-in, customer focussed (like satisfaction (a.k.a CSat), complaints etc.), and inside-out, business focussed (like trading data, conversion rate, ASP/AOV, returns etc.).


This allows you to both understand the psychological process that drives customer behaviour, and articulate it in a meaningful way that highlights and quantifies problems and opportunities.


As organisations become more customer centric, this, I believe, is a vital step – an organisation needs to understand customer behaviour and, importantly for the bottom line, understand where to invest in the customer journey to increase sales, loyalty and satisfaction.


Lessons UX can learn from viral advertising

Large websites spend a lot of money on online marketing. Millions upon millions spent on ad buys, keywords buying, affiliates etc. It’s primary purpose is to drive traffic to a site – lead generation, in sales speak. Sadly, and this is a topic for another time, a fraction of what is invested in getting people to a site is spent on making the site experience more enjoyable!

More and more, brands are investing in campaigns that will go viral – that will spread around the internet by word of mouth, and generate buzz, inbound links, and ultimately, sales. Some of these, as I’ll outline below, have been phenomenally successful at achieving these goals.

What is it that makes these so effective? I believe that it’s emotion. These campaigns reach out to you on an emotional level and engage with you that way. It makes people want to watch them again and again, and it makes them (to quote Seth Godin) remarkable – people want to remark on them, they want to talk about them and share them.

To me, I find that an incredibly compelling brand experience. Let’s have a look at some of the ads that make this emotional connection, and what the brand got out of it.


Cadbury Gorrila (2007)

  • 14.5 million youTube views
  • 53k youTube shares
  • 40k Facebook likes
  • 5% revenue growth in 2007


Old Spice Guy (2010)

  • 2 of the videos have over 25 million youTube views
  • @oldspice Twitter account has over 90,000 followers
  • Responded to tweets with personal video:

  • Most viewed youTube channel in July 2010
  • 1 million Facebook likes
  • 107% sales increase for body wash over July
  • 55% increase in sales over previous 3 months

Oh, and you know you’ve made it when Sesame Street parodies you!

This video: 6 million views / 232k shares / 460k Facebook likes


BlendTek (2007 – present)

  • 117 million youTube views
  • ” The campaign took off almost instantly. We have definitely felt an impact in sales. Will it Blend has had an amazing impact to our commercial and our retail products.”
  • BlendTek now has as many inbound links as Whirlpool


Evian Roller Babies (2009)

  • Over 60 million youTube views
  • #1 on youTube / #1 on viral video chart
  • Over 450,000 facebook fans
  • World record for most viewed online ad
  • Top of IAB viral ad chart / #3 on viral chart


T-Mobile Dance (2009)

  • 27.5 million youTube views
  • 143k youTube shares / 20k youTube comments
  • 220k Facebook likes
  • #1 on viral video chart
  • 22% sales uplift

The ‘making of’ t-mobile dance is also worth a watch:

This video: 2.3 million views / 7k youTube favourites


T-Mobile Welcome Back (2010)

I always get a tear in my eye when I watch that video. Without fail. That’s an incredible level of emotional engagement, which accounts for thees numbers:

  • 7.9 million youTube views
  • 132k Facebook shares
  • 13k tweets
  • 689 blog posts


Some of the numbers around these virals are incredible. What I don’t have it the number of inbound links they resulted in, but with that level on engagement (not just views, but like and shares) it would be another big number. The fact that BlendTek has more inbound links, on the back of the Will it Blend campaign speaks volumes. On top of these numbers is the brand presence and value increase that virals like these give.

These ads make you smile, make you laugh, and maybe even cry. They are fun, exciting and quirky. They concentrate on emotion, and they use that emotion of build engagement with their brand and product.

I work for a travel company, and this is exactly what travel brands need to do. Travel is fun and exciting, and travel is an emotional activity. We can share this emotion online, in the same way that these ads do. By sharing emotions we can engage with our customers in a more personal way.

This isn’t just travel specific. I believe that to truly engage with people, to truly engage with customers, we need to build an emotional relationship with them. This relationship then fosters brand loyalty and sales. The loyalty point is very important, as commercially, it’s far more expensive for a company to get a new customer, than it is to keep an existing one.

I believe that, as the people who create customers experiences, we should aim to create and craft emotional experiences for our users. Websites that excite people, apps that make people smile, experiences that delight. That’s my vision for the products that I have for the products that I’m working on now.

Naturally this can’t just be done on one channel – build emotional connections with customers has to be a cross-channel activity: online, in store, advertising, marketing etc. All of these need to be reaching out in the same way. By doing this brands move away from user experience at a channel level, to customer experience at a company level.

The final word has to go to the Old Spice guy!