Archive for the ‘Customer Experience’ Category

Amazon redesigns My Account page

Sunday, October 26th, 2008 - Your Account.png
Amazon has been doing some tinkering again, this time to their Account page. This set of tweaks was long overdue. They didn’t change the functionality of the page; just its organization and readability. But I noticed, as I hit my account this morning for the first time in a while, that it made a big difference in the confidence I felt approaching the page that I was about to find what I was looking for.

Big results like that out of organizational changes are priceless. Studies I’ve done in the past have suggested that if the customer feels that she can easily find what she’s looking for in her account page or section, she’s more likely to visit that page more often with minor questions. But if that page or section is difficult to navigate, she will avoid it, will use customer support channels more frequently, and will generally feel less confident in the site as a service. Clearly this has tremendous implications to customer lifetime value, so from an ROI standpoint, the Amazon account page is probably well justified.

But I haven’t even told you my favorite part of the redesign, yet. It’s on the FAQ page they put together to explain where everything is and why they did it. In answer to the question “How did you decide on this design?” they provide this answer:

We consulted the foremost experts in the field: our customers.

Well played, Amazon. This customer appreciates the effort.

see also:
Amazon site redesign
Amazon email mishap - “please fill in”
Amazon cart “saved for later” items gone?
Update from

Six Easy Ways to Get Started in Behavioral Targeting

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I got email this morning from an editor at Circulation Management asking for clarification on some of the points from the presentation at the Circulation Management show in Chicago a few weeks ago, and since I was writing up some thoughts for her, I thought I’d put them here, too. Enjoy!

Behavioral Targeting: Six Easy Ways to Get Started

  1. Read your reports for meaningful segments

    Chances are, you’re already collecting data that, when analyzed and applied, could optimize customers’ experience as well as your revenues. Most analytics platforms can tell you about new vs. returning visitors, and can usually further break the latter group down into first-time buyers vs. repeat customers. Chances are also pretty good that each of these groups is behaving somewhat to very differently on your site, and if you don’t figure out what works best for each, you’re leaving money on the table.

    chart up and to right.png

  2. Traditional direct response tactics still work

    Behavioral targeting and marketing approaches are heavily borrowed from the domain of direct response. Meaningful segments, appealing offers, and consistent remarketing are all part of a well-rounded practice.

  3. Focus on your easy-to-segment audiences

    Sometimes you can spot a useful segment, but actually breaking it out for targeting purposes may be trickier than you expect. (Geotargeting falls into this category for many sites). Unless you’re a black belt behavioral marketer and there’s nowhere else to turn for optimization, you probably have lower-hanging opportunities to pursue. Think in terms of both providing the biggest returns and taking on the least daunting setup to find the hidden treasure on your site.

  4. Start wide and optimize campaigns

    It’s likely that you can realize substantial gains in your success metrics by thinking at a high level about audience characteristics, and then monitoring more granular groupings for meaningful patterns. Most of the groupings you follow in any given campaign won’t perform in a way that bears statistically significant differences to your control group, but the ones that stand out can always be segments in a future campaign.

  5. Match message with media and audience

    The beauty of online marketing is the wealth of data and control you can exercise over context. The content you display on your site and in your ad networks can be adjusted based on any number of factors. Look for opportunities to tighten your message and your call to action based on context.

  6. Test, test, test

    The key lesson in all of this is: it depends. It depends on your audience, it depends on your site, it depends on the time of day, the time of week, the time of year, and so on. The only way you’ll know what works for any given audience for any given situation is to test it. And test it, and test it again. Invest in a testing platform and process that provides you with the flexibility and the visibility to act quickly and learn quickly, and it will pay for itself many times over.

Update from

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

I got an email response from Amazon customer service:

Thank you for writing to us at

I’m sorry for the trouble you had with your shopping cart.

I’ve reported the problem, and our technical team is working on taking care of it right now.

Often these errors are corrected after only a short time, so please try again after two or three days.

I understand that this might be causing you lot of inconvenience. Please understand that we are doing our best to resolve this problem, but technical glitches cannot be predicted and at times it is unmanageable.

Thanks for your patience while we fix this problem and thank you for shopping at


Best regards,

Muzeeb Customer Service

Amazon cart “saved for later” items gone?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been using that “save for later” feature in my Amazon cart for years, and I frequently go back days or weeks later and purchase items I’ve set aside. One of the best reasons to do it that way is that Amazon provides messaging in the cart when an item’s price changes, whether it increases or decreases. So it’s a great way to check in on what items are on sale and go ahead and pick them up. But today when I logged in, my cart appeared to be empty.

I sent Amazon customer service an email about it, but I’m curious: does anyone else out there use that feature, and if so, is your cart empty too?

What gives? That’s a pretty jarring experience for me as a ridiculously loyal Amazon customer. If they’ve done away with it for whatever reason, I’m going to have to rethink my loyalty to their site.

Edit: See my update.

Customer experience done right (yes, even though it’s late)

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Yes, they screwed up by announcing they would take away the Profiles feature. But then, when it became clear that customers were upset with the announcement — and by upset, I mean ready to cancel their accounts — Netflix retracted their decision, and sent one of the best apology emails I’ve seen.

keeping Netflix Profiles.png

We Are Keeping Netflix Profiles

Dear Kate,

You spoke, and we listened. We are keeping Profiles. Thank you for all the calls and emails telling us how important Profiles are.

We are sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused. We hope the next time you hear from us we will delight, and not disappoint, you.

-Your friends at Netflix

Short and sweet, and to the point. “You spoke, and we listened.” That’s the essence of managing customer experience, even when it happens a little after it could have. Well done, Netflix.

Hiring! Spread the word far and wide.

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Tell your friends! Tell your enemies! Tell your cat! But be warned: this position reports to me, and it is well known that I am a hard-bitten meany-head.

Customer Experience Specialist

We know you’re out there: an excellent problem-solver, equal parts tech-savvy and marketing-minded, great attitude, maybe just a little too smart for your own good… and frustrated because there aren’t a whole lot of e-commerce jobs around Nashville. We understand – you haven’t had a lot of professional web experience. Sure you’ve built your own web site and you set up your own Wordpress blog, complete with every cool plugin you could find, and you know your way around Photoshop enough to have done your own graphics. You know a little something about usability, and you find yourself analyzing web sites and know how they could improve. But what employer would consider that relevant experience?

We feel your pain. And we have just the job for you.


When a $300 order is a potentially bad thing

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

I just had to renew Honey Bowtie’s subscription to Billboard and I did it, of course, on But that’s a $299 order (side note: yes, Billboard is a ridiculously expensive magazine, but it’s such a great way to follow a broad cross-section of the industry), and because I’m running several tests on the site that I don’t want to skew with such a huge order, I had to very carefully step around all the spots on the site that would have tracked me and added my purchase to test results.

I am such a geek.