Content providers and retailers, your mobile websites are pissing me off.

some mobile websites are pissing me off

First let me say:

  1. I love technology.
  2. I love mobile technology.
  3. I love my smart phone.
  4. I MUST have the latest and greatest smart phone.
  5. I do most of my personal web browsing on some sort of mobile device.

The mobile web is here and everyone is getting in on it. Retailers and content providers are launching mobile enabled websites and mobile apps as fast as they can and some of them are pissing me off. Why? It is because of bad user interface and auto redirection. We web folks are getting way too smart for our britches. Below are just two examples of what is wrong with the way many are using the mobile web.

Scenario 1
I made an online purchase and received an email to track the package. I clicked the email on my phone. The website identified my device as a smart phone and directed me to the mobile web version of their site. They are so smart right? WRONG! The functionality to track the package wasn’t on the mobile site. There was no link to “Go to Full Website” so I got stuck in an endless loop. I’m pissed.

Scenario 2
I’m thinking of what to make for dinner. I get on my smart phone and Google a recipe I’d seen in a magazine. Google shows me exactly what I was looking for in the search results, so I click. I am auto redirected to the mobile versions homepage. Brilliant, eh? Nope, I never could get the content I wanted. I typed in the title of the recipe in the mobile search box and got no results.

I back out of the mobile site and click the next link, a newspaper I think. They also direct me to a mobile website homepage.

I end up going back to the original link, scrolling to the bottom, clicking “Full Version”, typing in the search terms AGAIN on their search. I’m pissed.

There Must Be a Better Way
I know that having a mobile site and app is the cool thing to do. I understand the mobile traffic is growing exponentially, so I know why these companies are launching the sites. I know it is difficult to build all the functionality and content that a full website has into a mobile site that is compatible with most devices. I know, I know, I know. I’m not asking for any of that. I am just asking for better thought when redirecting. Here’s a novel approach, try asking your visitors what they want to do. How smart would you seem if visitors got this message when browsing from a mobile device?

“We noticed you are browsing on a mobile device. Would you like to visit our mobile website or continue to our full site?”

Or how about something like this:

“The content you are requesting is not available on our mobile website; would you like to visit our full website?”

Get to the Point
I have a crazy fast smart phone with a huge screen and great browser. At home and at work I am connected over Wi-Fi and when I’m actually “mobile” I have either 3G or 4G speeds. I can view any content that is on the “full web” and THAT is what I want to do. Don’t force me to use your mobile website, especially if it doesn’t have all the functionality or content that I want.

OK. Deep breathe.

Vent over!

How do expectations affect our experiences?

In my last post, When your favorite brands fail you, how do you respond? What I was trying to point out is that if you expect more from a brand/company and they let you down, are you then in turn more let down? The very next day I came across a study by Dan Ariely in his book Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. I read about the specific study in Lifehacker’s article Budweiser, Balsamic Vinegar, and How Expectations Affect Our Views.

Terribly simplified here, in the study they offered samples of two beers, both Budweiser. One was a regular Budweiser and the other a Budweiser with a few drops of balsamic vinegar added and they give it a locally specific name. To one group they simply presented the samples and had them taste, to another group they actually told them one of the beers had balsamic in it. Once they finished the sample the tasters where given a choice of one free beer and they had to choose only one. The first group, which had no idea about the balsamic, chose the balsamic beer. The second group for the most part chose the beer without the balsamic.

I see this all the time. A perfect example for me is movies. Everyone watches movies. I know that if I go into a movie with high expectation, it might still be good, but if it is not great I’ll be let down. I go out to the movies VERY rarely, so when I do I have much higher expectations for that movie. If I buy a DVD, I have higher expectations then if it is on a movie channel.

You know you have been there. Your friends tell you, “Ahhh…you have to see this movie, it is the best”. Right? So you take a second mortgage on your home and take your significant other or friend to the theater to see it. What happens most times? FLOP! Not all the time but for me most of the time the movie can’t possible live up to the hype.

Case in point, the movie Tropic Thunder. If I recall correctly it didn’t do great in the theaters. With that brought a quick release to DVD, which we loved because it has a lot of actors that make us laugh. Ben Stiller, Robert Downey, Jr., Jack Black, Danny McBride amongst others. I happened across the DVD the first week it was out (on sale) and purchased it. We watched it that night…and HATED IT! We thought it was terrible. So a few months later I am flipping channels and there it is, Tropic Thunder. At the time I could find nothing better so I flipped it on…and laughed and laughed. Now whenever it is on, we are probably watching it. I know some movies grow on you but in this case it was totally my expectations and the situation that altered my experience.

My last post talked about how we raise our expectations for our favorite brands. In the study they are showing that expectation can positively and negatively effect our decision and experiences. Companies spend billions on acquiring and keeping happy customers. In my limited experience on this earth I have discovered that most people who talk about a brand or product are either really happy or really pissed. The customers that are so moved that they brag to friends and family are the best. But, how much goodwill must you build to get over that one failure and do raised expectations increases the risk of failure?

Someone out there must be smart enough to answer these questions.

What brands do you think provide the best customer service?

Good customer service is a necessity for all brands, whether you are a multinational conglomerate or freelancer. It can be the difference between a loyal customer who sings your praises and a bitter customer who complains how bad you are to anyone who will listen. More than ever before, with our hyper-connected society, where John Doe can have thousand of followers on Twitter, its import to make sure you are providing the best in customer care at every opportunity. (By the way, you can argue (hopefully elsewhere) the relevancy and reach of “social networks” like Twitter and Facebook, but they do have an undeniable effect on brands.)

Duhh…right? We all know customer service is important, so what’s my point? With everyone else creating their own awards (Addy’s, Shorty’s, Grammy’s, Golden Globe(y’s), etc), I thought I would start my own award. I give you the 1st Annual Rob Davis’s Favorite Customer Service Brands sponsored by web|aggression or RDF-CSB-SBW’s for short. Seriously though, below is a list of my favorite company’s that I have NEVER had a bad customer experience with.

THE BEST
USAA (www.usaa.com) – Provides insurance and financial services to military and their dependents. Hands down the best customer services I have ever experienced. I use almost every service then provide, so I would know.

Publix (www.publix.com) – My “everyday” grocery store found mostly in the southeast, I think. If you have been to one, you know why they are on this list.

[Oops, I can’t believe I forgot them, but I was reminded by a friend!]
Chick-fil-A (www.chick-fil-a.com) – The ONLY “fast food” restaurant we eat at. the food is awesome and it comes to you fast and with friendly service. If you don’t have a Chick-fil-A near by, I am sorry.

RUNNERS UP
Total Wine (www.totalwine.com) – Provides wine, beer and in some stores liquor. They give expert advice and recommendations on wine choices. Unlike most warehouse type retail stores, none of there sales people duck and dodge to avoid a customer in need.

Whole Foods (www.wholefoodsmarket.com) – Natural and organic grocery, focused on fresh and local products. Everyone there is always smiling, except the fish monger but he has a dry sense of humor. J

As I am made this list I realized that two of the four are grocery stores. I am a foodie and I suppose I shop there more then anywhere, but interesting none the less.

So, what are your favorite customer service brands and why?