Risk in Being Precitable

Wow! What a day it has been. At times you stumble upon something, which…just end up filling such a huge gap…that you feel like taking leaps…and today was such day…

Carrying on the same…it’s been a long time, I wrote about UX and Predictability…this is in continuation of what we read earlier….

Let’s start with what are the underlying failures in Predictability:

Revealing the underlying causes of a failure in predictability.
  • Submerge yourself in the customer’s experience through a series of thorough contextual inquiries. Nothing beats true in situ (observing customers doing things in the field) feedback from people who are living it.
  • For longer processes, consider a diary study where real customers record their thoughts and feelings for you and report in regularly.
  • Consider secret shopping the experience yourself and documenting it as you go.
  • Map this data into an end-to-end journey and define the major phases with the smaller phases contained within them.
  • Note break points where customers expected something different than what they got.
Rinse and repeat with the business
  • Submerge yourself in the business process by following it from beginning to end.
  • Interview the key stakeholders to understand how this process came to be, and the reasons behind it.
  • Spend time with the employees who actually implement the process and document the ways that they enforce or deviate from it when necessary.
  • Map this data into a complete journey and define major phases with the smaller phases and tasks contained within each.
Along with Predictability comes the RISK:

The Risks of Predictability

There is very little in the design world where a “one size fits all” approach is best. Predictability as the basic design element of customer experience is no exception. It comes with a price tag, since there can be downsides when predictability is at the core of an experience.

Stifling innovation

Predictability can stifle innovation when standards aren’t questioned and progressed. This introduces your first risk. Before Apple introduced the iPod click wheel and iTunes, every MP3 player had the same user experience dating back to the VHS era. Would Apple have taken a leading position if the standard had prevailed and they never pioneered their new intuitive interaction and enhanced service offer?

Apple was able to be different without losing its competitiveness through introducing learnable interface and new service model that was significantly better than the standards at the time.

Now here is another element, the Predictability raises the concern for ‘Raising Expectations’
Raising expectations

A common example of this is timetables. If the timetable states the bus should be at your stop at 7:45am, even a 10-minute wait can feel excruciating. Yet, we all know that the bus timetable has factors beyond the control of the bus company. City Council in Queensland is moving away from timetables for high frequency buses to combat customers’ inevitable disappointment. Instead, these services are based on frequency and operating time, e.g., the service runs every five minutes between 7-9am and 4-6pm weekdays . This focuses the customer’s attention on the likely wait time, rather than on an exact minute of arrival.

For your Businesses:

Ask the right people

Start at your call center. When predictability breaks down your call center staff is the emergency crew that handles it.

  1. Have support staff track the number of calls for the process in question and the overall reason for the call:
    1. Customer didn’t understand the product functions or features.
    2. Customer didn’t understand the process.
    3. Customer had unrealistic expectations of time and number of steps.
    4. Customer was surprised by the bill, cost, or fees.
  2. If a large volume of support calls fit the above issues, then there is likely a predictability problem to be addressed.

Credits: UxMag


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