Saturday, March 19, 2011

Creating a delightful customer experience with effective customer communications management.

When was the last time you had a “delightful customer experience”? Chances are good that a big part of your experience was created by a special “someone” who contributed that little something extra, without which, there wouldn’t have been a wonderful experience worth remembering. In today’s world of customer communications, the challenge is figuring out how to add that special “something” extra into the processes, designs, and technologies used to deliver relevant, impactful communications that delight the customer.
Fundamentally, the entire customer communications management process can be separated into two buckets. The technologies and the people. Or, said another way, the tools and the expertise; the bow and the archer, the kitchen and the cook, etc. Few of us would argue that Julia Childs easily created delightful customer experiences using some basic tools any of us could also pick up at a local grocer…a chicken, some herbs, and butter (and more butter). It was Julia’s expertise that made her meals quite different than anything you or I could possibly create.

Simply put expertise matters. And that’s wonderful news to anyone willing to invest their time and energy into building customer communications management skills that can help create more delightful customer communications experiences. One critical aspect of effective customer communications management that’s often overlooked is Information Design, which simply means making information easier for the intended audience to both understand and act upon.
Check out an article I wrote for the Insurance and Technology Magazine at:

Friday, January 28, 2011

ID Doc's comment on Plain English is greek to some

This article brings to light some of the problems and challenges with the understandability of financial documents. The new requirements while a good start as  plain language experts, Annetta Cheek and Joe Kimble have said, I would like to expand upon one area that Joe touched on. As an information design and clear communications expert, I employ plain language in all of my work (mostly financial statements and forms) but I need to stress the importance of other aspects of clear communications such as readable fonts, points sizes large enough, but not to large, for comfortable reading, proper use of white space within the document and a clear hierarchy of information. For example, text written in all capital letters has been proven to be hard to read and slows down the process of getting through a document. While underlining seems to be a way of emphasis, it dates back to typewriters when it was the main way stress important information. In today's world we can use other techniques like larger point sizes and bolding for emphasis. Besides, in today's world, underlining often means a link to another page in the internet. Another issue is the audience. For most documents, there are multiple audiences. The document should be able to comfortably address all audiences.