Earlier this year my wife and I moved our banking to the NAB and I was exposed to a new network of ATM’s. The first time I withdrew cash from a NAB branded ATM, the machine (which looked like it came out with James Cook on the Endeavour) asked me if I’d like to nominate this as my ‘favourite transaction’.
I was hesitant yet intrigued enough to press ‘Yes’ and now every time I use the ATM it prompts me to use my favourite transaction or, if not, nominate a new one.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall the last time I withdrew the same amount of money from an ATM twice in a row. Maybe as a student living on International Roast and breakfast cereal my most common and certainly most frequent withdrawal was 1 x $20, but nowadays there’s no pattern at all and its highly unlikely there won’t be until I buy a set of bowls, don the whites and start drinking shandy’s during the meat raffles at my local bowlo every Wednesday afternoon.
This feature isn’t clever nor does it save time, especially when it’s delivered on a machine that’s as slow as a wet week. It’s actually quite annoying.
To be fair to the NAB, our experience as new customers has been very good. The staff in our local branch are exceptional and the on-line experience on par with other institutions I’ve banked with but the person in the Customer Delight department at Melbourne HQ who thought a ‘favourite transaction’ feature would position the bank as caring and innovative clearly doesn’t live in the real world.
User Interface (UI), User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX) have made their way to the top of the marketing buzzwords pyramid over the past few years. Everywhere I look there seems to be a new expert or consultant. There’s no doubt that defining the functionality and features of any digital application and the hardware that facilitates this is a science and, with technology permeating every aspect of our lives, screen time has become a critical aspect of almost everything we do. But these developments have to enhance any engagement or transaction or they can actually erode loyalty. Windows 10 isn’t going to bring down Microsoft but the majority of users seem to think it’s a stinker.
My mates and I were early adopters of on-line footy tipping and set up a competition on footytips.com.au in 1998. The founders sold to ESPN for a gazillion dollars a few years back who then promptly changed a perfectly good site into one that I find incredibly annoying every time I log-on. We all adapt and we all forgive (even us Gen Xer’s!) but I’m still struggling with that one because it was such a regression. Would I recommend footytips.com.au to anyone starting a competition today? I don’t think so, but a few years back I would have put on a ticker-tape parade for them if they’d asked!
In the past few months the SMH and AMP and just two websites I frequently visit that have changed their UI significantly and they are not in the minority. The fashion appears to be:
- More space – you can never have enough it seems
- More blue in various tones – see: ‘space’
- More photo overlays – see almost any new website, designed by anyone, anywhere in the past year.
- More quirky new San Serif typefaces (all the go atm – see what I did there?!)
Sure some of this imagery and workflow comes down to taste so achieving 100% user approval is difficult but I can’t help thinking that many UI decisions are made because they are on trend or are the result of ‘me too’ decision making rather than significant research and testing.
In fact a comprehensive British study undertaken in 2014 reported that while 78% of business executives agree that providing the best user experience is critical to the success of their company only 55% of businesses undertake any user experience testing. https://econsultancy.com/reports/user-experience-survey-report
And the UX isn’t necessarily confined to an online environment. Who hasn’t called a financial institution, telecoms provider or utility to be asked to undergo a “quick security check for verification purposes” at least two or three times during a single call while being shuffled between departments! Surely your ID check should follow you each time you are transferred? Can someone tell me why that can’t happen? To me, it says more about the company’s IT infrastructure and networks than their concern about identity theft.
Technology is meant to make our lives easier. It’s supposed to enable convenience and ensure peace of mind. To me, the most critical element to any digital interface or transaction is that it saves me time so if the ‘feature’ is not adding real value or saving me time – no matter how clever a designer thinks it is or how much the manager (or client) wants it included in the spec – it’s just window dressing.
When it comes to content and design, we encourage our clients to always think like their best customers not necessarily like the coolest kid in their first semesterIntroduction to Public Policy tutorial – the one with the disheveled hair, Joy Division t-shirt and illegal copy of American Psycho in their throw bag. Sure we all wanted to be just like them but life has proven they made as many mistakes as the rest of us.
If you’d like talk about how your marketing communications might be influencing the way your brand is perceived please visit our website (www.marketingsherpa.com.au) and leave a message or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org