All posts in UXP

Just Fab? Or Fabulously Awful Customer Practices?

Just-Fab-ScamIf you are a girly girl like I am, chances are you’ve seen the Just Fab and Fabletics ads as you wander around the internet, offering really cute stuff for a fairly cheap price… pretty much the way to stop any card-carrying fashionista on a limited budget in her tracks.

Well, after ignoring these ads for months, this past week I got a wild hair and wound up setting up an account at Just Fab to buy a $9.95 pair of precious over-the-knee boots, in sort of a “I am a Girl!!!” moment to counterbalance the 85% athletic/triathlon/cycling gear my money is spent on these days, which is what I also mostly wear. The thing about swimming, biking and running is you must always be dressed for these occasions – such a pain!!

So I was excited, and shared this fabulous deal on Facebook. By signing up to get these boots for so cheap, I had committed to a VIP membership, which means that the 1st-5th of every month they send me a personalized “boutique” of items they feel are suited to my tastes, and I can select from those or find something else to buy for $39.95 a month (shipping is free over $39 so most months you should be able to get something for that amount.) Fabletics, owned in part by Kate Hudson, the actress, operates the same way but I think the monthly amount might be different. Fabletics features exercise gear supposedly on a par with the super-expensive and elite Lululemon but I can assure you the design is not the same.

Should a $39.95 a month subscription throw people off, the Just Fab site promises that you can “Skip this Month” and pay nothing, or cancel your account at any time. So…. nothing to worry about, right?? They have, at first glance, made this whole deal sound pretty good.

But………. don’t get excited just yet. A friend showed up on my Facebook post with a warning as she too, had tried Just Fab and found the quality of her order kind of cheap, but the bigger problem was it took a ton of effort to cancel. She waited on hold on the phone forever with no results (that’s right – no way to cancel online) and finally resorted to simply not updating her CC when the bank issued a new one so her membership fee would just bounce and they would finally get the hint. So that made me nervous and I did a little Google search. WOW. I should have done that FIRST.

Consumer Affairs lists 1648 complaints and reviews for them and the complaints all center around a) not knowing the user would be billed by default monthly… they disclose this pretty well so people just must not have read at all and b) hanging on hold with no one ever answering their call so they could cancel. TechCrunch said their checkout tactics are shady. Valleywag over at Gawker calls them “the biggest scam in online fashion.” And Literally Darling (fun blog) describes a gigantic cluster situation where ultimately she lost money with Just Fab because of system glitches and non-caring, non-listening customer support personnel.

I’m so glad they have my credit card number. Sigh.

So I kind of freaked out and decided to try to pull out before even beginning. That has gone nowhere. After several automated emails saying a fashion stylist would contact me, she showed up, answered my support email with a non-answer and when I wrote back and asked her to answer the question (and not ship my first order and cancel me altogether) she did not respond again. And the shoes have now been billed to me.

So I am going to follow this through as a user experiment, not that we don’t know where it’s going. Those damn $10 boots better be FABULOUS! Here is your user experience lesson for the day, retailers and commerce sellers. Take it to heart because though you may get away with shoddy, underhanded practices initially, ultimately you will bankrupt the company and it will be you, flinging yourself off the ledge.

Retailers, it is not enough to offer cheap, cute, whatever products that customers want. You must follow through with reasonable processes and practices and the Golden Rule perpetually applies… treat customers as you want to be treated, and you can hardly go wrong.

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The Most Gorgeous Website You Will See Today: Fuel America

Coffee bags that resemble old motor oil cans, Americana flavoring, and as the designer quips “Coffee for yer Pops.” Fuel America is the brainchild of Commoner, Inc., a Boston-based identity studio that makes logos and trademarks fun again. You could get lost for a while in their Dribbble account, but I recommend it highly. But let’s focus on this one brand identity for a moment, because it’s loaded with great inspiration and solid branding lessons.

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First Impression: Marie Catrib’s Restaurant Website & Online Bakery

The moment I stumbled across Marie Catrib’s, I was delighted. When a website design gives you that “claps hands like seal” feeling, you know something awesome went into the making of it.

Continue reading for user experience perspectives, photography points and an assessment of the company’s social presence and integration into the business of this unique restaurant in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Customer Service via Social Media… How’s That Working for You?

There is a real disconnect between genuine customer service and social media accounts online for the purpose of providing customer service, and it is almost never the fault of the staff running the social accounts.

Brian Solis and the folks over at Pivot have compiled an infographic and data on the stark reality of customer service satisfaction in this age of social media. In Brian’s words, “The challenge for change agents and internal champions is about moving businesses from #lipservice to #customerservice.”

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Beyond Marketing: How Social Media Can Help Companies Save Money, Keep Customers Satisfied and Gain Access to Fast Information

This post was written by Lisa Qualls a while back and not published. Some great points here about looking beyond the SM ROI of marketing efforts and realizing how social media can yield many other benefits inside your companies and organizations.

Leads, sales, and new revenue get most of the headlines when discussing ROI or why you should take advantage of social media platforms. However, cost reductions need to be considered as well when figuring/estimating time spent, as well as customer retention. Social media introduces new possibilities to traditional business practices such as customer care/service, research and development (R&D) and internal communications. These may not be as “sexy” as marketing and sales but anyone of them can be the Achilles heel to even the strongest of companies.

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User Experience Activities for Ecommerce & Software

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Reposted July 2, 2012 as this is applicable to an upcoming post on user experience and influence – watch for it this week!

In an effort to better communicate what we do for clients, I’ve created two PDF documents that describe the various user experience activities that take place on an ecommerce or software design project.

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Does Your Brand Need a Makeover?

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Yesterday and this morning I spent some time giving the online presence for our social media product, Intefy, a summer makeover on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve also recently redesigned the Fresh ID branding (you may have seen our Facebook presence with our new Freshopolis branding, or new business cards & brochures (we are working on finishing the site redesign and other things also) and I wanted to take a moment and talk about why this is so important, especially for smaller brands.

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Be Honest: Do You Provide Customer Service, or an Endless Loop of Hoop-Jumping Hell?

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I am about to relate a true story. I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences and I’d love to hear about them in the comments. Names will not be changed to protect the guilty, so reveal away.

I have Time Warner Cable at my city house. I originally signed up for just the Internet, and when I did there were some options for TV of either 29.99 or 39.99 (or maybe both, unsure) for a digital package that has mostly filler stations and no movie channels. (My country house cable is much better, we get 1 HBO, 1 Showtime and 1 Cinemax at least.) I decided not to sign up for the Cable TV after all because I don’t like much that’s on TV and am used to using my Roku/Netflix on nights when I feel I must have non-internet entertainment. I am usually only in the city Monday thru Thursday nights, so I see TV on weekends.

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To Answer or Not to Answer… That is Apparently the Question for Some Businesses Online

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So this morning I had kind of an interesting, annoying, local small business fail. I’m in the country for the weekend – many of you know I live in KC and Garnett, which is a rural Kansas town of about 3500 people and about 20,000 cows. My mother is here for Mother’s Day and there is a surprisingly attractive spot here that serves brunch on weekends. (A miracle in a town this size.) So on Facebook, which is where they are, I asked them if they’re open on Mother’s Day for brunch… pretty much a very basic, yes or no type of question that can be easily answered.

They Liked it.

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Are You Checking Out When Designing Checkout Online?

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This is an awesome video, shared by our friend Mr. Blanchard via Facebook the other day. If you own an ecommerce site or business, you need to watch this and realize that pure and utter disgust happens even faster on your own sites if the buying experience is not efficient, non-painful or the best case scenario: surprisingly delightful in comparison to other online purchasing experiences.

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5 Lessons for Optimizing Your Facebook Timeline Page

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The change to a forced Timeline display for all Facebook pages at the end of this week (March 30th!) has many of us scrambling to make sure our Pages look good in this new view. Here are some things I’m learning that might help you make your Page as appealing as possible given the constraints and limitations of forcing your content into a “timeline”.

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Should You Try Using Different Words to Tell Your Story?

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This simple, but poignant video might help you think of new things to try and do for your business if you’ll sit back and think about where you could say things another way, or give your customers the unexpected.

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Brands of Any Kind: Do You REALLY Know Why People Follow Your Social Media Accounts?

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I read a very interesting article called CMOs Need to Change How They Communicate to Their Fans in 2012, that is worth a look. In a survey of consumers and marketers, the expectations were not aligned regarding the reason someone “Likes” a brand on Facebook. The most glaring gap is in the questions shown below:

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