Ian Lurie // Jul 19 2004
Ever had a miserable customer experience, but walked away smiling? The lousy dinner that was followed up with free dessert? The terrible phone service compensated by two months free? How about a free First Class upgrade after your flight was delayed?
Why did you walk away happy? The meal sucked. The phone company drove you nuts. And you got to your destination 9 hours late, after eating lousy terminal food. You walked away happy because someone said, “We’re very sorry, and here’s how we’re going to make up for it.” They showed a little respect, and yah, they bribed you.
You can do the same thing on your web site, through a technique called Contingency Design – the Zen art of admitting things will go wrong, and figuring out how to apologize, in advance. Contingency design is essential to good Conversation Marketing. Because no web interaction can be perfect, and it’s up to you to help your audience past conversation stoppers.
Here are a couple of examples:
In both cases, a little forethought helps the visitor find their way past those inevitable little mishaps, and respects their interest in your message.
Good contingency design means always having to say your sorry, but never having to say ‘see you later’. If you want to learn more about contingency design, check out Defensive Design for the Web. It’s a definitive work on the subject.
Ian Lurie is founder and CEO of Portent Inc., an internet marketing agency that has provided internet marketing, including PPC, SEO, social and analytics services, since 1995. Read More