Adding the Wow Factor

  |  November 9, 2012   |  Comments

If you don't have a wow factor, how do you expect to compete in a marketplace dominated by companies striving for something better than just the status quo?

Does your user experience have a wow factor? I don't care if you have a website, a mobile app, a mall kiosk, or a catalogue. In any of these channels you can have a wow factor. If you do, it will immediately make your brand stand out more and give you the extra push over your competitors you need to be remembered.

For example, I was in LA last week and my friends told me we should use "Uber" to get a car to drive us at night. I didn't know what Uber was, so they told me it was a car service app that made it easy to hire sedans (and other fancier cars) to pick you up. The service includes tips; you never exchange anything with the driver. He just picks you up and drops you off.

I honestly didn't think twice about this service after they mentioned it. After all, while harnessing the power of livery drivers in a major city is a great idea, it isn't one that really speaks to me as being innovative. Even after they told me they like the app because it told you how close the nearest driver was, I wasn't that impressed. Taxi dispatchers text you the same information. Sure, an app is sexier than a text, but it's the same technology at work, and it's been done before.

I signed up casually for the service in preparation of our night out. It needs a credit card for payment. That's when I was hit with a "wow" I wasn't expecting. Every app and every website eventually needs a credit card (or other form of payment). Uber, however, makes this really simple. It has an option that lets you hold your phone in front of your credit card. The app senses the credit card, automatically takes a photo of it, and then performs OCR on the card to get the numbers into the app without requiring you to type them.

As this is not a core function of the app (accepting payment is a means to an end, not the point), it was surprising that such time and money went into developing (or buying from a third party) the ability to OCR credit cards. In the case of Uber, it looks to me like it's using to do this credit card magic.

I have told a lot of my friends and colleagues about this part of the Uber application. It's funny because it's not technically something Uber built itself. But, it shows the company cared about user experience and is willing to pay the fees charges to add an ease-of-use to its app, and increase its app's wow factor. This makes Uber stand out in my mind far beyond the parts of the app that are actually custom-built.

It doesn't have to be a mobile app. You can add a wow factor to any channel. You just need to be willing to sit down and reimagine even the most basic parts of your user experience (such as entering a credit card).

Does your user experience have a wow factor? If not, how do you expect to compete in a marketplace dominated by companies striving for something better than just the status quo?

Until next time…

Wow image on home page via Shutterstock.



Jack Aaronson

Jack Aaronson, CEO of The Aaronson Group and corporate lecturer, is a sought-after expert on enhanced user experiences, customer conversion, retention, and loyalty. If only a small percentage of people who arrive at your home page transact with your company (and even fewer return to transact again), Jack and his company can help. He also publishes a newsletter about multichannel marketing, personalization, user experience, and other related issues. He has keynoted most major marketing conferences around the world and regularly speaks at and other major industry shows. You can learn more about Jack through his LinkedIn profile.

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