Hello, I X U, Won’t you tell me your name?

This is a guest post by Peter Hesselink of SDL Content Management Technologies

You want to address visitors in a proper way. Preferably by calling them by their name, showing that you know them, make them feel welcome, indicate you want to have a dialogue with them.

Hello, I welcome you, won’t you tell me your name?

When people visit your site they remain anonymous until they ‘reveal’ themselves. Registering, logging in, etcetera. Until that time they stay visitors or even ‘strangers’.

Hello, I like you, won’t you tell me your name?

You can tell a lot about people by their behaviour, from their interaction with your website. And if you like what you are seeing, you really would like to get to know them personally. Maybe they are already known to you, your customer, but you don’t know that, are unaware of the fact or unable to ascertain.

They even may like you as well, and their ‘like’ makes it possible to reach them, but not at that moment, with a personalized message.

Hello, I know you, won’t you tell me your name?

This is what happens all the time: people revisit your website, which you (can) know thanks to the wonderful invention of cookies. The whole day a lot of UVO’s (Unidentified Visiting Objects – people, robots and crawlers) come to your website. And you know them, because you recognize them by their cookie or even IP address. You can even serve them personalized content, but still can not address them by their name. You do not really ‘know’ these unidentified individuals, these UVP’s who may be VIP’s to your company.

Now it can become embarrassing. You probably also have had the experience of meeting somebody who you have spoken to before, but cannot remember their name anymore, I have had these experiences … Because you met them in a different place, and/or long ago (your memory is not what it used to be anymore).

This can happen on your website: you know they are there, because they have (re-)registered or logged-in, or from previous behaviour or characteristics. But you do not ‘recognize’ them or show this by personalizing the website content.

This all can be caused due to the fact that information is being collected online, through the website, email, or other means, on different moments, stages and places in the customer journey. And stored in different systems and databases. The total system cannot ‘recollect’ it.

It becomes annoying when for instance a customer has to resubmit information which he or she has provided before. They become frustrated and dissatisfied.

Having to ask again … Or not knowing that it is the same person as the one already stored in your database …

A registration could do the trick, after having logged with their user name and password in you are better able to meet their expectations. Or by letting the customer provide unique, identifiable information, like a customer number or something alike. But this does not make it more (user) ‘friendly’.

Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?

That only works when you are somebody like Jim Morrison of the Doors …

Ambient recognition

Data is being collected at several touch points, moments, implicit and explicit (watch out for another post about implicit and explicit profiling) et cetera and stored in different systems, databases and so on. Having a ‘single view of the customer’ is a challenge. But customers expect that companies have this. They hate it when they have the idea that the company does not ‘know’ them, cannot recollect it.

From back in the days I was working at Acxiom Corporation here in The Netherlands I know the challenge in getting the right name and address information and getting it right (the area of DQM and MDM).

Recently I attended an event of the Dutch Dialogue Market Association, titled Data & Dialogue, chaired by Holger Wandt, principal advisor at Human Inference, an expert in the field of Data Quality and Integration (Gartner thinks so as well, named HI in their Magic Quadrant for data quality tools  as a visionary). We spoke afterwards about these challenges.

So how to achieve this? Well, by best combining ‘all worlds’. In a next post on www.EngagingTimes.com I will draw an outline of such a solution making use of Human Inference tools and the Tridion Ambient Data Framework (watch the video).

Usability Literature

As I was contemplating what to write in my first post, I started thinking of last Tuesday, when I was attending the Dutch data quality award ceremony in Amsterdam. A very interesting event, organized by the data quality committee of the DDMA ( Dutch Dialogue and Direct Marketing Association).

After a presentation by TomTom on sharing map information through a community, I participated in a kind of bizarre discussion on usability of data, the value of open source data quality communities and literature. This last discussion topic was triggered by the oftentimes enigmatic dialogue boxes in Windows; “Are you sure that you are certain that you want to quit this application?”

As the discussion continued I wondered how a more literary approach would enhance the value of user interfaces. Here’s an example (with gratitude to my good friend Cronopio):

If Shakespeare had been a GUI designer

Now that’s usability value!