Next Door is a community portal to help neighbors stay engaged and informed about all things going on in the community. So I rejoiced when I got an invitation to join from my boyfriend (who I live with) and immediately clicked the sign up button. Little did I know that one click would lead to a lot of trouble.
I clicked to sign up in one swift motion. I looked around the portal and everything looked great. I closed the window and went on with my life.
The next day, my co-workers asked me,“Darling Miller?” (my boyfriend’s last name). I was surprised and asked them why they were asking me if I was Darling Miller. Much to my surprise, every single one of my co-workers had received an invitation from Next Door, namely by me, except my last name is not Miller, it’s Jimenez. I thought this was certainly just a silly mistake and decided I would resolve it later.
Much to my dismay, the "later" was not going to work. I started getting emails from friends asking me why I was inviting them to my neighborhood when they lived 5 states away! Followed by phone calls of curious people as to my sudden name change. It was, needless to say very annoying, but not annoying enough to make me run to investigate.
However, on my way home from work, came a call that made making the change a priority. It was my boyfriend’s mother with a disturbing question.
“Did you elope?” she asked in a very serious tone.
“What?” I said incredulous.
She angrily repeated her question, “Did you elope?”
“Oh my god, no, of course not, why would you think that?"
“Well I seem to have gotten an invitation from Darling Miller — not sure what it means?"
And there I went again explaining the whole Next Door ordeal for the 10th time. Ultimately, she seemed appeased and told me that I really scared her. Crisis mostly averted. When I arrived home I immediately took a look at the Next Door profile. Sure enough, Next Door had decided that because my boyfriend and I lived in the same household, we must have the same last name (they pulled my first name from Facebook). I tried to change the last name several times on their site, but unsuccessfully. Then I noticed a long list of all of my contacts (email and Facebook) and scheduled invitations to be sent out every week until they joined. I was, needless to say, furious.
I was in essence spamming my friends and annoying all of my contacts!
This I thought would be a great case study for user experience. This is what not to do. In today’s world people are constantly under attack, with information overload. It’s very important to bear in mind the user experience of your customers and make sure that you are giving them what they need and not in excess.
Most importantly, avoid violating your customers' and users' privacy. Ultimately, your online interactions with customers and potential customers set the tone for the relationship and create an environment of trust. Violating this silent agreement of trust can result in the end of a relationship altogether.
You should also make sure you deliver any offer or promise you make to your website visitor. Broken forms, undelivered offers, and a lack of communication when they have made a request will burn a lead very quickly.
Finally, behind every online interaction is an actual person. Keep the human side of the interaction human instead of sending out robotic emails to fulfill offers. Tell a joke, be engaging, or ask questions.
These will all make for a better user experience.