Ever since purchasing a Prius in 2005, I’ve been yammering to anyone who will listen about how the dashboard changed my driving behavior. For those without a Prius, you are able to see your current miles per gallon and the average mpg for the current tank with a simple glance.
For some, this has transformed average folks to drive bare foot so they can maximize their mpg. Those completely obsessed join hypermilerclubs. And people like me simply pay a lot more attention to my mpg every time I drive. It’s my own personal driving scoreboard, and, yes, I still get a charge out when I average more than 50 mpg for an entire tank.
The point of this post is not to pay myself on the back for buying a Prius (in truth, Jamie convinced me it was the right thing to do – plus its $21k out-the-door price appealed to my miser tendencies); instead, the Prius is a great example of the power of incorporating instant feedback in your product to drive desired behavior.
Some other examples that hit home:
LinkedIn profile completeness: While many companies do this, LinkedIn stands out to me by providing a constant reminder of what remains to be completed in the right corner of my LI profile. While I don’t believe it’s been used as such, this would be a nice way to introduce new features to the existing LI user base. Millions of amped up professionals around the world will react if you tell them they are not 100% . . . “what do you mean I’m only 85% complete – how can I fix it”?
Yahoo Mail storage: Back in the pre-gmail days when you had to pay for usage above 2 MB of storage, Yahoo displayed a color-coded gauge in the top right corner of your account. When you went over 80% the gauge’s color changed from green to orange. Not surprisingly, the conversion rate to the paid service skyrocketed when users went from 79% to 80%. And yes, switching the green-to-orange threshold from 80% to 75% was quite effective too.
Little League baseball: One of the 8 year olds on our team is having a hard time making contact with the ball. He is getting a lot of advice from his parents, the other coaches and players on what he is doing wrong. Since it’s coach pitch, and I’m the pitcher, I usually have their attention. The most important thing for him is to keep his eyes on the ball. Last night, before his first at bat, I told him to yell out “Hit” as loud as he could when he saw the ball hit the bat. He looked at me strangely as I am am usually telling the kids to keep quiet. Fortunately, it worked and he sported a huge grin when he ran down to first base after he hit it. He yelled “Hit” the next 2 times up and hit the ball hard each time for his best game this year.
Palo Alto utilities: Palo Alto lets me see how much water, electricity and gas I use each month with easy comparisons to the prior year’s usage. I keep track of this and use it to gauge the impact of adding new energy-friendly light bulbs. A good next step would be to alert me if my usage was +/- 25% from the previous period. I would have welcomed this when a slow leak resulted in a $750 water bill last January.
Building instant feedback into your product experience to drive desired use cases will not only increase user delight and the ensuing word-of-mouth spread, but it will also make your contact strategy more effective as your timely trigger email will have much higher conversion rates.
(bare feet photo courtesy of bark)
Written by Rich Pearson, Republished with Permission From Rich Pearson’s Posterous