How a single and tiny punctuation mark transformed customer experience.


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Punctuation marks are a common phenomenon in writing- more like the unique straight or overcast stitches, which holds together and garnishes the literary attire. These tiny but significant elements act like a concierge- by helping show a reader where a sentence starts and ends. Punctuation marks comprises of: full stop, comma, semicolon, colon, apostrophe, hyphen, brackets and a host of others. The presence of these marks, make reading and comprehension a lot easier but the absence of this on a particular occasion transformed my customer experience.

A few days ago I launched a new landing page vibevox, for a voice of customer platform that is currently in development. It took a few days for Google keyword research, logo design and conceptualisation; to craft the landing page- powered by Launchrock. The landing page went live by 2 am a few days ago; I was super excited and went to bed really pleased with my efforts. Before going to bed, I did send an instant message to a friend intimating him about the site. After a few hours ticked by, the alarm clock goes off- accompanied by a worse alarm, not the fire alarm, in case you are wondering. The alarm was an instant message from a friend saying the site was down. I panicked, as a chill of despair consumed my sense of reasoning. I quickly sent an email to my web host, citing the error 404 that was appearing on my landing page. They replied with a recommendation of some few ways of resolving the issue- tried these but to no avail. The page was intermittent, coming on for a brief moment every other hour. My customer experience was at an all time low as I had adhered to the outlined instructions from my web host. I watched a host of YouTube videos, addressing how to resolve similar issues- adjusted and tweaked the configuration, still fell at the feet of error 404.

I finally decided to resort to an online tech support chat, with the hostgator technical support assistant. Hoping this would be the climax of my customer experience journey, after a bumpy and foggy ride. Within a few minutes of investigating my web control panel, the tech support assistant wrote the best phrase every worried customer longs to hear- ‘Got it.’ He then further added that the problem was caused by a punctuation mark- full stop (.). This happens to be the tiniest punctuation mark but on this occasion it was a differentiator between a very satisfied customer to a disgruntled one. If you were wondering what category I was affiliated to, I would say between the former and the later- owing to the recent assurance from the tech support adviser. I was relieved that he had discovered the fault was a full stop (.), at the end of my domain name on the control panel. To be honest, I was not super confident that a tiny mark could distort a landing page- nonetheless, was advised to give it about three hours. I had no choice but to adhere to the instruction- countdown three hours, the site was back on and has never flickered for a fraction of a second. I was impressed and left a very good feedback on the hostgator feedback tool- sharing my utmost relief at the ease at which the technical support team resolved my humongous challenge.

John Wooden poignantly enthused, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” It is against this backdrop that I would like to state that companies striving to enhance her customer experience should acknowledge at times, the elements that put off customers may not be the large punctuation marks like question mark, exclamations, hyphen or brackets. In most cases, the granules or the minute elements like a full stop or dot, (figuratively speaking) might transform the customer experience. The other key element in this school of thought would be to know when to eliminate or include a granule or minute element- that could transform the experience. In my case, erasing the punctuation mark made the difference; another scenario including the punctuation mark or minute element might enhance the experience. Remember your company is like an article, your customers are the readers and the right application of punctuation marks would enhance their reading experience.

Dateme Tamuno
Dateme Tamuno (Tubotamuno) is currently working as part of the SEO and PPC delivery team for UK based digital agency, Cariad Marketing. He has also completed a book on user-generated content marketing.