A case study in customer-centric thinking

How one online company is embracing the customer experience to instill confidence, improve conversions, generate referrals, and retain customers.

Lately I’ve been studying some of the new models for promoting local businesses online … daily deal websites in particular. I signed up for Groupon and Juice In The City deals and have been researching the types of businesses that promote through them.

gophoto photo scanning serviceOne offer on Juice In The City caught my eye. It’s from a company called GoPhoto and they provide a photo scanning service.

It struck me because I had recently been attempting to scan several boxes of photos and negatives at home – I even bought a cheap negative scanner. The results were horrible and it was incredibly time consuming, but I had been reluctant to try a scanning service, fearing that I’d pay for scanning everything and only want to keep 20% of the images, or worse, they’d lose my precious photos.

In fact, anyone considering a photo scanning service is going to have some pretty deep rooted concerns, including:

  • Will my stuff get lost or damaged? It’s irreplaceable.
  • Will the quality be really good?
  • How will I find the time to sort through my boxes of random prints and negatives, and decide what’s worth scanning?
  • What if my old pictures just don’t look good? I’d prefer to not pay for them to be scanned, just to find out they couldn’t be salvaged.

I knew I was never going to be happy with the results from my little cheap negative scanner. So it was with a slightly skeptical air that I decided to research GoPhoto. What I learned convinced me to try the service, and even more interestingly the company serves as a model for how to do business online.

First Impressions

The GoPhoto site looks great, with a nice features/benefits list next to some sample photos. They state the price and mention the ability to share photos directly (I don’t use photo sharing stuff like this, however). More interestingly, the site does a really good job addressing the above concerns, right on the front page:

gophoto1

(click to enlarge)

Every customer’s main concern, of course, will be knowing how many photos they have, and therefore how much it’s going to cost. GoPhoto solves this in two very clever ways:

  • You don’t need to sort or count anything. Just pile it into a box and they will count the scans as they create them.
  • Amazingly, you don’t pay anything until after the scanning is complete. That’s right – just ship the box and pay later. Even though GoPhoto scans everything you send to them, you don’t need to pay for anything you don’t like or want. Delete the item and you won’t get charged (even though GoPhoto clearly took the time to scan it so you could make this decision).

User Experience

Once into the signup process I discovered how carefully these guys are thinking about the user experience.

They didn’t just take a crappy business model and bolt an AJAX UI onto it. They took the whole business first, and baked the user experience all the way through, which of course makes it very powerful. Everyone is going to recommend GoPhoto because the customer has been placed at the center of what they do. They are showing very high confidence that you’re going to love the scans – so much so that you don’t pay a dime until they’re done.

UPSThe signup process concludes with generating a UPS mailing label right from the website, which gives you a high level of confidence that the package will be safe. Even better, the moment you hand it over the counter at a UPS store, you’ll get an email from GoPhoto confirming each step of the delivery process. The level of detail is better than you’ll get from UPS themselves. It’s very comforting and you feel well taken care of.

A Smooth Delivery

Obviously your photos go into a queue and are worked on in turn (For me, the scanning process took a little more than a week). Once scanning is complete, you’ll get a notification and it’s time to visit the site and see those old memories.

The photos are organized into albums and there’s an easy way to review them. More importantly you can delete any images you don’t like – either because the original image was bad (out of focus, poor exposure, etc.) or just because you simply don’t want to keep it. You won’t get charged for that scan. You can also share the images direct from the GoPhoto interface via Twitter, Facebook and email.

The quality of the scans is excellent – far better than I was getting from my cheapo film scanner. The colors are not as rich as I get from my digital camera, but they’re a lot better than having the prints stuffed in a box where I never look at them.

Once you’re happy with everything just plug in the credit card number and your originals are returned with a DVD containing all the high resolution scans.

The Verdict

As an online marketing maven I was just delighted to see GoPhoto put so much care into the product. I wish more companies would embrace this type of thinking. It’s a bold move to ask the customer for payment only AFTER they like everything, but I’ll bet it dramatically pushes up conversion for this type of product.

And as a consumer I am thrilled with the scans … my wife loves to have those old memories resurrected from our boxes (and boxes) of ancient photos.

Learn more about customer engagement, personal identification, design convepts and ecommerce conversion by Market Motive’s Conversion Optimization Training.

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