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4 Ways You Can Give Your Clients a Better User Experience

User experience (UX) is about website usability, content readability, and design flow. It’s about delivering on promises and making it easy for web visitors to find the information they need and, if they choose, to order the product.

But, there’s another type of user experience that’s essential to your copywriting business. Some people value it higher than the quality of your copy.

It’s giving your client the best user experience when they work with you.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Oh, I’ve got that one covered.”

I thought I had client and customer UX handled, too.

After all, I grew up in a family business. Giving customers the best experience was our lead value. My dad expected it from his employees… including me, his 13-year-old son. So, I had it mastered from an early age, right?

Not really.

I thought I knew everything about giving my clients a great user experience. But, I discovered I had more to learn after purchasing a CPAP machine.

That’s an odd source for a professional copywriter to learn about UX principles, isn’t it?

Not really, when you consider, UX lessons come from anywhere and everywhere.

Here’s what happened…

A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with moderately severe sleep apnea. I needed a CPAP machine to help me breathe evenly throughout the night.

The CPAP I bought seemed to work fine. It hissed so loud, I nicknamed it Darth Vader. But, other than that, it did the job. I stopped snoring and didn’t feel tired all the time. Plus, I was protecting my heart from the damage sleep apnea can cause.

But then, Darth’s phone app stopped reporting my sleep quality stats. I went three months without a functioning app, all the while working with the company to get it fixed.

It took some time, but fix it they did, and I could monitor my progress again. I was good to go.

Except, I noticed my stat numbers weren’t so good. And, I was feeling tired again.

So, I called my sleep physician and asked him to adjust the CPAP’s settings by remote access, right from his office. A week later, the nurse confirmed the doctor had changed it, and I should be all set.

But I continued feeling tired. And the number of times I stopped breathing per hour was still high.

It turned out the machine was defective. But that wasn’t all. It also meant my doctor hadn’t been honest with me. It turned out my CPAP also had a faulty modem… there was no way my doctor could have adjusted it remotely!

My CPAP user experience was in a nosedive.

For a moment, it seemed like things would get better. The CPAP manufacturer replaced my machine under the factory warranty. Same model, but a brand-new machine. I also had a new sleep physician. At last, I could breathe easy.

But then came the recall.

The sound-proof insulation designed (unsuccessfully) to keep Darth Vader from hissing was also defective. It was disintegrating.

I didn’t know it, but it was gassing off fumes and throwing microparticles in my lungs all night long. The manufacturer issued a warning for possible serious health issues.

But, my new sleep doctor said to continue therapy. My sleep apnea was too severe to stop.

The manufacturer released a special announcement stating I could continue therapy, if I used an unheated air hose and a special bacterial filter. I ordered them. Finally, I had some assurance I’d be okay now.

Until I got another email from the CPAP manufacturer warning the new filter didn’t work as expected and to stop using it.

Things were getting ridiculous, and my health was at stake!

That’s when my user experience made a complete turn.

After the manufacturer assured me they would have a solution sometime within the next 12 months (!), I decided to buy a different CPAP model, even though my insurance wouldn’t cover it.

I made a call, purchased one, had it set up, and I’ve slept in silent bliss ever since. Plus, my stat numbers improved by as much as 1,290% over the Darth Vader model.

And, this story revealed several UX gems I’m now using to up my professional copywriting game.

I’ve packaged them in a tidy acronym coincidently termed, CPAP:

Make Your Client Comfortable.

The first email I got from CPAP maker #1 warned me about a national recall with their product. Another email cautioned against using their failed remedy. And, I received several updates stating they’d get around to my breathing safe again sometime within the next 12 months.

The only communications I received from this maker were unacceptable solutions, failing to fix the problems they created. And, something important was on the line… my health!

How did CPAP maker #2 do?

They sent me an email containing a phone number, an email address, and other helpful content within minutes of my purchase.

They made me feel very comfortable with my decision. I felt CPAP maker #2 had my back on this new therapy experience.

I adopted this immediate assurance strategy for my copywriting. You can create a similar email template for your next new client, too.

You might include methods to reach you:  text, cell phone, landline, email, or even social media.

Do you offer special extended hours for them as active clients? Can they call you anytime during an emergency? Do they need to know about any scheduled vacations?

It’s easy to start off your client relationship with comforting assurance and that will give your client a better user experience.

Here’s another gem…

Panic Isn’t the Answer in an Emergency.

CPAP maker #1 felt pressure to do something about a national recall. So, they announced I should use a bacterial filter and a different hose. The problem was, they panicked. They failed to prove it worked before announcing it as a solution.

The recalled remedy only added to the poor customer UX piling up.

The takeaway here is, if something goes wrong, don’t panic. Take a moment to think things through.

Sometimes marketing campaigns are complex. And, they may impact other campaigns or marketing materials already in use. Think carefully about how the strategy you’re creating goes together… and how it might change existing campaigns.

When you send your client a solution, you want them to know you’ve thought it through and that your solution is solid.

What else can we learn from this story?

Anticipate Your Client’s Needs.

Unlike the first company, CPAP maker #2 cheered me on. They sent an email after my first night of therapy congratulating me on using their machine and getting a good night’s sleep.

Besides the helpful daily email tips and tricks, they sent one email that shocked me… in a good way.

One night, I accidentally knocked the hose off while sleeping. The following morning, I found an email in my inbox suggesting several fixes to the problem.

What can we learn from CPAP maker #2?

They anticipated my needs. CPAP maker #2 recognized new patient concerns and predictable events, and had a plan in place to help should they arise.

A big concern for your client while working with you is how a project is progressing. There are deadlines to be met and other team members depending on that deadline.

You can anticipate their concerns, too.

You could send an email announcing when you plan to get started on their project. Then follow up when you do start. Maybe send progress reports each week. And a note when to expect the first draft.

Not only does this anticipate and address their concerns, but it tells them they chose an organized professional who follows a procedure.

Finally, there’s an Easter egg hidden in this story…

Protect Your Good Intentions.

If you recall, my sleep physician’s office was untruthful about adjusting the CPAP settings. Now, that unfortunate experience had nothing to do with the CPAP maker.

So, why does this doctor’s questionable actions reflect poorly on CPAP maker #1?

Because, it’s human nature to group related events surrounding one experience.

It’s why a patron considers a burned steak as a lousy dinner. Even though the vegetables, dessert, bread, and service might have been excellent.

So, fair or not, CPAP maker #1 suffered from the doctor’s choices, simply by association.

But, let’s give the doctor the benefit of the doubt for a moment. Maybe he told his nurse to call me and say he adjusted my CPAP settings, intending to do so during his next free moment.

But, after she called me, he discovered the CPAP couldn’t be adjusted remotely because of a faulty modem. Perhaps he made a note to follow up with me, but the note got lost in the shuffle of his busy office.

It sounds like a plausible scenario, doesn’t it?

Plausible, but not wise.

The takeaway here is to protect your good intentions. Stating you’ve done something for a client before doing it can backfire, no matter how certain you are you’ll get it done.

You can see the result here. I had a valid reason to distrust my doctor, so I found a new one.

This story is from my own life experience. I learned to provide comfort to my clients immediately after they’ve decided to hire me… to think things through carefully before submitting solutions (especially in the face of unexpected problems)… to anticipate their needs and questions and have a plan in place to answer them… and to protect my good intentions.

I’ll bet you have life experiences of your own that highlight important UX principles you can apply to working with clients or delivering a great experience to their customers.

I challenge you to watch for them in your daily life, then apply them to your professional copywriting career.

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Brad Dunse

3 Comments

  • Excellent article Brad, thanks.
    You’re spot on. If you make a mistake… own it, admit it, be honest. Say, “Sorry, I made a mistake. My fault, it won’t happen again.” That’s good UX.
    Yet so few people are willing to admit they made a mistake. This inevitably leads to misunderstandings, tension and ill-will… bad UX.
    Your CPAP/doctor experience certainly highlighted the stark contrast between creating your clients with contempt and treating them with respect.

  • Thanks Andrew. You got it. We’re respected more if we just own up to a mistake. Plus, it makes us feel good to fes up, too. The stark difference between these to CPAP companies is astounding, as are the useful lessons found in their difference.

  • Good article, Brad. Your experience highlights another point, as well… customer satisfaction is usually based on the overall experience (similar to total cost of ownership), not just initial price. Case in point: you had no problem paying out of pocket for a solution that worked well. Perhaps the insurance company went with a low cost provider. The lesson learned for copywriters: don’t lowball your fees, if you provide superior UX throughout your customer dealings.

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