Thursday, April 10, 2008

Microsoft makes good - A User Experience Story

So I started my day today by firing up my XBox 360 only to find 3 red blinking lights in the Ring of Light". Now, hardware is not my specialty, but I immediately knew this couldn't be a good sign. And, since I had my original XBox suffer a similar fate I was fairly irritated all day. Since I didn't have time to call customer support this morning, I had to wait til 10:45 at night to call about it. Of course I know it is a year and a half old so I am probably out of luck, but why not give it a shot?

So after a 10 minute phone call with an unusually helpful customer support tech, I was told that it is most likely a hardware failure but Microsoft is extending the warranty and fixing this kind of thing for free.

You could argue that, the thing shouldn't have broken in the first place and I would agree. But this post is more about how a user's perception of a product and a company can be influenced by all aspects of the user experience, not just the product itself. It isn't only about how easy it is to accomplish a task. It is about fulfilling users' needs. Usually these needs can easily be described as goals, such as "I want to play a game" or "I want to watch a DVD". However, there is another type of goal which is often forgotten since it isn't related to the task at hand. Regardless of the product in question, it is always a user goal to "not feel stupid". This type of "feeling" goal is important. In the case of Microsoft's XBox support "product", it is very important that the user not feel stupid or not feel unimportant.

If I look back at my experience, I very quickly went from feeling irritated and angry (when I thought I was gonna be screwed) to feeling very satisfied, despite the fact that I can't play my XBox for probably a couple of weeks.

So, kudos to Microsoft in this case... but don't think I'm not keeping an eye on you


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