Know your customers. This is a golden rule of digital marketing (or really any marketing). But what to do if you rarely have the opportunity for one-on-one interaction with your users?
Natural Intelligence uses intent marketing to interpret what internet users are looking for when they type in a search query. Natural Intelligence’s Top10.com comparison websites help consumers compare products and services from loans to mattresses to DNA kits.
When a user emailed Natural Intelligence subsidiary Cappsool, it presented the company with a unique learning opportunity – and, as it turns out, the chance to do a good deed.
Annie’s Cry for Help
Natural Intelligence and Cappsool operate dozens of comparison websites, including one for meal delivery companies. On November 12, 2018, Bronx resident Annie Thomas (not her real name) emailed Cappsool under the subject line “Please help me”.
Annie wrote, “I am humbly writing to you and your company to ask if you can please bless me and my two daughters with your delicious and healthy meal products. My two daughters are absolutely wonderful; they are intelligent, motivated, ambitious, hardworking, caring, giving, and they have big dreams. However; due to my lack of finance for the time being, I cannot afford to buy the things that my daughters need, nor surprise them with those things that I know they desire and would like. I have been applying for jobs, but I have not received any response yet.
She continued, “I remain hopeful; but I am writing, because Thanksgiving is in a few days, and I do not have food to make my daughters a holiday meal.”
“I would really like to bless my daughters, and I know that they would be humbly ecstatic to receive products from your company. Please understand; my family and I do not receive any government assistance, nor any other type of aid. I would appreciate your generous kindness.”
Staff Rally Around to Find a Solution for Annie
Cappsool has a website that matches consumers with meal delivery companies, like Sun Basket, HelloFresh and Green Chef. If the consumer likes the offering of one of the companies, they can click on a button to be directed to that company’s website and complete the purchase.
The website caters to people before they make a purchase, but it has no interaction with them after that purchase is made. Cappsool doesn’t actually stock meal kits, so when Annie emailed, the folks at the company didn’t have a ready-made solution for her.
Which is exactly what appealed to Product Manager Shani Sabag, who wanted to seize this opportunity and communicate with Annie directly. Sabag collaborated with Karin Meytahl, Director of Content at Natural Intelligence to formulate a response to Annie.
“This was something that was important to a lot of people – people who don’t normally deal with meal delivery kits customers,” Meytahl said.
With many hands on deck, Natural Intelligence quickly arranged for Annie’s preferred meal delivery service, Sun Basket, to send her a special package for Thanksgiving. The correspondence with Annie continued, and she reported having a “wonderful Thanksgiving dinner” with her daughters.
Good Karma as Annie Helps Identify Website Design Flaw
As it turned out, the interaction with Annie helped Natural Intelligence and Cappsool identify a design flaw on the meal-delivery website.
Most of Natural Intelligence’s comparison sites deal with services like mortgages, car insurance or personal loans. Only a handful of its websites revolve around physical products such as meal kits or DNA kits.
You’ll recall us mentioning that Natural Intelligence doesn’t actually have any meal kits in stock. What Natural Intelligence and Cappsool do is help users compare the best brands. If a user clicks on one of the brands, they are redirected to that brand’s website. This, as Annie helped Natural Intelligence and Cappsool understand, can be confusing for users.
Annie contacted Cappsool because she understood it to be the provider. When she visited the meal kit delivery site, she would have seen a chart listing the top brands and their main features. Next to each brand, she would have seen a button with the words “View Plan”. When she clicked on that button, a new tab would have opened in her browser – and the website of the third-party provider would have appeared. In Annie’s mind, and in the minds of many other users, this was still a part of the Cappsool website – but of course it wasn’t.
Natural Intelligence and Cappsool Implement Fixes
After the interaction with Annie, Natural Intelligence assembled a team to identify the source of the confusion and design a suite of solutions.
One thing the team noticed was that users were emailing Cappsool to unsubscribe from third-party meal delivery providers (when they should have been contacting the providers directly). To address this, they added an Unsubscribe button on the Contact page. When the user hits Unsubscribe, they see a message telling them that “Our site advertises goods and services and redirects you to your chosen service provider. Select the provider and we’ll connect you to them.” According to Sabag, unsubscribe requests have fallen 24% since the change was implemented–indicating some degree of success.
After the interaction with Thomas, Sabag asked her to write a testimonial about her chosen provider, Sun Basket. Thomas wrote that the packaging was “absolutely adorable” and “gave a homely feeling”. She said the food – consisting of chicken, shrimp, vegetables, and condiments, “was fresh and vibrant looking”. She concluded that she would recommend the company to others.
Following this testimonial, Sabag said Cappsool would encourage other users to leave their own testimonials on the site. Testimonials are not only a great tool for promoting products; they are also a great tool for helping customers understand the relationship between Cappsool and the third-party providers, she said.
Another issue the team identified was the absence of an explanation for what happens when the user clicks on a brand. The solution is in testing, but we can reveal it here: a transition page that pops up for a couple of seconds with a message telling the user they are being redirected to a third-party site.
Every Customer Interaction is a Learning Opportunity
This story is really just a nice way of reinforcing the maxim that every customer interaction is a learning opportunity.
Whether your business gets hundreds of calls a day from customers or none at all, never reject an opportunity to step outside the bubble and interact with a user. Not only will you be able to help someone, you stand to learn something that may positively boost your bottom line.Capture High-Intent Leads