Last week, Ask.com traveled to Phoenix, Arizona where a large forum, including executives from Verizon, Bank of America, Oracle, McDonald’s, USAA, Nissan, ShopNBC and even our sister company, Match.com, convened on the topic of Customer Experience, or “CX” as industry insiders refer to it. It’s a hot topic among companies spanning all industries, and in the case, we were all in the same room. 

Over the course of our days together, we discussed the challenges in delivering quality experiences to customers/users, and how the different aspects must fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. All participants agreed that the desire to make great products and deliver excellent service is important, but even more so is making and delivering products and services that people want to use, and find high value in. All the while, attention must be paid to ensuring communications between a company and its users remains high, and user is taken to heart.

Ask.com has been sensitive to the importance of these puzzle pieces from the first version of the Jeeves search engine in 1996, and that focus continues today. Here are two ways we’re improving value for our users:

  1. In our Q&A Community this week, we’ve retired the green thumbs-up underneath answers and replaced them with even more relevant “Helpful” and “Fun” buttons. We’ve always been in the business of assisting people in finding helpful answers to their questions, and this change helps define those truly helpful answers in the community, giving them higher placement under questions. In turn, each community member’s profile page will now reflect the overall number of “Helpful” votes his or her answers have received (all green thumbs previously received have been converted to Helpful votes). We mentioned this change last week to our Ask.com Community Hall of Fame members, and their feedback has been extraordinarily positive.
  2. Very shortly, we’ll be rolling out a new Help Center to better assist our users with questions related to all things Ask.com – search, community, mobile apps, our toolbar, and just about anything else you can think of. It will be intuitive and (dare we say) enjoyable! If any additional help is needed, sending an email to us will be one click away, and as always, we promise a personal response to each one.

What defines a great customer experience for you? We’ve got some of the answers, and we would love your help figuring out the rest of them. Sound off in the comments below!

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Eric McKirdy is Ask.com’s Corporate Brand Ambassador and Customer Support guru. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here on the blog, send it to him at customersupport (at) ask.com; if your question is used, he’ll even send you an Ask.com t-shirt.