Interview with Joe Leech about Conversion Conference

Joe Leech Joe Leech is the next speaker in interview series leading up to Conversion Conference London 2013. Joe is the User Experience Director at leading UK customer experience consultancy cxpartners. He is also the author behind the well respected pocket guide Psychology for Designers. Joe is a great speaker to see as he has a focus on making digital products measurably better via improved user experience.

Joe will be presenting his Conversion Conference session “White hat, grey zones and black hat – where CRO hits the limit” during the panel session at the end of day 1 from 4:55pm. His session will also include a presentation from Craig Sullivan from RUSH Hair and will be moderated by Rob Jackson.

  1. Do you think the concept User Experience should be updated to be Customer Experience? Definitely, there’s something wrong with calling people users. It suggests not only a one way relationship. There is one other industry that uses the term user; drug rehabilitation.
  2. Thinking along the lines of misleading/fraud, what are your thoughts around the news that 20% of Yelp reviews maybe be fake? If there is an incentive to game a system it’ll happen. I’m surprised it’s only 20%.
    In the research I undertake we see real people leave reviews for three reasons (in order of likely-hood)
    (1) If they’ve had a really bad experience
    (2) There is an incentive to do so (eg a competition or a payment)
    (3) They had an exceptionally good experience.
    If you are leaving a review to win a prize or get some cash, it’s not going to necessarily be honest or useful. As a business owner if you’ve had a bad review you’ll want to make sure that you have some good reviews to offset which also encourages review fakery. What is reassuring is how easily people can spot a fake review and ignore it.
  3. Looking at psychology and a toxic relationship, what other industries do you think profit from people’s psychological vulnerabilities? I think anything that involves making money. People have been selling snake oil throughout human history. The temptation to make a quick profit will always result in questionable approaches. The culture of a company will dictate what sales tactics they use. If the culture is based around profit and nothing else then it’s only a matter of time before black hat practices are used.
    If the culture is about doing the right thing, caring about customers and taking pride in the job you do this stuff doesn’t happen.
  4. When marketers spend more time defending their “black hat” practices to others instead of implementing them do you think they are doing something wrong? They are kidding themselves. If you as a marketer are using black hat techniques and ask yourself the question. If this approach was being used to sell something to someone you care about would you warn them? If you would you are doing something questionable.
  5. When you are designing tests do you consider the impact on lifetime value of a customer? It’s not about value. It’s about doing the right thing by people. If you treat people right they will stick with you and will feel happy about it. If you don’t they will leave as soon as they can even if you are the cheapest. Life is not just about money.
  6. Classification by coloured hats has not always been easy for SEO, do you think it’s easier for CRO? SEO as a industry has an image problem because of the black hats. Any time someone turns to questionable practices it tarnishes the whole industry. Look at hackers, they started off as being people who enjoyed tinkering with technology a few bad apples and hacker = bad. The term conversion rate optimisation is the wrong approach. If all you do is improve conversion then the temptation to doing something ethically questionable is inevitable.If you are improving the customer experience then there is more than one metric to improve. Customer satisfaction, retention, happiness are the metrics I prefer. When customers are happy they convert.
  7. What is one vertical/industry that you think always leads conversion optimisation? Low-margin, high volume industries like electronics. They’ve been through the cost cutting, improve margin and have to be at the bleeding edge to survive. The recent casualties in the high street highlight this. Companies like Appliances Online are great to learn from and I really enjoy working with them as they care about their customers.
  8. What is one vertical that always sets the pace and direction for what’s next in design and UX? Clothing retailers. Any vertical where the sales approach is more than simply price. Clothing is about selling style and feel. Emotionally engaging with the customer. Design, imagery look and feel are important and challenging to do online. Online clothing retailers have had the biggest challenge and have risen to it.
  9. What’s some new software/tools that you think people should consider trialing or exploring? The best conversion tool is going out and speaking to your customers about their experiences. There is no software silver bullet.
  10. What is the main points that you want people to get from your presentation? Happy customers are the best customers you can have.
  11. What are some of the other sessions/speakers at Conversion Conference that you are looking to see? Susan Weinschenk, a fellow UXer with a psychology background like me is talking about customer motivation. You can catch Susan Weinschenk as the keynote speaker on Day 1 of Conversion Conference from 9am.
  12. Are there any other Data Driven Business Week conferences or sessions you are looking forward to seeing? Matt Curry from LoveHoney is talking about Actionable Analytics. He’s one of the smartest (and funniest) people I know. If you want to catch Matt’s session he is speaking during eMetrics London 2013 on Wednesday 23rd October from 11am-12noon.
  13. So if people want to follow/engage with you online? I’m @mrjoe on twitter.

Thank you Joe for your time in answering these questions. If you want to catch Joe speak and save ££££ on tickets for Conversion Conference London you can use our discount code LOSTAGENCY13 and you can register and find out more here.