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Digital Experience

Yesterday I tweeted about the big change I had made: moving away from the Wall Street Journal app to the New York Times app. Both publications are well known and carry a lot of weight in the business world. I had been considering the move for quite some time as I wasn’t getting the digital experience I deserved as a customer. It took the culmination of many issues in the last few weeks to push me over the edge and make the change.

I have been a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) digital subscriber since 2009 when I moved from Australia to the United States of America. It has a great reputation where people say that “… if it wasn’t in the journal then it didn’t happen.” The first digital version I used was terrible. It was full of bugs, performance/refresh issues needing a major re-write. Since that time the WSJ team has made many fixes yet I still must check back several times in the morning to refresh the paper when there is so-called functionality to background refresh the new edition. Furthermore I continue to get crashes and issues every week. For example, I am able to review the editions section yet not see the list of days and versions for the past week.

A fellow traveler recommended I try the New York Times (NYT) digital application on iOS. I have read NYT articles off and on over the years however never tried the iOS application. After two days it was clear that the NYT provides a fantastic digital and customer experience. For example, it loads the paper the first time (woo!) and has many categories of news (which can be customised) versus the WSJ. One feature I like is when I have read a particular article the colour of it changes from black to grey. To top things off, I went to first logged into the app I noticed it provides 1Password integration; I didn’t even have to enter my username or password! For those that know 1Password, this is just saying that the NYT team are technology savvy and have gone above and beyond with the experience they want to provide.

We are reminded in today’s world of all things digital and that the customer is at the centre of what we do. Consumers are not patient nor forgiving when a digital experience doesn’t meet their expectations. I see this in the retail world and the bar continues to rise every day. Yesterday I logged into the WSJ website to cancel my subscription and spent over 10 minutes trying to work out where to do it only to find out I had to ring and speak to someone on the phone between certain hours. Really? Newspapers, like retail are struggling in today’s economy. The only way to compete is to provide a digital experience that is robust and has the customer at the heart of what you do.

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