About a week ago, I received a call from my credit card company alerting me about about suspicious charges. Credit card companies, of course, track your spending patterns, and if something is slightly off, they flag the account and call you.
Typically, they ask us to confirm whether we made the purchase and have our card in hand. Given that this has happened in the past and the activity in question has always turned out to be a legit purchase, we found this “suspicious activity” call a nuisance.
But this time it was different.
One of the purchases was for more $600 and was made in person in a small town in Illinois (given that I live in Seattle, this was the first of many red flags). Given that the card was swiped in person, the credit card company explained that the individual must have made a duplicate credit card using our number. Since this was not a typical purchase for us and given that there was no other activity putting us in that location, the card company had declined the purchase. My wife and I were shocked that our credit card number had been stolen; we are protective of our cards and try to avoid making purchases on websites that don’t appear to be secure.
We use pattern recognition at Produxs all the time when designing our our web user experiences, so I was keenly aware of the power of pattern recognition… this experience just brought it closer to home.
Whether it’s a new product that our clients want to sell online or a new view of their business as seen through our Business Intelligence (BI) platforms, a majority of our work involves introducing something new to clients’ intended audiences. When users engage, they look for visual and interactive cues that are familiar to them – ones that provide them comfort. Beyond the comfort factor, sometimes these patterns are used to provide a more personalized experience (i.e., providing more content that is relevant to you based on noting your interactions).
Establishing a comfort level with your user is paramount to a successful engagement. It enables you to push the envelope not only with your product or offering but also with regards to how you engage with your customer. It provides another avenue to connect (even if subconsciously) with your customer. It’s through the strength of those connections that loyalty is built.
As often as I swear at the credit card companies, this close attention to customer activity – to patterns – is one thing they get right.