Collecting feedback: create your own postage labels online

Can we make printing out postage labels a whole lot easier?

A small number of our customers got the opportunity to tell it how it is for them when using the New Zealand Post website recently.

We went out with a rough and ready beta offering that we hope will make printing off postage labels a whole lot easier and watched as our volunteers went through the motions of creating, and printing out multiple postage labels. We knew we had the beginnings of a good idea, but we wanted customers to inform us on the details of how it would best work. This style of working allows us to put improvements in front of customers relatively quickly, without it needing to be perfect.

These exercises are always interesting and informative. We had a couple of different approaches that we tested, and were able to get a good steer on what works, and what flopped. Often these learnings are downright obvious, but in the busy world of web design and development, the obvious trees get overshadowed by the forest, and it’s often the small things that make a huge difference.

So what are our take-outs from this round of user walk-throughs? In short they are:

  1. Let’s be clearer about what the postage ‘thresholds’ are.  As one participant aptly stated: If NZ Post doesn’t care if it’s 400g or 450g, then there’s no point in me caring either. Point being, we need to provide a simple screen that allows you to calculate only when it’s necessary. That’s great because the new Rate Finder is going to address this one nicely.
  2. Let’s get clear about what info is needed for a postage label, and what isn’t. The beta input screen for creating postage labels managed to confuse everyone when they got to the description field. We thought it would be a useful personal reference point for our customers, but when we tested, they asked for a field to personally reference the parcel in question, but were reluctant to use the Description field as they didn’t want that info to appear on the postage label. Fair point. We hadn’t made it clear that it was never intended to go on the postage label. That will be a pretty straightforward one to fix.
  3. Let’s get clear about when to apply Rural Delivery Charges. Everyone we spoke to had a gripe about the rural delivery charge. Not the surcharge itself, but knowing when and if to select that option. When we presented the option to select the RD charge or not, that simple check box caused agitation, anxiety and frustration. It was clearly an ambiguous decision point, and “someone should know this, but don’t expect me to know”. Right on. We’re looking into how to simplify this step further by applying some clever logic behind the scenes.
  4. The next one is a no brainer, but actually the hardest: improve the postage label itself. The software that generates the PDF after you have put all your details has been a ‘black box’ to us until recently. We want to get our hands dirty in this space so that we can see how we might be able to print out multiple labels onto one page, and see if we can offer different sized labels dependant on the parcel size. It sounds straightforward, but there’s quite a bit of under the bonnet work to be done to make this happen. Fingers crossed on this one.
  5. Lastly, it became evident that we need to improve the flow from Rate Finder to printing postage labels. There are a number of steps that we hadn’t considered when we looked at the bigger scene, such as offering the ability to save your Rate Finder details/quotes for printing out a postage label at a later stage, and we will be doing our best to ease the decision points in the process for the customer. Will be a case of watch this space.

So thank you to those who participated, and to those who wanted to but couldn’t this time round. We will continue to seek customer feedback, so if you want to be part of further research with the online team, email and we will add you to our “Customer Feedback” database.

Alys Titchener
UX Specialist
Online Channel

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