Damn Good Communication: A Delightful Alternative to Order Numbers

Ali Murray Fun Stuff

Damn Good Template 2017Online shopping. For those of us who are tired of human contact (or just hate putting pants on to do our errands), it’s the greatest invention of the last thirty years.

But buying things online still comes with its fair share of inconveniences. It can be hard to find the exact specs of your desired item; hidden shipping and handling costs can rack up supposedly reasonable prices; your item could arrive late or broken or the complete wrong color to match your new kitchen backsplash. It’s tragic but true–most online shopping is far from perfect.

Enter Meh. Meh is a super cool deal-a-day website, and honestly, we could write ten articles on all the things Meh does right, communication-wise. They’re completely honest and specific with their customers about both the benefits and the drawbacks of their products; they use a mix of text and video to get information across in an engaging way; and they’re funny to boot! But today, we want to talk specifically about one tiny thing that makes a big difference when buying from Meh–their order numbers.

Long, complicated order numbers might seem like a necessary evil of online shopping: sure, it’s a pain to have to recite them over a phone or type them into a form, but there’s no getting around the fact that companies need a specific way to identify your particular case after you’ve made a purchase. Meh, however, gets around that snag by making their order numbers short, easy-to-remember, and-–dare I say–fun. How, you ask? By not including numbers at all.

Screen Shot 2017-01-07 at 4.15.25 PMScreen Shot 2017-01-16 at 1.21.15 PM Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 1.21.51 PM

Instead, Meh assigns each order a random short phrase, consisting of two adjectives and a noun. More often than not, the resulting identification code is a quirky, fun little mental image that brings a smile to the customer’s face–totally on brand for Meh, which has a reputation for being delightful and funny.

The other great thing about these phrases is that the mental image they create makes them super easy to remember. It’s probably no surprise to you that the human mind is way better at remembering things in relation to each other than disjointed blocks of information–that is, a series of three words that you can form into a meaningful phrase is way easier to recall than a random string of numbers. With order phrases like Meh’s, there’s no need to constantly flip back to your confirmation email so you can give a customer service rep your information–consult it once, and chances are, you’ve got it down.

So…as you’re thinking about your own ways of communicating with your HR team and employees, ask yourself how you might “Be Like Meh” — and make a forgettable, or confusing, or annoying aspect of your messaging a little less so.

Maybe it’s something as simple as remembering to make the too-small font size in your benefits guide bigger this year. Or committing to making your Power Point presentations easier to digest. Or taking the extra time to add eye-catching images to your emails, or intranet content. Or re-recording your voice mail message so it’s shorter and sweeter.

Sure, it might take you a little extra time, but the people on the receiving end of your efforts will thank you.

Oh, and if you liked this post, you might also like:

5 Great Examples of Damn Good Business Communication

How I Got Over My Fear of HR Technology…and How You Can, Too!

5 Ways Small HR Teams Can Save Money and Be More Effective

6 Tips for Communicating Benefits to Millennials (our popular eBook)