Who moved my memories?

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On July 2nd, the online photo-sharing site Kodak Gallery closed. In what may have been the most precious and poignant data transfer in history, five billion photos belonging to 69 million people housed at Kodak Gallery were moved to Shutterfly—that’s 10,000 hard drives’ worth of smiles, which is as large as the Library of Congress’ Web archive.

Like entrusting your great-grandmother’s fine china to the back of a moving truck, the relocation was risky.

As a Kodak Gallery user, I experienced the transition first-hand. As someone who cares greatly about customer experience, I can attest that the move was thoughtful, efficient and—as far as I can tell—flawless.

Here’s how it went.

1. I received a jointly branded email from Kodak Gallery and Shutterfly that clearly outlined what was happening and when. The communication was also very clear about which features of my Kodak Gallery account would not be preserved. (Click on image below)

This language was particularly reassuring:

“All your photos will be automatically moved, for free, to Shutterfly. Kodak Gallery and Shutterfly will do everything to protect and preserve your photos every step of the way and make sure this is a smooth and easy transition for you

2. I received an email letter signed by Jeff Housenbold, president & CEO of Shutterfly, welcoming me as a customer and encouraging me to link my Kodak Gallery account. (Click on image below)


3. I clicked to link my Kodak Gallery account, and was prompted to this screen with three easy steps. Current Shutterfly members could link their accounts in just a few clicks, and non-members simply had to set up an account username and password. (Click on image below)


4. Once I linked my accounts, I received instant assurance that I successfully completed the actions I needed to take. (Click on image below)


5. About four weeks later, I received an email letting me know that my photos were now in their new home. Another smart move by Shutterfly: They used customer data to inform the transition plan. The most active Kodak Gallery users were transferred first so they were disrupted the least. (Click on image below)


6. The Shutterfly homepage welcomes Kodak Gallery customers. For those who need it, there’s a special page with frequently asked questions about using Shutterfly. (Click on image below)


You can see through the progression that Shutterfly wisely focused its messaging in each moment. It must have been tempting to tout features or make a promotional offer earlier, but Shutterfly exclusively addressed the issues that may cause anxiety or confusion first. Proving itself through customer experience created a far more touching, lasting memory of the brand.

Jennifer Eggers is a senior information architect for Siegel+Gale’s New York office.

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