January 7, 2016
In today’s digital world, it is easy to focus on pushing out tweets and posts talking about your company’s latest and greatest and then updating your website to show your digital savvy. And while you may have a brilliant strategy for all these communications, there’s one thing that some companies seem to forget: there are human beings behind all those screens reading what you’re sending out. What you do and when you do it is sometimes even more important than what you have to say. It’s all about being authentic and meaningful in your communications. Quite simply, you can enhance the customer experience through touchpoints if you remember that you need to appeal to the emotional cues of the people you are trying to reach and that each touchpoint adds up to an important overall customer experience.
The best customer experiences begin with good design. This doesn’t necessarily mean design in the usual sense such as strictly graphic design, although that will be an integral part of the experience. User-centered, or intentional, design embedded into products, customer touch points, communications and service is critical. Essentially, intentional design is a process in which the customer’s interactions with a product, service or business in general are considered at each point of the design process.
For example, the Disney Institute blog touches on how it’s more beneficial for a company to look at a problem holistically rather than literally. They provide the scenario of two very obvious problems that customers may normally run into and that the company is aware of:
“We know our customers don’t like to wait in long lines” or “We know they expect us to answer the phone after so many rings.”
While those may be obvious problems that can potentially have obvious solutions, that does not mean the problem has been solved. Creating an alternative to waiting in long lines or answering a phone after 5 rings should not be seen as a solution, but as a remedy. Through intentional design, a company will be able to address current and potential grievances.
People utilize sight, sound, touch and taste in user experiences. So every time you provide a full sensory experience that engages prospects and customers, you take another step toward firmly establishing your brand into their preference set. The more you can evoke emotions and sensory experiences, the more receptive people will be to your business overall.
Enhancing the Customer Experience
The way you design your service experiences also makes an important impact on prospects and customers. Smart companies anticipate customer needs and are a few steps ahead of what comes next in the customer awareness through buying cycle. In this digital age, service and communication become the new commodity and it’s critical to design experiences to that model. Experience-based service begins with a process of communicating with customers and letting them initiate communications in return. Getting personal with customers also enhances the customer experience. People like to buy from companies who they feel understand them and can anticipate their needs. Simple things like email birthday greetings or product suggestions based on past purchases tell customers that you remember them, value them and appreciate their business.
Intentional design is a powerful tool that provides a systematic method to explore a variety of customer interactions and touchpoints that move, engage and respond. Most of all, customer experiences have to be authentic and all touchpoint possibilities explored before recommending appropriate user design scenarios. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, sells one product or several, or you provide services instead of products, a thorough customer experience will be critical to customer loyalty and the future of your business.