Designing a SMART Customer Experience

The digital world has disrupted our marketing worlds and changed the way business communicates with its customer. Social media has opened the door to two-way conversations, data gives us a better understanding of our market and mobile makes our message more accessible to the general consumer. Over the past few years we have placed much focus on developing digital channels to make the most of social media, mobile and data collection, however I believe that this focus has swung business to the opposite end of the pendulum. Focusing too much on digital channels and not the consumer themselves. Digital highlighted a primary shift that consumers wanted business to make. To become more relevant, personal, useful and thoughtful. To design products and experiences that are actually useful and exciting. In considering this challenge I have found that we need to redesign our customer experiences with these shifts in mind while still considering the person at the end of the experience. To find a balance between the physical and digital experience, to blend the two experiences into one serendipitous occasion that excites and intrigues customers. “SMART Customer Experience” is a framework that I have developed after research into a number of customer experience frameworks. It speaks to the technologies that matter and the need to find the right application in your experience. A simple acronym in SMART – Social, Mobile, Agile, Researched, Transforming. I would like to share three of these these briefly for you to consider in your customer experience design. Social ...

Using digital to delight your customers

Customer centricity in business the art of making the customer the centre of decisions and processes in your business. Steering away from a product focus which aims to produce and sell products, a customer centric business looks at the needs of customers and solves them. The product literally sells itself because it solves customers problems or speaks to their needs as a consumer. Obviously its key to understand consumers in order to meet their needs and over the last year we are noticing some very clear trends among customers which are opening the door to better digital customer experiences. Humanising the company or brand People are getting tired of corporate greed and the quest for profits. Not that they are against people making profits, they just want to understand why. It’s the why and how that’s making the difference today. People want to see the personality of the brand, speak with people in the company and see important values like honesty, transparency and vision lead to trust. Social media remains a major force in communicating to customers on a daily basis and has changed the business landscape for almost every single consumer industry. Sainsbury recently saw the power of a social media conversation sparked by a 3 and a half year old. The young girl wrote into Sainsbury to suggest that their Tiger Bread looked more like a Giraffe. After social media channels found the letter the public response was overwhelming and the company decided to listen to its customers...

The loyal iPhone customer gets a boring upgrade experience

I bought my first iPhone about three years ago. It was a 2G phone. They were the best phone on the market at the time and it was a wonderful experience to use it on a day to day basis. Needless to say I became a fan and convinced many of my friends to buy the phone for themselves. I have however upgraded my iPhone three times since then and every time I get a little less impressed and a little more bored by the latest iPhone technology. I believe that this experience I have is not unique. I think many people, when they upgrade their iPhone will feel the same. What makes the iPhone great on a technical aspect could become its customer experience downfall. I am talking about the ever-so-smooth back-up and restore function between iTunes and the iPhone. Let me explain. When you get your new iPhone you follow this simple process: Back-up your old phone to iTunes Take your sim card out the old iPhone and slide it into your new iPhone Ask iTunes to restore the new phone from the old back-up The iPhone is then restored to the new iPhone exactly the way you had it on your old iPhone. Personal setting and all. This is seriously a fantastic feature because managing my data as an iPhone user has become so easy and there is almost no risk in losing information. In addition the setup time of my new iPhone is an hour or...

What cupcakes teach us about great customers experiences

The world of customer experiences is becoming more and more complex as business begins to understand the need to create niche experiences that mean more to their customers. I recently ready and article in Fast Company about how a cup cake business has redefined the mom-and-pop shop by using twitter. Now that kind of story usually interest me due to my fascination with social reinvention, however something else intrigued me more. The concepts of cup cakes! Over twenty years ago the cup cake industry started to boom. The concept of buying one big cake did not make sense when you can buy one small cake. Big cakes are too much, what about when I just need to satisfy my sweet tooth. I have been to so many weddings lately where the wedding cake in not one big cake, but rather many small, varied and delicious cup cakes. It’s easy to eat, it’s cleaner, tastier and it’s mine! The cake shop can now make thousands of smaller cupcakes with a wider variety of tastes for the same cost as making fewer, bigger cakes. The big cakes mean less variety, less uniqueness, less personalisation and less experience. So here is the lesson in customer experience: Niching the taste and experience of your product makes it easier to sell (Many unique flavours in bite size chunks) Your customer is looking for lightweight, clean, easy to use products and services that don’t create waste (IE: the left over cake I just couldn’t fit in)...

Be honest and understand your customer – it makes them happier

I have recently had a very frustrating experience with a company who sold me a product. I have never been a fan of people who use their blogs to drag down a company so I will do my best not to do this here (although I really do feel like naming the company). The truth is I made a mistake in buying a software based product before double checking with the company that the software runs on a Mac computer. To my annoyance it did not. I take complete blame at this point, it was my mistake for not checking. Frustration? Here’s the frustrating bit. I contacted the support department to see if there was anyway to make this software run. Their answer was simple. “the software definitely does run on a Mac. You just need to boot it using windows software.” Now let me explain, asking a Mac user reboot their computer into a Windows operating system is not only an insult but also hugely inconvenient. This leads me to my point. There was a clear misunderstanding of a Mac user by this company. They felt they had a great solution but the solution only frustrates and infuriates the user at the end of the day. It would have been better to offer an immediate refund at this point and let me know it only runs on windows. I would have been happy to send the product back at this point and restart my search for the right product....

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