Seven Truths for DesigningGreat Customer ExperiencesHOW CO M PA NIE S B ECO M E LOVE Dby Dave Wieneke | October 29th, 2012Call it Delight, Caring, Innovation or Service, some companies Once product development became rapid and distributionset themselves apart by earning the durable preference of their was global, power shifted to customers. Being armed with thecustomers. Over the last month we’ve brought experts together ability to gather information independently (and use digitalto share their insights and inspiration on creating connections media to spread their views) allows them to dictate the terms ofwith customers in for a series of experience-centric events. engagement with brands. In a fluid marketplace, the favor is what separates winners and losers.Delight 2012 took place in Portland, Oregon followed by ourDesign for Delight Future M session in Boston. Together the 2. Delight isn’t an ideal – it’s a pragmaticevents gathered 300+ attendees to hear from 20 speakers from everyday activity, and built on failure.brands like Gemvara, Life is Good, Zipcar, Warby Parker, Bolocoand Mt. Hood Meadows. For companies that delight, error isn’t the enemy, irrelevance is. John Pepper, CEO of Boloco, summed it up: “When you provideHere are some of the themes that emerged as hundreds of the variety of products we do to 80,000 guests a day, mistakesparticipants gathered with our teams in Portland and Boston. will happen. So, we’ve decided to become great at recoveringWhether you joined in-person or not, we’d like to invite you to from mistakes, and turning them in to wins”.join this conversation now, and to add your own thoughts. Brian Kalma of Gemvara wrapped a success metric around the1. Delight isn’t a tagline – it’s the bottom line same idea. “If we help someone fix a problem, they’re four times more likely to repurchase from us than if we had just deliveredWhy is gaining and maintaining customer loyalty and preference what they wanted with no further follow-up.”a big deal? It’s the last persistent advantage in an otherwisequick-to-commoditize world. Perfection is built on fixing things in a way that shows care. It’s a moment of truth that can elevate brands.That’s how Ron Rogowski of Forrester Research describedthe shift of companies from differentiating on their products At the end of the day, a customer complaint shows that(when products and features were scarce), to distribution (when someone cares about what a business has promised. They’retransportation and media access were constrained). engaged, and there’s an opportunity to win. Jill Nelson from Ruby Receptionists addressed the threat in the alternative: those
unimpressed and unengaged. “Fine is a four letter word” – it’s just In Portland I shared the story of Dove’s “Ad Makeover” ontoo low a standard. Facebook. They allowed women to spend Dove’s advertising budget to block out other firm’s ads that denigrate women’sDave Tragethon from Mt. Hood Meadows and Leslie Mottla self-image. Their clients wrote the ads, targets offensive adsfrom Zipcar both stressed the marketing need to set customer to replace, and Dove did this on Facebook for other women,expectations to frame success. If there’s little snow, if the parking reporting back to each fan what the result of her suggestion was.lots will be packed, if using a shared car means taking care of itfor others, etc. – setting expectations up front lets people know Increasingly content is eclipsed by experiences. A great tool,what they’ve signed-up for. We often lack certainty in business, perhaps a mobile application, often can make more impact inbut that shouldn’t impede forthrightness. someone’s life than written “content”. And when writing must be done, having it done by customers can often result in points of3. Get clear about the value of your brand to view that are more credible and useful that what brands would write themselves.customers.In one of the FutureM sessions before our meeting in Boston,Stacy Howe from New Balance suggested that before you 6. Technology is nothing without humanity.can do great marketing, you need to decide who you’ll be tocustomers. Perhaps the biggest object lesson of these discussions is that sincerity breeds delight. Sure, technology, content, and designThe simple formula, “Differentiation + Design = Delight” sets may be how that sincerity gets manifested. But the experiencesout a journey of aligning identity, creating experiences that that companies create for clients convey more that any wordsexpress a brands minimum viable personality, and it creates the we can craft.opportunity to operationally deliver delight. Dave Tragethon drove this home with his mantra “technology isIn Delight 2012, we dug in to about a dozen brief framing nothing without humanity”, but so did our Portland host Stevestatements, that well-known firms use to explain what benefit Gadlin. His appearance on Shark Tank pitching “I Want to Drawor value they share with their clients. These become a point of a Cat for You” is another case where, like in the Wizard of Oz,connection that explains why firms belong in their customers’ the man behind the curtain is more real and powerful than thelives. construction in front of it.We started to break these down in to five general styles: It’s comparatively easy to buy technology, but improvement fromHappiness, Connection, Discovery, Pride, and Social Good. Each it is rare unless culture changes along with it. And when cultureof which starts to rough out the terrain of delight. and technology are both in motion, it opens the door to new business models and the disproportionate gains they bring.4. Rethink the role of customers for yourcompany 7. The age of miracles is not past. Earning the loyalty of customers is as old as service. But asJohn Pepper described their VIBE (very important burrito eater) Alisha Runckel tweeted in on the idea of using an axe as a toolprogram, which recognized that they have around 2,500 high of unabashed change, “What day isn’t take your axe to workfrequency customers who if treated well can spread the word day?” she asked. But when your standard is delight, there’s anabout Boloco better than any advertising. imperative to innovate and “wield the axe”, so to speak, for unabashed change.Dave Tragethon from Mt. Hood Meadows described the samedynamic with one of their season pass offerings. By creating an As Brian Kalma noted in both our Boston and Portland events, “ifaffordable and highly social season pass, they’re sold in bundles you use a standard approach, you’ll get standard results.” Life’sof four. Selling these at a great discount created thousands of too short for standard results.new skiers with a season-long commitment to their destination,which they could connect with through specialized offers andservices.David Oksman, the Head of Marketing for Life is good, talked We want to hear from you. What doesabout how they find disruptively good ideas by seeking customer Delight mean to you? Please leave ainput. Listening to customer feedback about music in the storesopened up a new opportunity for engagement. They now spend comment or tweet your thoughts on300,000 minutes a month listening online. customer experience to us at @ISITE_Design or #Delight2012.5. Rethink content: Less story telling – Morestory livingWhen John Pepper and Dave Tragethon gave status tothousands of their best customers, those customers reciprocatedby elevating their businesses. They received more activefeedback, increased word of mouth, more frequent visits – andfacilitated a peer relationship between its best clients and theirbrand.