Aspects of Experience

So what makes you feel good when you walk into a store, hospital, travel company, office or even a website? Many things im sure! Over the course of our work in experience consulting we have consolidated the key aspects of customer experience to the following seven areas Environment Accessibility Technology People Knowledge Service Offers.
Environment Over the years more and more companies are seeking to upgrade the appeal of the store environment by renovating their store environment. The first step generally is to take the help of professional designers to create the store’s physical design and to bring it to an international level. The elements that generally get a lot of attention are façade, product display, lighting and signage.
Some progressive companies are now experimenting with aroma and sound for the store. In my view effort should also be put in ensure that customer comfort is also kept in mind. It could be as simple a thing as washroom availability or more structured elements such as safety, sitting areas etc. It should however be kept in mind that each element should always be in sync with the brand essence. There is no point putting an element that does not seek to be a tool in building the brand essence completely. Accessibility A related aspect of the environment is accessibility. In simple terms, how easy is it for our customers to reach our store or interact in the store. In my view accessibility is not viewed with seriousness in most organisations. More effort should be put into issues that make our stores, hospitals, corporate offices etc more accessible to senior citizens, customers with special needs. The earnest with which organisations such as Max Healthcare have addressed customer issues with regard to accessibility is laudable.
An example of this is the electronic device that allows a customer with special needs to reach a part of the facility where they had to make steps and couldn’t make an accessibile pathway. This enables customers to go into the facility without feeling any discomfort. Technology Increasingly, technology is the enabler of various aspects of the customer experience. Integration of customer touch points to present a unified message to the customer is no longer a differentiator. Indeed it has come to be expected by the customer as a basic need. The customer expects to manage the relationship with the company and the sooner we provide, our customers, tools to manage interactions, the better it would be. Broadly, technology has a role in digital communication (web, pda, mobile), learning systems and relationship tools. In addition, technology enables communities of interest and companies should seek to build innovative solutions that are of value to the customer.
People Key to experience delivery is the team that will be interacting with customers. Integrated effort is required to build a team that delivers a world class brand experience. You cannot have an average team of players to win the world cup. Integrated effort is required in the areas of hiring, training, rewarding, measuring and certifying the team of super achievers. The days of the smart talking or rude salesmen are over. The customer is looking for integrity and evaluates brands on the integrity of their promise. KnowledgeThe key to delivery of experience is the knowledge of the team about various aspects of product and service. How efficiently this knowledge is disseminated to team will determine the kind of commitments our teams make to customers. Companies are investing in teams of people who develop product related content as well as on competitive information and also situation related content. This content is delivered through an integrated learning management system. Another aspect of knowledge is the understanding we have of our customers feelings. These are typically in the form of customer feedback systems and service measurements. However, currently a lot of organisations treat them as periodic activities.
Increasingly the companies that integrate customer knowledge systems with their learning and certifications systems will be more effective in winning customers. Service and OffersIn addition to providing a unified experience to customers at various touchpoints, it is increasingly imperative for companies to think of customer situations and then integrate their services at the store, at customer homes and on the phone. Currently, a lot of companies tend to have a very unidimensional view of the customer in terms of how a customer interacts with them and the services that are provided. The direction towards a wholistic view of the customer is building momentum and this will surely go a long way in providing enhanced experiences that make a customer feel good. The objective of service should always be to simplify the customer experience in line with brand essence. The same holds true for promotional offers as well.