Most business owners probably don’t think of themselves as being “designers.” Sure, you’re good at what you do – you know your business, you’re passionate about your product, you know your technology, you care about your customers. But the idea of “design” seems like it’s more reserved for architects or artists or fashion designers or interior decorators or wedding planners or graphic designers, right?
Wrong! What if I told you that everyone who runs a business is – whether they know it or not – a “designer?” Your business needs to pay more attention to the emerging concept of “customer experience design.”
The truth is, design is more important than ever before. But design doesn’t just mean drawing on paper or fabricating industrial products; it means thinking about the entire experience of being a customer of a business, at every stage of the buying process.
Whether you realize it or intend it or not, your business already has a “customer experience design” – the process and systems that are in place to manage your customer’s needs and answer questions and guide them through the sales process. The question is: is your customer experience design actually a “good” one?
Here are a few key points to help improve your customer experience design – and boost your sales!
1. Put people first. Customer experience design is not about technology, it’s about people. Your customer experience should be at the center of your company’s operations – after all, if the customer doesn’t enjoy the experience, they won’t buy from you and your company won’t stay in business! Your customer experience design should be based on a deep feeling of caring for your customer. Put the customer’s needs first! It’s easy to say, but harder to accomplish.
2. What works for you might not work for your customer. The customer experience design is not about doing what’s easy for your business, it’s about doing what’s better for your customer. For example, you might think that your website is perfect as-is – but your customers might be struggling with figuring out how to place an order or how to find the listings of products. Make sure your business processes are adapted to what your customers care about. Take surveys of your customers, ask for feedback, and listen to what you have to say! Even the small things that you might not even notice, like the design of an order form or the automated voice mail greeting, could be causing pain points for your customer. And even the little things matter!
3. Pay attention to every interaction. Customer experience design affects every stage of the sales process, from the design of your website to whether your 800-number is easy to remember to how your stores are designed. The biggest and most successful brands in the world, like Apple, have created a seamless customer experience that feels like a special journey for the customer at every step of the way. But it’s not a matter of being a trillion-dollar company – every business in every industry can choose to create a better customer experience by paying closer attention to how they treat customers at every point of the sales process, and beyond!
4. Customer experience design is about how people feel. There’s an old saying, “people will forget the words you say, but they will never forget the way you make them feel.” Is your customer experience creating positive feelings and happy memories? Even if you’re not actively driving customers away with bad customer service, it’s not good enough anymore to have an “OK” or unmemorable customer experience. Look for opportunities to create moments of delight for your customers, where they are actively surprised by how thorough, attentive, thoughtful and creative your customer service can be. Don’t be afraid to treat your best customers better – offer some bonus gifts or unexpected discounts. Keep people feeling fantastic about working with you and buying from you.
Ultimately, if you have a better customer experience, you will save money on sales and marketing and lead generation because your customers will want to keep coming back and will spread the word to their friends. Especially in today’s fast-paced and competitive landscape, where so many people shop online, it’s crucial for businesses in every industry to pay closer attention to creating a memorable, warm, thoughtful and effective customer experience. No matter what business we’re in, we are all “designers” now.