How to keep up with your customers


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It sounds so easy to design a great experience : Find out what customers want. Design a product to do that better than the competition. Sell it.

But what a customer wants from your product or service is not set in stone. As Loews CEO Jonathan Tisch stated in an interview with Peter George from Flavio Martins post.

Customer-centricity involves following a moving target at all times. As soon as you’ve come up with a great customer experience, you’ve got to start thinking about a new one. Jonathan Tisch, Loews Hotel CEO

Shifting social norms and fast-spreading trends change expectations.

The change can creep up slowly over time or arrive overnight. The important thing is to be aware that what a customer wants can change, and to make design choices accordingly.

The Beomaster 5, a high end sound system, designed for beauty. But the screen looks touchable, and isn’t, and finding and playing music involves rotating 3 aluminum wheels with multi-touch.

Consider Bang and Olufsen’s sound systems : designed for the customer who wants top-line sound quality and distinctive design. Over the last 5 years, as the intuitive, touch screen interface on iPods, mobiles, and internet radio become standard, potential customers want not just high sound quality but also an interface that is easy to use.

So all of a sudden a product like the BeoMaster 5 – with a screen that looks touchable (but isn’t) and a complex interface (that requires a usage manual) – can disappoint.

Judging from the expert reviews, B&O made a conscious design choice to feel “different” vs. other sound systems. But this choice limits the product’s appeal to those who want top sound quality (at any price) even if it means it’s more difficult to use than other screens.

Checking pro-actively on an on-going basis what “it works” means to potential customers can prevent the slow creep towards obsolescence. For potential Bang and Olufsen customers, innovation probably isn’t about just “sound ” and “design” anymore.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Lea Ward
Director at C.Note, a customer experience design & strategy firm based in Amsterdam. Active blogger & author of Trust Equity: How to create products & services that matter. Award winner IxDA 2012.


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