3 Types of Experience You Need to Pay Attention to in 2016
1. The Customer/Employee Experience
Over the past few years, companies have shifted their approach to focus predominantly on the customer’s experience. However, it’s only half the battle. The other half? The experience of your employees; the internal experience. Without nailing the employee experience, all your efforts to deliver the perfect customer experience are, unfortunately, for naught.
One need to look only as far as the nearest coffee shop or retail spot for validation. Your experience with the brand and your view of the company start and stop with that kid behind the counter. All you want is to get your coffee with as little friction or hassle as possible. Instead, you get your coffee with a side of complaints about how he hasn’t gotten his break yet, and how he’s so tired because he had to open that morning. Guess what? You can spend a lot of money on a fancy app to improve your customer’s experience but your brand is only as good as your weakest link. Improve your employee experience and you’re automatically upping the ante on an exceptional customer experience. The latter doesn’t exist without the former.
If you create a great Employee Experience then you will inherently have a great Customer Experience.
Companies leading the experience pack are beginning to not only consider but actually optimize their employee’s and the employee experience. Take Disney for example, looking at the widely popular MagicBand and MagicPlus experience. Disney set out to create a system to replace the time spent fiddling with payments and tickets to increase moments of personal interactions with visitors. This digital experience allowed them to move past transactions and into an interactive personalized customer experience. By taking the time to understand and leverage data on the customers, they are able to create a more personalized, intimate customer experience, which, in turn, allows them to optimize their employees.
Uber is another prime example of a company maximizing the employee and customer experience. With their business model, the employee and customer experiences are so frictionless that it allows them to create a new business in a new city extremely fast while driving usage and customers.
2. The Frictionless Experience
In the coming year, expect to see a shift from creating good experiences to creating experiences that have the least amount of friction. The key to creating the Goldilocks style ‘just right’ experience is context. Understanding context will drive what the experience should do without explicitly asking. For example, knowing a user’s location, you can understand the context a bit better and serve up content to cater to that specific location. The more you layer contextual information, the more targeted the experience can be created. The more targeted the experience is, the more ‘just right’ it becomes to the user.
Diving deep into and understanding complex user data and applying “anticipatory” design principles will aid in creating these experiences. In a world where customers suffer from decision fatigue, the goal is to give them fewer options and choices, or, ideally, no options at all. Instead, companies should strive to get to know their user so well that they are able to anticipate what the customer wants without them having to ask or go through the mental strain of making one more decision in their already decision-cluttered day.
“You make people happier not by giving them more options but by stripping away as many as you can.” — Cliff Kuang, Wired
How do companies shift from the mindset of providing customers with as many options as possible to anticipating their needs and choosing for them? Take a look at the entire holistic experience, not just the digital interactions. Consider “designing for sensors first” rather than mobile first. Think beyond the screen on a smartphone and begin to think about what information you can capture – from the sensors on that phone to other information that can be captured. Sensors are going to be scattered everywhere; from wearable devices to button-sized low powered beacons that transmit signals. It’s time to think about how we can begin to capture these signals to help create that perfect, ‘just right’, contextual experience for users.
3. The Connected Experience
We’ve considered the customer experience. We’ve honed in on and optimized the employee experience. We’ve ensured both are frictionless. Now we need to make sure every experience (both internal and external) is harmoniously designed together.
As we see the growth of physical/digital experiences, things will only get more complicated. Wearables and IoT are big areas that will be affected by this. If you’re creating a great product with a deep digital experience, you’ll need to make sure you focus on product thinking. If these digital products are to be successful, then every component of the experience needs to be tremendous. How do you achieve this? Take everything, and we do mean everything – industrial design, packaging, branding, marketing, and even content – into consideration. One must consider every piece and part of every step in every experience and aligning them all so they all work together. Only then are you able to achieve a truly connected experience.
Avoiding a digital interface means you don’t waste time using a screen you don’t need to be using anyway. — Golden Krishna, Google
Overwhelmed from all the experience talk? Don’t be. This year it will be crucial to focus on creating holistic experiences that encompass all touch points including customers and employees. Welcome to 2016; the year of experience.