Keeping customers loyal to your company is getting harder. Not only are companies pushing the limits of competing on price, but most product information can be found online, meaning companies can simply copy innovations from one another and provide customers with very similar alternatives – which may be cheaper.
So what can organisations do to differentiate themselves and stay ahead?
This is where 'Experience Thinking' comes in.
Customers don’t simply buy a physical product, but they purchase the entire experience that it provides. If that experience is a good one, then it increases the chances of that customer forming a loyal bond with your brand.
By focussing on creating a great experience for the customer that impacts them on an emotional level, you can foster greater loyalty. This is 'Experience Thinking'.
So what does this mean for designers? Designers should focus on producing products that use particular materials and have a certain shape, form and colour etc. that invokes an emotional response in the consumer.
So how can you go about engaging in Experience Thinking?
Ways to engage in Experience Thinking
One way to start engaging in Experience Thinking is by working with customers, sales and marketing to offer real-world experiences that enable customers to truly engage with their product and ultimately, the brand.
For example, Apple’s ‘Genius bar’ enables customers to enjoy a bespoke service that aims to enhance the customers’ experience of owning their Apple device.
This real-world experience can also be complemented with an innovative and fresh digital experience. Designers are making more and more use of modeling and simulation applications as they bring great value to design review, prototyping and testing etc.
This kind of technology can also be used to create emotional experiences within marketing and sales experiences, such as immersive virtual reality showrooms.
New content and services
Designers can flex their creative muscles in the creation of new content and services to further enrich the customer experience.
These services can be delivered in the form of software updates to smart devices, enabling complete product evolution, just as automaker Tesla have done.
The utility of this technological relationship between a user’s smart device and an organisation is the ability for the organisation to provide highly personalised experiences. This channel can be used to better understand the customer and enables them to co-create their experience, providing the ultimate in customer satisfaction.
However, smart products don’t come without their challenges. Designers face difficulty in creating products not only consisting of physical and mechanical parts, but also software, hardware and a wide range of sensors.
Overcoming these challenges requires collaboration between design and engineering functions – but how can both parties come together in a cohesive way?
Product Innovation Platforms
Product Innovation Platforms represent a step forward from the traditional Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) platforms that have been used to support product design and manufacturing.
Product Innovation Platforms enable experience-focussed collaboration across departments through the use of cloud, mobile, social and big data technologies to breakdown the traditional silos.
These platforms enable internal teams and customers to come together and co-create a one-of-a-kind consumer experience. This environment enables designers to achieve the balance between form and function, while providing for a memorable and meaningful customer experience.
Overall, Experience Thinking provides designers with a way to differentiate their products and services in a way that engages customers on an emotional level.
The power of this approach might just win you some very loyal customers.
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