Mar 10, 2022 . 9 Min Read

Five Questions from 2021

Pandemic, market changes, and shifting geopolitical scenarios. Some call this a new world order. Brands and businesses are facing unprecedented times. Well, at least in our lifetime. We all know the importance of making the change to digital. And even more, the final arrival of the experience economy does not make this easier. What we have noticed is that all of these have created dynamic customer expectations.

For us, 2021 came in 5 key questions we ask ourselves on behalf of our clients in every endeavour. Let us know if they resonate in any way.

The customers are not where you are.

As age-old as the experience gets, customers have always been considered separate from brands and businesses. Surely you have heard of the “false consensus effect”. If not, the adage “you are not the user” must resonate with you.

It is, ultimately, left to the business to build a relationship with its consumers. More importantly, this is expected to be done in flight. And that is where a differentiated experience fosters a healthy exchange between both parties.

You are not your user, nor people around you are your users. Never try to impose your likes and dislikes on your design. You are not designing for yourself.

Are we truly designing for our customers?
Customers don’t want a good experience. They want a great one.

“Gone are the days when customers compared the experience of your brand with those in the same category,” says Scott Wassmer, GM Americas. “In the experience economy, customers will compare yours against the best digital experiences out there - like those of Netflix or Uber.”

Understanding this, in 2022, brands will look for new and innovative ways to converge technologies – and create the best possible experience out there, not just the best experience in a specific vertical or industry.

Is this the best experience for our customers?
Customers need you to anticipate their needs.

Omotenashi. Heard of this uniquely Japanese context?
[Hint: Think of your users and customers as your guests. Surely you can imagine that.]

Omotenashi is more than just meeting the demands of guests. It’s about anticipating the needs of guests, needs which may not be communicated in an obvious way.

How is this possible? Ultimately by always considering context, being curiously observant, and making assumptions where appropriate.

It’s important to stress, these assumptions are based on years of knowledge sharing and interacting with guests from all walks of life. For every moment of genuine gratitude, there might also be a moment of awkwardness — a pain point — which should be acknowledged.

Are we anticipating the ‘real’ needs of our customers?
Innovation begins with a system for design.

The number of interactions between brands and their customers is exploding as experiences go digital. Maintaining personal relationships, when there are so many ways to connect, is a growing challenge. But products and services can be efficiently created — and all of this easily managed — if a solid design system is at the foundation.

A design system will help your marketers, designers, engineers, and data analysts collaborate to quickly produce the experiences your customers want while maintaining the consistency your brand needs.

But you need to avoid the creative chaos this can immediately lead to. That’s where good partners help navigate this journey with real outcomes.

Speed, scale, collaboration, and innovation. They all sound like buzzwords from a business strategist, right? Wrong. These are real values from building a system, one that scales and sustains innovation for organisations of all sizes.

Are we building for an experience that can scale and sustain?
Phase 2, not Phase 1 is the focus.

Strategy to executionis a journey. Confirming is just the excuse to not do better. Experiences, like customer expectations, must be ever-changing. It is important to look beyond what we solve for today. Today should be great, and contextual. But what about tomorrow when the customer changes?

Every brand has a vision. They need a roadmap to get there. This roadmap is, as we know, important to zoom in and out of constantly. You know, the holistic thinking we all so love to tout. Not necessarily, actually. Brands and businesses are experiences that must believe in constant change. The rule, take baby steps with an eye on the next step. Think about the ‘what to do next’ while you are crafting what you are now.

What does the next phase look like for our customers’ experience?

In conclusion, we hope this teases your taste buds for what might be the unknown of 2022. A year, we are sure, will bring new waves of ideas and innovations to strive for. We are always happy to hear your thoughts on any of these. Let’s stay connected to drive better experiences.

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