What do my customers want?
The savviest retailers are asking this question more frequently than ever, and rightly so.
Those who are driving innovation understand that they are in a customer-experience-led-era and they recognise that how and where an organisation delivers for customers is beginning to be as important as what it delivers.
They also understand that the word 'experience' is not critiqued in isolation, nor is it embraced by adding a few token touchpoints to a space. The customer 'experience' is an end to end journey; one of which may be compiled by a number of different processes and interactions, and it potentially spans more threads than you wish you had unraveled.
What do I mean by this, you ask? Air New Zealand, for example, is a great example of a large corporate who truly critiques and challenges their own business model in order to continue to innovate - and they consistently get recognised for doing so. Their main objective is to (fundamentally) move people from A to B, so it makes sense that they would interrogate their customers elongated journey (travelling), and identify opportunities, however unorthodox, to enrich this experience.
Having travelled in the past with Air Cubana (never again), I feel I take Air New Zealand’s integrated services and products for granted. They have designed and curated a number of touchpoints which make travelling a lot more informed and comfortable from the moment I leave home. 'Checking in' to a flight via an app is nothing new - but getting traffic recommendations to get to the airport, booking an Uber or a hotel, reminders about the weather at my destination and extracting a coffee order when I step into their lounge via my phone are definitely components that fuel brand loyalty.
This is an example of how a number of isolated experiences, separate from the main product offer, positively contribute to the end to end customer journey.
There are a growing number of retailers and service providers who are similarly interrogating their business models to identify and embellish components that although may not be immediately measurable on the bottom line, contribute a much more entertaining and emotionally engaging experience. Ikea has released an augmented reality app that allows you to overlay their furniture within your home; they are essentially bringing the store to you. 'Click and collect' lockers are also now commonplace at most new supermarkets, and save a lot of time for busy parents. 'Alexa' is a virtual assistant smart speaker, developed by Amazon, which is capable of making to-do lists, setting alarms, providing real-time information and also ordering items (from Amazon), all controlled via your voice.
The layering, thought and development going into these retail experiences is unlike anything we have seen before.
However, too many customer experience transformations stutter because leaders can't show (to the powers above) how these processes and the expenditure creates value. This is particularly challenging for small businesses that don't have the 'big corporate' budgets - but, they must remember they are also in a great position to innovate without the bureaucratic hurdles to overcome.
Delighting customers by executing a well thought out customer experience is a challenge, I get that - but is also an essential component in this age where customers wield growing power!
How do designers mix traditional and contemporary while retaining meaning and identity?
John Lenihan and Andy Florkowski talk with Georgina Harris at Idealog about the role Maoridom plays in New Zealand design identity. It is a fantastic issue which discusses the application of the Te Aranga principles and how we then overlay and integrate local iwi narrative. The issue also touches on RCGs involvement with Maori Television and the Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa, which is being developed by Pukeora Oruawhata Trust. Make sure you track down a copy to enjoy the full articles.
In the Press
Local Media Highlights Monday 30 April to Tuesday 8 May
A 21-year-old, multi-level Auckland apartment building is being demolished to make way for the city's $3.4 billion City Rail Link.
The pink block with 11 apartments at 26 Mt Eden Rd is above the railway line, across the street from the Mt Eden railway station and the Life Church.
Polaroids, floppy disks, Walkmans and phone books. There is an entire generation today for whom these items are mostly alien - consigned to the past thanks to the wisdom and technology of our age. Is global inflation such a quaint relic?
Auckland's housing market's softening may have stopped for now, but it's not yet clear whether its fortunes have turned for good.
Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said confidence had returned to the market in April as he released the agency's statistics for April.
Like many Aucklanders, I want to believe that a “world-class” transport system is do-able with the proposed $28 billion budget, over the next decade.