People stopped buying products a long time ago. They now buy experiences.
In this piece, I will walk you through four touch points you can optimize for a delightful experience that will effortlessly generate positive word of mouth for your brand.
Respecting Their Experience
Our first startup was in the restaurant marketing space. We helped restaurants increase revenue and brand awareness on their off-nights without running any discounts. Before we succeeded, we had to go through some restaurant soul-searching, namely interviewing people who dine out often to ask them what their motivation was behind dining out.
One of our most direct questions was "What is the number one reason you choose to dine out?" I thought this was just one of those "placeholder" questions we had to put when we, of course, knew that the reason was the great food that they would get in restaurants.
Turns out food came in second.
The number one reason why people would get dressed, get in their cars, and drive out of their way to a restaurant they've booked a week in advance, is to enjoy the experience that the restaurant promised.
Designing the Four Post-Purchase Stages
Experience Architecture (Solis's term) is the methodology through which you map out all your different customer touch points, and plan the experience that the customers will have there, by design, such that it is as delightful as possible.
Take a look at this Customer Purchase Journey mapped out by Oracle:
We are all familiar with Need, Research, Select, and Buy (the stages leading up to a purchase). You might have seen different versions of this in Inbound Marketing (see HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Methodhology). Where this model further innovates, is the segmentation of the "After" processes. They break down the post-buying stage which HubSpot calls "Delight" into more detailed and pin-pointed stages. Namely:
Depending on what service or product you offer, you may have fewer or more (or just different) interaction points. The key idea here is to figure out what experience will happen at each stage of the experience. When those four touch points are nailed, people are much more likely to speak about the great experience they've had. Think about:
- What happens when people first receive your product? What do you want them to feel?
- What happens when people first use your product? What about the 5th time they use it?
- How will you change the experience when the customer comes back after a month? Is it rewarding for them to return, or does it make no difference if it is the first or 10th time they use the product?
I've written before that we are all in the fashion business, and that people will buy your product for fashion because it expresses who they are as individuals.
Experience design is an exciting new responsibility that everyone in your team should have an input in. It starts by reverse engineering how you would want your customer to feel at different stages of the product.
Seeing it in Action
In our previous startup, HireTheChef, we allowed customers to create memorable dinner plans for their special occasions at Dublin's finest restaurants.
Here is an example of how we designed the experience at different stages when running HireTheChef:
- CREATE DINNER:
It starts by creating a dinner online using our website, they are greeted with a fluid, animated form experience that takes them through the different preferences as they create the perfect dinner plan for themselves and their groups.
- DINNER CONFIRMED:
After receiving their request, we would liaise with the restaurant to ensure everything is set up as per the customer's preference, including atmosphere, diet, and other aspects. Finally, we would come back to the customer with good news email confirming their booking along with a Stripe payment form. This way, making the payment is a smooth and painless process that they can complete regardless if they had received our email on the bus or in the office.
- TWO DAYS BEFORE DINNER:
After the payment is processed and leading up closer to the day, they would receive a warm-up email exciting them about what's to come at the restaurant, along with any other details they may need to know prior to the big night.
- THE BIG NIGHT:
Upon arrival at the restaurant, the staff would greet the main host of the party by name, lead them to their table, and bring out some special tasters or nibbles prior to the menu being received. Starters come out. Then the chef comes out to tell a story about the main course and it's origin, as the supporting staff presents them for the guests.
- ONE DAY AFTER DINNER:
We ask people how they found the food, any comments they had for the chef, and what their favorite part was.
This is how we delighted our customers and generated more word of mouth. It is by isolating and focusing on every touch point to optimize it and ensure that our customers are having a great time before, during, and after using our product.
How will you design your experience?
Only for Iliyana's community, if you reach out to TribeTactics, we will be glad to do a free consultation session with you on optimizing your experience design today to generate more word of mouth. Contact us here.