Strategy series: 'The user keeps on going'

Strategy series: 'The user keeps on going'

The previous blog of our strategy series was about the mobile mind shift and how to approach this on a strategic, tactical and operational level. We asked you to start with thinking outside-in and put the customers needs and their user experience first. Same as my strategy colleague Noor explained in her blog on ‘How to map the customer journey’, I’d like to emphasize to not forget it is all about your customers’ individual journey and brand experience. On top of that, be aware of the fact that this user always keeps going. Users (unfortunately for you) have no mercy for your possible struggles keeping up with new and fast-changing digital trends. This blog tries to give you a solution to live up to user expectations and to respond in just the ‘right way’ on moments of truth.

Live up to high expectations…

Firstly, we always tell our clients that nowadays their users expect…

  • Fast responses
  • Seamless experiences
  • Intuitive interactions
  • Great design
  • Intelligence
  • Availability
  • Relevancy
  • ... and we can go on like this for a while. So be aware of that.

The funny (or disturbing) thing is that they are not even aware of their high expectation level. Think of your own behaviour as a customer. You probably didn't consciously know that you also have these high expectations and actually don’t care either. If companies f*ck up, you expect them to fix things fast in order to keep the relationship good.

Top brands like Facebook, Google Maps and WhatsApp set the bar with their tops apps. By ongoing renewal and delivering great performances over and over again, they make it extra hard for competitors. But it is also difficult to keep up with brands which deliver great customer experiences like for example Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Apple.

Touch points are ‘moments of truth’

We consider every customer touch point between companies and customers as ‘moments of truth’ whether it is offline or online. Only one small mistake or disappointment can lead to a crisis situation where it can all go wrong and truly causes reputational damage to your brand. Also, if you are not present and do not monitor channels where customers are talking about you then you’re missing out.

What you want to establish, as a brand, is to be successful at these ‘moments of truth’. A logical response to this is to have a lineair approach with the purpose that you want your customers to be happy all the time. But maybe that’s not the best solution after all? The main goal is that you want to create memorable user experiences.

Peak-end-rule

Psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Barbara Lee Fredrickson developed the ‘Peak-end rule’ to get a grasp on how to point out memorable moments during an experience. According to their theory, the most critical moments that a person remembers is at the peak and the end of an experience. The way I see it, it is not necessary for a brand to avoid disappointments but to create a memorable experience by focusing and excelling at its peak (significant moments) and its end of the customer journey.

Peak-end rule

The peak and end is what your customers will remember most during the customer lifecycle of your brand. An always-happy-experience is hard to reach and not realistic either. So the way to adapt this ‘peak-end-rule’ is to have a look at your customer lifecycle and choose the significant moments where you can stand out as a brand. The lifecycle will differ for every company but the phases as described below will generally be applicable to every customer for every kind of business:

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Need Awareness Consideration Selection Experience Service Loyalty Advocacy Need

In my opinion the contact between a company and its customer is a continuous cycle from answering a customers need to the moment that a loyal customer advocates for your product or service. The latter are exactly the ones you try to retain and after losing them you will try to win them back. As you probably noticed, speaking about an end of an experience becomes a little point of discussion here so be clear on what end-point you’ll define when you choose how to handle at 'moments of truth'. Additionally, make sure you can measure customer happiness in this specific peak- and end-moments to know how you perform over different time frames.

Act like your user

Measurement is key and therefore you need to define your targets. But before we will elaborate on defining targets in the next blog our last advice on managing user expectations is: User-centric thinking. Please incorporate a user-centric DNA in your company. Make it your first nature to look at things from your customers’ perspective. What will be the effect on you personal in this specific ‘moment of truth’ if you were a user? Everybody knows what it is like to be a customer so this is very easy to carry out.

Try your own product everyday!

If you need any help and strategic advice regarding your product or services 'Moments of truth' please don't hesitate to contact us. We'd love to learn more about your customers and the customer lifecycle of your business to define the next steps to create great user experiences together.