Observe the customer journey to improve the customer experience

I have had a number of stressful experiences in carparks of late. Let me share one with you.

I was in a large, multi-level, under ground level car park. The car park belonged to a bank.

I parked my car and wanted to head to the lobby. I looked at  the signs.

I started walking and tried to follow the signs, but they did not seem to get me where I wanted to go.

Stress set in.

I finally asked two people who pointed me in the direction and said, “That way.”

“That way” was a big area, but I started walking. I finally found a group of people heading in one direction, followed them and found my way to where I wanted to go.

I wondered how many people who were new to the carpark experienced the same sense of “How do I get to the lobby?” desolation.

So here is the point.

Business is about winning and keeping customers. It’s about making things easy for the customer. Everything that we do and design – whether it be signage, forms or processes – should aim to make it easy for the customer.

A simple way to “stress test”  what you have designed is to walk in the customer’s shoes. In the case of the carpark, have people who are not familiar with it to park their cars (during a busy period, so that they experience the stress that normal customers feel) and then to find their way to the lobby. Get their feedback on how easy the process was.

And do the same when you are designing your forms and your processes.

It’s important to have customer do this. They are your litmus test.

In many cases, you can actually be with the customer when they are going through the experience, and be “in the moment” when getting feedback.

If I was to start using jargon, your observational research would be called ethnography. That would make you an ethnographer! And you would be testing the customer experience during a part of the customer journey.

Try it – and you will get insights into opportunities to improve the customer experience.

More of this in later posts.

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