The Importance of Influencers in Customer Centric Design Strategy

Blog /The Importance of Influencers in Customer Centric Design Strategy
NTT DATA UX Design blog

Your online ad went viral. Your support app is a blockbuster. But the people who bought the actual product are unhappy, and the sales are slowing down.

It is the day and age of social media and your customers are sharing selfies with as many of their inanimate possessions as they are with their real life companions. Brand experience is no longer limited to a target group — it permeates the myriad of connections customers have in their world. These are connections with people who mean something — sometimes everything — to a customer. People who, through a simple smile or a look, can influence buying decisions or add to or take away from the pride of ownership a customer may possess.

Is it getting tougher for organizations to see the forest for the trees when it comes to customer experience? While most executives are aggressively planning how to have their next ad go viral, or how they can let their customers “have it all” through an app, is there enough being done to define and architect the experiences that customers will have of the product or service itself?

What about Customer Experience?

As defined by interaction-design.org; “Customer experience is a larger concept. It is the experience that a user (or customer) has whenever they interact with our company or brand. Again we can measure some of this in satisfaction reports, in recommendation rates (would you tell a friend about us?), etc. In essence user experience is a subset of customer experience. If you added up the sum of all knowledge on each individual user experience with your products and services; you would (theoretically) be able to explain your customer experience. Sadly, that’s not quite how it works and it’s why we need to remain conscious of both when we design products and services.”

Now, think of automobile manufacturing, which has some of the best engineering minds behind it, such as the designers and safety experts. The cars they manufacture have best-in-class mileage, and plush interiors. All in great taste. But all these design features get passed over by half of the buyers because the car doesn’t have enough nooks to put water bottles away, the 11-year-old can’t find a place to stow her iPad in a jiffy. From a user experience perspective, a car that is safe and easy to drive should be a runaway best seller! But what the designer didn’t factor in are the influencers. Think of influencers as those people who aren’t real users of the product features, but those who have something to say about it.

Think about it — great design, great engineering, great value for money — it’s all about giving the customer what they want, isn’t it? But does it end there? What are we to do for the influencers? Do we know who they are, how many there are, and how they influence the customer, even in non-digital space? What must we do to create the products and services that not only customers love, but also influencers go gaga over?

Are we witnessing the birth of a new kind of customer-centric thinking and memories have larger impact than just One-off great experience? What would we call it? Influencer Experience EngineeringSM?

Join the Webinar: “Design Great Customer Experiences: Inclusive Design and Why It Matters” to learn more on User Experience Strategy.

Post Date: 2017-10-30

Vivekanand Rangaswamy

About the author

Vivekanand Rangaswamy is a seasoned professional with more than two decades of experience crafting human experiences. His work in Information Technology Enabled Services and Product Companies concerns customer experience management for cross-channel delivery. He has led multi-domain trans-generational consulting engagements across many geographies.

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