Are you losing the connection to your customers?
The risk of losing the connection between your business and your customers is a result of being too product-centric as opposed to being customer-centric.
Customers increasingly long for more with experiences that enhance daily lives and businesses need to make sure that they can retain a strong influence on how your customers view their products and services alike.
Here at Schindler Creations, we aim at involving our clients’ employees and customers from the very beginning and we do this by speaking to them. Customers provide a wealth of firsthand insights and they serve as a base for initial understanding of the current system and can help pave the way for new solutions. Giving customers the power through experiences enhances connection to them and loyalty, and provides customers with enthusiasm to use your services. We have made the experience, Customers seek convenience, flexibility, personalized and transparent service offerings and easy to use solutions. To do this you need to exercise a customer- centric mindset.
So, what needs to be done to understand customer’s better?
How can using this empathy generate value for your business? The contact and speaking with client’s customers (and employees) allows us to gain insight into how products or systems are currently being used. We do this through user research and can entail anything from observation or shadowing, interviews, diary studies or ideation workshops. This process takes an investment of time, but it lays the foundation for all further design work and allows us to use this knowledge and understand customers. These insights become a wealth of information that we can use as a source. The need for involving customers within the design process, testing and improving products and services and obtaining regular feedback of what customers think and logging and reacting to these inputs is necessary. It also enables us to verify our design solutions later. Companies can do this through regular interaction with users to get an understanding of customers and obtain feedback.
What do we find out from user research?
Taking time at the client’s company allows us at Schindler Creations to watch an operator on how he sets up a product for production, it allows us to speak to a customer service employee to understand what customers complain about most, we observe how a technician services machines and ask him what would help him in the process to make his job easier or we observe and question participants from a training course. The hours that we spend in the field gains us real insight into daily lives, and the challenges or best practices that are being faced with, and lets us as designers identify opportunities for future design solutions.
Our design method has allowed us to observe operators and interview several stakeholders (e.g. customer service or maintenance technicians). From the observation for a recent project, we gained that the current systems of our clients were far too different from each product (visually and functionally), icons and notifications were either too small or unnoticeable and a big hurdle being that it takes years for operators to fully learn how to operate the industrial products flawlessly because of the complexity of the systems. Additionally, the need for notifications, warnings or alerts are increasingly arising. Allowing the product to evaluate its system before the user noticed the issue would eliminate machine downtimes and help to save costs. As operators may become less skilled in the future and the digital age at its height, operating systems need to adapt and the need for intuitive and connected systems are a must.
To understand why people are doing things is of bigger value than to just understand what they are doing. Building trust is often the first step to maintaining customers, but once this trust is achieved, customers want their expectations met.
How can companies achieve this customer-centric way of innovation?
Maintaining active exchanges with customers is key. We at Schindler Creations believe that customers are your resource, they always have something to say about your products or services so you can listen to them, integrate them into the core of your development. Think of how products and services you sell to clients can be offered to satisfy your customer’s needs and what’s important to them. Lastly, foster an internal culture that puts customers at the heart of your decisions. The ability to do so (understand and react to customer’s needs) should result in a seamless experience at every touchpoint across the customer lifecycle.
Michelle, Designer | Strategy & Service Experience