Design can often be overlooked as simple aesthetics. Applying eye-catching visuals to a website, brochure, application or company branding. While this is obviously true, it is only the most miniscule aspect of the entire spectrum of design and what it can do for your business, brand and overall customer experience.
The choices you make in relation to your design and branding affect your customer’s perception from the moment they come into contact with your brand, before they’ve even thought about engaging. Based on this first encounter, you might find that customers will either pursue a relationship with your brand, or they could decide to disembark completely… and this has everything to do with your design and how it positions your brand.
According to our experience design team, design is: “…the construct of ideas and information into a visual language that is easily understood. The design language you choose needs to differentiate you from your competitors and encourage your customers to gravitate towards your brand.”
It begins with understanding who you want to engage with.
Understanding Your Customer
Our own marketing and creative expert, Shaughan Schultz, brings to light the example of Apple and how they have mastered customer experience through their design. “Companies like Apple go to great lengths to ensure that their design choices are clean, simple and communicate well to their users. This is part of the reason why the company is so successful in delivering great customer and user experiences.”
Apple knows what their customers want. They understand that they have limited time to spare, that experiences should be simple, and that sleek, understated design is a winning factor in ensuring that their customers will return, even in the face of intense competition. People pay more for Apple products because they’ve engaged with the brand and products and they know they’ll get superior quality experiences with every purchase. They’ve even got to the point where their advertising needs no introduction or clever pay off lines; the customer experience sells itself.
The customer always has to be at the centre of the business offering.
- Why are you selling your products?
- Why are you offering your services?
- What response are you hoping to elicit?
- How do you want them to engage with your brand?
All the answers point to the customer, so it’s imperative that you understand this “person” and design your experiences with them in mind. Creating customer profiles will help you dig deeper into how each demographic will respond to your business, and thus assist you in creating and designing an experience that matches that person’s (or people’s) desires.
Using intelligent, easy-to-understand, self-explanatory design principles and elements, your website, application or brochure can make a measureable impact on those who come into contact with it. This can only assist in engaging your customers, while offering them the service they need in a streamlined and satisfying manner.
When you consider anything that is placed in front of your ideal customer, it can only succeed if they respond well to it. Your customer is the key factor in determining your success, which further enforces the fact that customer-centric design is essential. If there are areas where your business is battling to serve your customers, or even attract customers, it’s advisable to audit those areas in terms of design and customer-centric usability.
- Is it easy for your customers to understand the point you’re communicating?
- Have you clearly defined the benefits of your services or products to your customers?
- If the answers to both of the above are yes, is it as easy for them to take action or find out more?
Customer experience is a complete journey from start to finish and it can be replicated time and again with repeat customers. It’s an experience that is driven by emotion, and is one that can be tracked, measured and improved upon. Using big data, heat map tools, analytics, brand mentions, research and social media listening, we can readily grasp an understanding of how our design impacts on the customer.
This information can be used to fine-tune the overall design in line what the customer responds best to. By removing the frustration involved with navigating bad design you will enhance customer satisfaction, creating a memorable experience for your target market. This will in turn enhance the customer experience as well as customer loyalty… which is what we all want, isn’t it?
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