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Joseph's Blog

Outstanding Experience Design {Infographic}

experience design, customer experience, infographic

 

 


Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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Your Keys to Outstanding Experience Design

mcdonalds, experience design

Experience design keys for the future.

My work in customer experience design has spanned decades, industries, and continents.

That said, there are certain sectors where my team and I have spent a lot of time –not least of which are automotive, hospitality, financial services, building trades, retail, and restaurants.

When it comes to the restaurant sector, we have seen many sizzling upgrades at flagship locations. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery stores are outstanding examples of what can occur when a brand stretches in futuristic ways.

New Shine to The Golden Arches

Recently McDonald’s previewed a new flagship store in Chicago designed as a combination project of Chicago based Ross Barney Architects and Sydney, Australia-based interior designers Landini Associates. The Nation’s Restaurant News provides a five photo gallery depiction of the McDonald’s flagship store take at its unveiling. Suffice it to say; this is NOT your grandmother or grandfather’s McDonald’s.

In fact, McDonald’s is referring to this location as the Experience of the Future. While the vast airy environmental design changes are impressive, I was struck by a new service delivery model at the Chicago flagship wherein all ordering is done at kiosks (no person-to-person ordering), and table service delivers the food.

McDonald’s dramatic overhaul of the flagship store’s physical layout and service design prompted me to share thoughts about an overarching concept I refer to as experience design and to offer a few key elements I view as central to crafting relevant, engaging, and loyalty building experiences.

Experience Design Defined

Over the years I’ve seen a number of definitions for experience design, and I have cobbled together my own from the best definitions I’ve encountered. For me, experience design encompasses a range of disciplines which guide the creation of processes, products, services, and events optimized to produce quality interactions/moments/memories.

The first phase of experience design involves the quest for immersive knowledge about the wants, needs, desires, and preference of individuals for which the design is being crafted. It requires an understanding of what those individuals seek to accomplish/enjoy in their daily lives.

Beyond the initial customer research phase, experience design moves through three other stages:

Visioning

Prototyping

Implementation

Using McDonald’s Experience of the Future store as an example, I suspect the flagship store is designed for younger customer segments based on extensive consumer research. I further suspect that the consumer research was offered to cross-functional design teams tasked with imagining what a store of the future might look like if built expressly for that consumer segment (thinking beyond existing floorplans and service delivery mechanisms).

I also suspect that McDonald’s prototyped many of the floorplan changes and service modifications (e.g., kiosk ordering) in a variety of test markets and made ample tweaks along the way. Finally, I assume that the flagship store, not only represents an implementation of the Experience of the Future but will continue to function as an iterative learning lab for the brand.

Service Design Keys

Since I am not an expert in environmental design (I will leave that to the architects and interior designers), I will focus on a few keys to outstanding service experience design…so here it goes!

Outstanding service design requires that the design be:

  • Holistically focused on all stakeholders in the service ecosystem (e.g., taking care of customers at the expense of service providers is not sustainable)
  • The by-product of collaboration across an organization
  • Experimental and iterative in nature
  • Built to address interconnected needs across the customer journey
  • Authentic, tangible, and measurable

The Future and You

I suspect that future blogs will expand on topics of experiential design or service experience design, but for now, I am looking forward to visiting McDonald’s flagship Experience of the Future store and continuing to guide my clients to build relevant, engaging, and loyalty building experiences for their core customer segments now and into the future.

If you would like to discuss your experience design opportunities and processes, I would love to set aside time to chat. Simply contact us, and we’ll talk soon.


Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

If Only Someone Had Told Me Sooner! {Infographic}

 


Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

If Only Someone Had Told Me Sooner!

life lesson, listen

I recently heard an interview with a very successful colleague who I had the good fortune of working with, in a mastermind group as a young speaker/consultant. My colleague was asked what he wished someone had told him earlier in his career?

Realizing I had been there earlier in his career, I wanted to know what I should have said to him to make his success even greater, so I listened to his answer intently. He responded to the inquiry by saying, “I wish I had been told I wasn’t as good as I thought I was and that I needed to constantly seek to improve my core competencies. I would be so much better today.”

Wait…in my opinion this guy was as good as he thought he was...if not better. Surely, his storied career was a testament to how effectively he had honed his core competencies. Then again, what might have been possible if he had been more self-aware and hungrier for knowledge?

While my colleague and I will likely debate his response, I thought the question prompted meaningful reflection. For me, it produced an answer that I believe is at the heart of customer experience success.

From My Aging Perch

While I have come to learn my pearl of wisdom through a long journey as a speaker/consultant/author, I wish I had started my career behaving in accord with the knowledge that success and significance occur when you listen more than you speak.

Of course, someone would also have had to have also told me that listening happens on many levels.

It happens at the word level, where we listen to others to gain an understanding of their wants, needs, desires, preferences, and opinions. It occurs on an emotional level, where we hear the feelings behind words and demonstrate our listening through empathetic connection to the emotional state of another. Listening happens with our eyes, as we observe the actions and nonverbal communication of others.

It even happens through reading, when we receive the thoughts and ideas of others to fuel our growth.

As I look back on my career, I wish I had listened more to client needs before I sought to offer solutions, that I had stopped selling after deals were closed, and I had understood that some of the most powerful ways we can care for one another are simply to be fully present, to comfort in silence, and demonstrate an authentic interest in the person in front of us.

Fruits of Listening

I am glad I listened to the question posed to my friend. It prompted me not only to process that question through my own career journey but to search for lessons others have offered when faced with the same or similar questions. Here are a few of the answers of a number of successful people which  I “heard” through reading.

Author Roy T. Bennett said:

“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” 

and

“Let the improvement of yourself keep you so busy that you have no time to criticize others.”

Musician Phil Collins noted:

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” 

Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein learned:

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”

Stanford Professor Tina Seelig who wrote a book titled What I Wish I Knew When I was 20 wrote:

“First, opportunities are abundant. At any place and time you can look around and identify problems that need solving….regardless of the size of the problem, there are usually creative ways to use the resources already at your disposal.” 

and

“Even though it is always difficult to abandon a project, it is much easier in the early stages of a venture, before there is an enormous escalation of committed time and energy.” 


Listening to Others and to YOU

So what is your answer to the question, what do you wish you knew earlier in your life?

Better yet, are you willing to ask the question and listen to the answers of others?

I’d love to “hear” your thoughts about business success and listen for opportunities to serve you. To set-up a safe listening space, please contact us. I look forward to hearing from you!

 


Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

Unique Value, Elasticity, and Branded Customer Experience [Infographic]

branded customer experience

 


Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

Branded Customer Experience Delivery

P or B? Unique Value, Elasticity, and Branded Customer Experience

Long before the iPod, iPad, and iPhone, there was an “I” brand from my youth that had a strong and unique brand image. With its narrow restaurant layout, high pitched distinctively blue roof, and tables adorned with multiple types of syrup. It was none other than IHOP, the International House of Pancakes.

IHOP

What’s that Name Again?

Now wait, am I getting old? I think they changed the name to IHOB, the International House of Burgers. No, no, no…that was so last month they are definitely back to the name International House of Pancakes.

When it comes to most topics, my crystal ball is no more accurate than anyone else’s but when it comes to brand, brand elasticity, and branded customer experience my predictions at least represent educated guesses. Such was the case when in early June it “leaked out” that IHOP was changing its name to IHOB and additional leaks indicated that the brand was shifting from expertise in pancakes to expertise in burgers. That prompted me in June to blurt out to friends, “This has to be a marketing gimmick.”

On this occasion, my impulsive utterance was correct!

Sticky Lessons

Let’s look at what we can all learn from IHOP’s short-lived journey to Burgers and back to Pancakes. Take out your forks and let’s dive in…

If IHOP was going to undertake a massive brand overhaul (one that removed and replaced their signature item from their brand name/identity) they would have had a compelling business reason that required them to do so like a serious loss of revenue in their morning and a need to gain greater revenue from their afternoon and evening.

An Adweek article written at the time of the purported name change certainly made a case for IHOP wanting to take a bite into the burger market, but I couldn’t see how they could easily reposition themselves from a breakfast brand into a mid-day and evening destination.

While I was certain that IHOP was seeking more afternoon and evening guests, I was also certain they did not wish to lose their morning market. Moreover, (unlike breakfast) their sister brand Applebee’s is poised to maximize guests in mid and late day dining times.

IHOP would have to have conducted substantial customer research to assure that the brand was sufficiently elastic to change the core product in the company’s brand identity. Having been a graduate student who helped test market the new Coke I learned that products preferred in blind taste tests (e.g., the sweeter new Coke vs. the less sweet traditional Coke) don’t necessarily gain acceptance with consumers.

In essence, customers limit how far a brand can stretch before the brand breaks consumer trust.

Changing a brand name or a logo can be positively disruptive and garner consumer attention, but the sustained success of those efforts rely on creating a branded customer experience.

If IHOP was going to shift the direction of the brand, they needed to do more than change the P into a B on their logo or talk about their black Angus steakburgers. They would have had to create a differentiated hamburger experience – (think Five Guys and their “fresh ground beef,” “no freezers on site,” “peanut oil cooking,” “bins of peanuts,”  “unlimited toppings,” and “overflowing fries.”)

Rebranding and Brand Experience

In essence, rebranding is a delicate art and seldom is it done on as radical a scale as IHOP appeared to be undertaking.

In fact, it is so delicate that IHOP never intended to do it. Instead, they appeared to rebrand to garner publicity for an expansion and upgrade of their burger menu. The proof of IHOP’s marketing gimmick can be found in the following tweet which morphs from this

 

to this

So, IHOP never turned it’s back on pancakes (except for the time they faked it to promote their new burgers).

And the Winner IS …

The jury is out on how effective IHOP’s faking it campaign worked for them. Over the short term, IHOP garnered substantial free publicity and buzz.

Official communications from IHOP leaders suggested that the campaign substantially increased awareness of their steakburgers and the company saw a sales increase for those products. Other analysts suggest the campaign has not had and will not have a lasting effect on consumers consideration of IHOP when they are thinking about a hamburger purchase.

Your Brand Buzz and Delivery

In any case, brand hype and rebranding (within the context of the elasticity of your brand) can be an important first step in garnering the attention of consumers. The real challenge, however, for IHOP (and for all of us) is to deliver a branded experience that assures customers will want to come back for our pancakes, hamburgers, cars, jewelry, dry cleaning services, etc.

If you would like to explore brand expansion and/or delivery of a branded customer experience, please contact us to talk.


Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

Catching Great Leadership Skills [Infographic]

leadership skills infographic

 


Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

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Catching Great Leadership Skills

leadership

Leadership skills learned from a great leader

At a time in history when political leaders often polarize, I’ve been blessed to work with community and business leaders who unite, empower, and transform.

A couple of weeks ago I made a point to have dinner with one of those leaders. His name is Johnny Yokoyama. It was a momentous week for Johnny with multiple causes for celebration!

Now that the details have been published in an article from last week’s Seattle Times, I am free to discuss the milestones that we were celebrating: Johnny’s 78th birthday and the sale of Johnny’s business, a special retail establishment which has become emblematic of Seattle, the Pike Place Fish Market.

when fish fly

This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a commission.

In case Johnny’s business sounds familiar, it’s a tiny retail stand above Elliott Bay where the staff (referred to as fishmongers) throw fish in the Pike Place Market district of Seattle. For me, it is also the focus of my first business book When Fish Fly co-authored with none other than Johnny Yokoyama.

Excerpting from the Seattle Times article, you can learn a lot about Johnny’s leadership style.

First of all, Johnny insisted on transferring his business to an ownership group made up of four of his employees. One of whom, Ryan Reese noted: “He could have sold it to just about anyone, but he went out of his way to sell it to us…The city is changing so fast; it’s an honor to be part of a small, 1,000-square-foot legacy that makes this city special. This place is one of their first stops in Seattle for a lot of people from all over the world and we love being ambassadors for the city.” Another new owner Jaison Scott (a 45-year-old man who first started visiting the market when he was seven) noted, “He treated all of us like sons.”

The column space in a major daily newspaper is tight, and there is so much more to tell about Johnny, a man whose childhood was shattered when his father’s business and family home were seized, and his parents, brother, and sister were taken to Japanese Internment camps at Minidoka and Tule Lake. Fortunately, I had the honor of chronicling much of his amazing leadership story in the pages of When Fish Fly (and better yet I was honored to share it from Johnny’s voice).

Given the limitations of this blog, I will mention three elements of his leadership brilliance that I will always treasure:

  • Leading Self First
  • Commit It, Be It, Coach It
  • Firmly and Lovingly Nurture Others

I (like many of those who have worked with or for Johnny) view him to be a surrogate father. He entrusted me early in my organizational development and authorship career. He challenged me, held me to exacting standards, encouraged me, and shared his home, family, and laughter with me. The least I can do is re-introduce you to him and encourage you to pick up When Fish Fly. I assure you that you will be inspired by a humble, uplifting leader who has made a world-famous difference at the world-famous pike place fish market.


Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

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So Many Customer Experience Lessons So Little Time [Infographic]

customer experience lessons

 


Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.

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So Many Customer Experience Lessons – So Little Time!

customer experience lessons

I once wrote that to be joyful we must capture the natural occurring humor of reality. Extrapolating the idea of seizing natural occurring opportunities, I’m a fan of gleaning customer experience lessons from news headlines.

Here are three quick examples of customer experience lessons just waiting to be plucked from recent news stories:

  • Only one Blockbuster Video store remains
  • Papa John’s Pizza removes likeness of the company’s founder in the aftermath of his use of a racially offensive word
  • Voice search is on the rise

Blockbuster Video

I am fortunate to have a client in the Bend, Oregon area and I’m looking forward to an upcoming visit there during which I plan to take a picture in front of the last Blockbuster Video store in the Continental United States (there are two other stores in Alaska).

A chain of 9,000 stores in 2004 has been reduced to a brand with three brick and mortar locations.

I am really not sure why I want to take a picture in front of the Blockbuster in Bend. Maybe there is some nostalgia to the value Blockbuster once brought to the life of my family.

That value proposition was framed around my family’s ability to stop into our local store (strategically located next to a supermarket). My children would look for their favorite movies and video games.

As parents, we would glance at the upcoming release boards and hope that the movie we wanted to watch was still in stock. Invariably, we would select a mix of movies and games, make an impulse buy of popcorn or candy, and be warned at checkout about the variable return dates of the products we selected and the importance of rewinding our VHS tapes.

For each benefit we enjoyed from Blockbuster, we found in very short order, that the pain incurred was monumental.

Like the time we were told we couldn’t check out any more items until we paid a $220 fine for a video game my son had not returned (the replacement cost of the game was 25% of the fine) or those times we had to rush back to Blockbuster to avoid yet another fine.

It is easy to see how Netflix and other streaming services evolved in ways that eviscerated the once mighty Blockbuster. 

What is often harder to identify are the elements of Blockbuster that live in our own business. For example, where do we cling to sales processes or service delivery that produces unnecessary pain for our customers?

How do we position our businesses to be less vulnerable to technologies that will make our products or services irrelevant?

Papa John’s Pizza

Once upon a time, people believed that what someone said in their personal life or in certain contexts would not travel back to business life. That may have been true decades ago but with mobile communication and digital technology every word we say matters to our future in business.

Our words shape the perspective of existing customers as well as prospects.

Whether uttered on social media (e.g., Roseanne Barr) or in a seemingly private conference call with a marketing firm (e.g., John Schnatter – founder of Papa Johns) every utterance matters. The Papa John’s customer experience lesson requires us to ask where and how might I communicate a thought or feeling in a way that will be hurtful, divisive or destructive to my brand?

How do I avoid falling into the trap of believing that what I say in one context won’t have an impact back to current or future business?

Voice Search

This week while reading PR Daily I ran across an article on the growth of voice search and how to optimize your brand to respond to this trend.

Bruce Gannon’s article synopsizes an infographic crafted last year by the SEO Tribunal (a group that evaluates SEO companies). That infographic, 106 Quick and Fascinating Voice Search Facts and Stats, is an amazing resource on the emergence of people asking voice-activated assistants like Alexa or Siri to search the internet for them.

Here are some of the key things to learn from emerging information on the phenomena:

  • 325 million people are searching through the internet using voice search
  • 20% of Google searches are done through voice search with 95% accuracy of answers
  • Voice search is used most often when a person is driving
  • More than 35% of Millennials use voice search compared to 10% of Baby Boomers
  • Since voice search can understand more than 10-word sentences, SEO may be affected by natural language, not just keywords

What does voice search teach us from a customer experience perspective?

It signals the power of questions and the importance of thinking about the questions people maybe be verbalizing to access services such as ours.

Okay, this blog is long because there is always so many teachable lessons and so little time!

If you would like to spend some time talking about what you are learning, or what you would like to learn, about the customer experience in your business, please contact us, and I will squeeze out some time to chat with you.


Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies. Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

++ Want to receive exclusive content on how you can deliver extraordinary, memorable, and profitable experiences? Sign up for The Michelli Experience newsletter.