Last week I took my first post-lockdown camping trip, which was a great example of signposting customer experience.
As a brand marketing consultant, I predominantly work with service-led organisations to build and roll out their value propositions. There are many benefits; such as clarity of focus for your organisation or sales and marketing alignment to win new customers. One of the most important benefits can be an improved customer experience.
I’m a big fan of signposting customer experience. Good UX design will of course consider the most intuitive path for your customers, but the plain fact is that not everybody that comes to you is the same, thinks the same or has the same reference experiences to draw upon. Telling people where to go, what to do and how to behave can be really helpful, as can providing what they need, where and when they need it.
The other reason I’m a fan of signposting is that it forces teams across a business to walk through their product or service from the customers’ point of view. And asks them to consider the customer journey instead of the company’s process. Taking time to link this with insights into what customers most value can be invaluable in bringing your value proposition to life. It shifts from a PowerPoint slide to a clear and different experience.
This weekend’s camping was a good example. It was a simple farm field like many we camp at and we’d been before (pre-covid), so we knew they were good a thinking through the customer experience. Last time what was important was that they’d cordoned off the top of the field for the guests who were in a group – so their late-night taxi home didn’t disturb the other campers down the field and provided little touches like washing up liquid, plugs, tea towels and scourers that helped you keep the kitchen area ‘clean and tidy for others’ rather than just sticking up a notice asking you to do it.
This time, it was all about managing social distancing and encouraging everyone to play their part in increasing cleanliness. When we arrived it was clear where to wait in the car and be checked in without getting out. They had clearly marked alternate pitches as they were operating at half capacity to allow plenty of distance between each family. They created queueing markers on the grass for toilets and showers and placed hand sanitizers at the entry to all queues – so you didn’t enter the facilities without sanitising first. And they’d re-arranged the cubicles so you approached and entered from separate sides to stay apart.
They were visible cleaning not just the facilities but handles, gate locks and other touch points several times per day. On both trips, they took care with the environment, and so in turn, did we. We behaved in a manner consistent with their value proposition because it was clearly signposted for us.
These were little touches that made a world of difference. Thought costs a little time upfront but in my experience usually saves budget in the end. Everyone at the campsite was talking about it and wanted to book again or come back to support this small business that had already lost revenue this season.
Next time you’re talking about customer experience, consider what you signpost and how you do it. Ask ‘how does this reinforce our value proposition?’
Then find a way to signpost that. So that it does.
Jill Pringle FCIM is a brand marketing consultant and CEO of Brand Symphony Marketing. She works with scaling service-led businesses to help them create a more compelling value proposition and orchestrate their marketing strategy across the business. She’s the Author of The Brand Symphony Book and her trademarked Orchestrate Method.