I would like to share some ideas about how to design innovative experiences.
We all know (consciously or not) how to criticize an experience (good or bad) or the lack of it.
But the question is: how to create positive and memorable experiences that can be connected to a relationship with our customers as a result, of course…
Of course eliminating negative cues is basic, but apart from that I would start considering the 5 tools. Does the experience have to touch brand, communication, environment, culture and product at the same time?
Is the surprise element indispensable? In my opinion a positive and memorable experience makes the customer happy with his visit, and possibly makes him come back sooner or later, but some dynamism makes him desire to come back as soon as possible and try “again” a new experience.
Other elements I can think of are interaction and some level of customization (not everybody likes the same kind of experiences).
Does anybody want to share opinions with me?
Eliminating negative cues is basic but it so rarley happens!! A lot of the time negative cues have been fundamentally designed into the experience; take for example when you enter any retailer or bank or for that matter office complex in Spain and the first thing you usually see is a uniformed security guard, who rarely provide visitors or customers with help, guidance or even a greeting.
Contrast this with the traditional friendly gossippy porter that many city apartment blocks have, who also provide as much in the way of security yet do it in a friendly way.
The porter, also provides the personalisation and interaction aspects, he probably knows your name, if you live or work there, and he will steer visitors to you in a friendly manner because he knows you.
Many modernisation processes do end up creating negative cues, and many are seen as absolutely necesary, but they rarely are.
In my experience and personal opinion, as long as the experience touches or relates to at least one of the five tools in a positive manner then it is an effective way to create a positive impact upon the relationship. When I go to the store, the product may be fresher than it was another day, the employees may be warm and engaging, the store may be spotless, or possibly the brand itself may be presented in a strong light due to new signs and ads. Each of these changes only touches one aspect of the five tools, yet each, individually, contributes to my experience. I believe that it is the culmination of ALL contact with the business that creates an overall experience, which is what matters the most.
Surprise is not an absolutely necessary part of this, but when you consider the circumstances, a surprise from your regular day-to-day routine would definitely command a higher point in your memory of the day and, in turn, your experience. As you said, everyone prefers different experiences so the “surprise” element may not be ideal for them, but it does not discount the fact that unordinary events remain with us longer. If a bank was able to fully customize their approach to each customer, I believe that it would require an impractical amount of contact. Hence, I agree with your take on interaction being part of the customer experience, but there must always be a balance, especially for a for-profit company like a bank.