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Why IKEA will never assemble that bedside table for you

An article by Kim Verbrugghe, Head of Product and Experience Design

The short answer: You shouldn’t always listen to your customer. In IKEA’s case, the business is successful thanks to its low-cost model of DIY shopping, pick-up, and assembly. You mess with that, you mess with your profit.

What you should do instead? Create some key ‘Moments of Memory’.

What are you thinking about right now? What about now?

Photo by Semen Borisov on Unsplash

You’ll have an average of 70,000 thoughts today. And over the course of your lifetime, you will hold up to 1 quadrillion pieces of information. Out of those, our short-term memory can hold up to 7 pieces of information at the same time — but only for around 20 seconds. Tricky.

It’s vital to get in amongst all that by creating positive brand moments that matter that your customers will remember. Why?

The positive effects of positive memories about brands:

· Brand awareness and recall

· Loyalty and repurchase

· Advocacy

· Positive feelings of nostalgia

And how do you do it?

Step 1: Recognise the moments that matter

After you’ve mapped out all the user journey steps, pain and gain points, review the customer journey map (CJM) again and highlight the moments that matter, eg.:

· When customers are happy to walk away from your brand

· When customers might have intense emotions, either positive to negative

· When customers have to make important decisions

· When customers are behaving in ways you’d rather they didn’t

· When customers’ behaviors have changed

· When customers talk to their friends

· When customers have to repeat the same task or action

· When customers have to put in the effort to achieve a goal

· Those moments that are probably rare to the customer

· Their first or last experience with your brand

Step 2: Work out your strategy

Delight, Satisfy or Ignore. Yes, you read that right. Some moments that matter can be ignored and you should do exactly nothing. But when do you apply which strategy?

1. Ignore

Understand your business’ operating model. How is the business making money and would interfering with this moment interfere with my business success? Ask yourself:

· Can I reduce my operational costs?

· Will I increase my profit by changing this moment?

· Will my customers walk away from me if I don’t do anything?

· Is my customer asking me to fix this?

· Can or will any of my competitors replicate my business model AND do this part better?

· Are there better / smarter ways to do this?

If the answer is NO to most of these questions, then you do absolutely nothing. If the answer is YES, then let’s move on to your two other strategies: Satisfy or Delight.

2. Satisfy

Satisfying a customer means that you are meeting their expectations. Understand the expectations your customers have of that moment. What are the baseline requirements to be part of that category? What is your competition doing at this moment?

You need to satisfy your customers if:

· This is important to them and they’ve asked for it

· They could walk away if you don’t address the issue

· It’s a baseline requirement for the category

· There are no excuses in terms of cost or operating model not to do it

· There are better or smarter ways to do it

3. Delight

Sometimes satisfying just isn’t enough. Delighting a customer means that you’re completely surpassing expectations and are taking the experience to a whole other, emotional level. These are the moments that will be remembered and shared.

You need to delight your customers if:

· The moment is currently contradicting your brand’s values

· The moment is considered really important to customers (e.g. returns)

· The moment is badly executed by your competition and gives you an opportunity to stand out

· The moment will influence how they remember you

· The moment is a moment of truth (hearing about it for the first time, seeing the product for the first time, buying the product, experiencing the product)

· The moment can achieve an important goal to the customer

In summary, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to identifying your moments that matter. As a commercial entity, it is also impossible to delight your customers in every moment of their experience. So you will need to make choices. Some moments that matter are universally similar, especially if you look at memory biases. Others are completely unique to your brand and category. But applying these guidelines will get you closer to the right choice for your CX: to ignore, to satisfy or to delight.




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