Every touch point along your company's customer journey contributes to the customer experience you deliver. Whether you're working to retain an existing customer or woo a new one, the goal is to provide experiences that make it easy for your customers to choose you.

But far too often businesses focus all their efforts on just a few parts of the customer experience, such as the core product. It's understandable why companies focus there, as products enable the transformation your customer seeks to achieve.

However, your onboarding, fulfillment, and even account management processes shouldn't be thought of as separate aspects of the product you deliver to customers. They all work together to help your customers succeed.

Cracks and holes at various touch points along your customers' journey cause confusion, pain, and frustration, that introduces unnecessary friction into your customer experience. That friction will cause your customers to pause when it is time to consider whether or not they want to do business with you. No bueno.

Details matter. Even minor ones. That's why it is essential to devote the same level of rigor into smaller components of your customer experience that make a big impact on your customers' success. You can start by focusing on a common offender when it comes to small details that make a big impact: signage.

Signage contributes to your overall customer experience

Signage is important. Its sole purpose is to give instruction to the people viewing them as to how to operate. Think of it as a brief instruction manual of sorts for how to be successful.

The other day I went to a friends house and stood in the elevator for what felt like forever before pressing the button that would take me to her floor. I started at the numbers of the floors paralyzed because I couldn't figure out where the number eight was.

Another time, I went to my dentist and was perplexed when I saw their sign telling people to turn off their cell phones. I was unclear if it was because of a safety hazard that could impact our care, or if it was just about being polite to the other people in the office.

And then there was this sign on top of a mountain in Barcelona. Years later, I still don't know what I'm supposed to do after reading it.

Whenever you determine that signage is warranted in your business, give careful consideration to how the sign can contribute to rather than detract from a positive experience for your customer.

While in London last year, I snapped photos of a few signs that were designed to improve the user experience. The first was clarifying instructions about which way to look before crossing the street. This was especially helpful for people who aren't used to people driving on the same side of the street as they do in the UK.

And while in a subway station in London, I appreciated this sign letting passengers know that there were a mountain of stairs ahead, and encouraging them to take an elevator, especially if they had health challenges that would make the climb difficult for them.

At its core, delivering remarkable experiences that compel your customers to come back for more of what you have to offer isn't about delivering over the top once in a lifetime moments. That kind of delight can be a nice addition to the base of what you offer.

Delivering superior customer experiences is all about reducing as much friction as possible that exists between where your customer is now and where they want to be. Proper use of delight helps to further reduce the friction.

As you work to improve the customer experience your company delivers, start small by focusing on the basic parts of your customer journey. Take a look at your signage and other instructions that you offer, and look for ways to improve them for the purpose of helping your customer get to their goals even faster.

Small changes on elements of your customer experience can have a big impact on your customers' success and happiness, as well as your company's growth.

Published on: Aug 30, 2018