A lesson in ‘experience design’ from our customers during ‘Feet on The Floor.’

How even the smallest things can make a big difference for customers.

To get the most from my ‘Feet on the Floor’ (the six days all Head Office colleagues spend in store in the run up to Christmas) I’ve decided to ‘walk the walk’ (see what I’ve done there) and focus all energy on being friendly, helpful and empathetic.

I am naturally intrigued by and drawn to what difference this actually makes when you are working on the shop floor and what clues I can gather for my work as a designer at Tesco.

In practical terms ‘walking the walk’ has translated in to a few simple things:

I greet customers as I encounter them. Typically with a ‘good morning’ a ‘good afternoon’ or a simple classic ‘hello.’

I offer assistance when I sense it’s needed. Typically with an ‘is everything OK there?’ or a ‘hi there, can I help?’

I respond politely and quickly myself when approached directly or I swiftly refer on to a more informed colleague. Typically ‘with a ‘yes/no sir/madam… I believe the product in question is over here’ or a ‘if you give me two minutes sir/madam I’ll check with a colleague/I’ll double check the back room for you.’

I smile at customers as I encounter them in the aisle.

At first I wasn’t sure how my ‘chirpiness’ would be construed. Happily, this slight sense of personal awkwardness isn’t mutual.

As anyone who has done this will know, the results are indisputably positive.

Every greeting I have made has been returned. Every small customer mission I have undertaken has been met with gratitude and warmth. I’ve encountered zero customers who are unprepared to interact at some level with me.

In a couple of instances I’ve even heard a faint murmur of happiness or spotted a fleeting glance of satisfaction as a customer has headed toward the tills with the product they wanted. When that has happened it has also made me feel good.

The powerful lesson here is that performing these simple interactions correctly has a disproportionately large impact.

If we bring this in to context of designing future experiences for Tesco it’s a reminder to have a broad lens when working on Tesco products and services of the future.

Our ‘experience design’ practices must start with an acknowledgement that our customers are human first and consumers second.  Compelling design therefore must meet both our customer’s human needs whilst completely satisfying their needs as consumers.

We know that friendly, tactile micro interactions produce this magical feel good effect. They reveal the path we must take to make customers feel good.

The opportunity for us in Tesco right now is to both remember this and to really invest in as many ways as possible to cater for and replicate this feel good effect.

As an important action in the lab this is a theme I want to carry in to 2015. It makes me feel very excited about the opportunities for designing new retail experiences at Tesco in the future.