Shared experiences are the new search

I think anthropology will become a hot topic. It is the last mile of data.

The moment of clarity

Anthropology has been a hot topic in the books we covered with our clients. One that stands out is “The moment of clarity.” That was written a few years ago, and there is no doubt, it indicated an upcoming business trend. 


Recently CRM has come more to the fore. Books such as “Social customer service” and “Chief Customer Officer 2.0”, which suggest that customer care need to get much more integrated into the core of the business.

X: The Experience When Business Meets Design by Brian Solis

A book about customer experience. Customer experience, not social media. When Solis writes, you should read. Starting with a nice tip-off to one of my other favourite author, Joe Pine, author of  ”The experience economy” (talk about an indicator of business trends) and “Infinite possibilities.” 

You can increase your price by 25%

Why are companies still tolerate mediocrity at the expense of the experience, even though it’s been clearly demonstrated that consumers will pay a premium for a better experience? Eighty-five per cent would pay up to 25 per cent more to ensure a superior customer service experience. Customer experience is the new competitive advantage, and the experiences are now the products.

Word of mouth

More than two in five consumers will tell other people about their good customer service experiences—all of the time. At least half tell other people about their poor customer service experiences

Your opportunity

93% of senior executives, across multiple industries, stated that improving CX was one of the company’s top three priorities for the next two years. Another 91% stated that they strive to be a CX leader. But the research also showed that only 37% of the executives interviewed were beginning to move. 

Where to spend your money

Investment in marketing was prioritised over-investment in improving customer experience. A significant percentage of money is spent on advertising over customer experience. Word-of-mouth recommendations from customers with good experiences are simply more influential and effective. The research also found that 83% of customers trust independent sources with whom they have a personal relationship with over advertising. You are wasting valuable time and money.

It is not about technology

And it is not about technology alone. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing. Which reminds us of “Metaskills.” 


Sometimes an experience is as simple as reminding people about your mission and purpose, but it has to be something that’s not only relevant but also engaging and compelling. The secret ingredient in creating any meaningful experience is empathy. Does your organisation have empathy?

Generation N 

Consider the customer journey for those who live a connected lifestyle. The smartphone is not a “second screen,” it’s the first screen. By living a digital lifestyle, they have become the centre of their digital ego-system. They share more information online and they receive more feedback than the analogue customers before them. They are connected, always on, unabashedly multitasking, and living across multiple screens each and every day. Your connected customers can’t help it. The nature of these social and mobile networks is that they prompt them to share their world, their way. How do you design an experience for them? You have to get or become them.

A magazine is a broken iPad

“For my one-year-old daughter, a magazine is an iPad that doesn’t work. It will remain so for her whole life.” That was years ago.

The toothbrush test

Creating great CX is not just about giving customers what they want when and how they want it. We can also innovate to deliver something so unique, something so enchanting, that once encountered they can’t live without it. The toothbrush test.


Designing for a medium is not the same as designing for experience, and the types of media you’re designing for are going to keep evolving. It’s better to think beyond them. Designing an experience that’s rooted in memories is akin to driving forward while looking in the rearview mirror. Maybe you are too old. The fact that we still call our iPhone and Droids phones first is almost laughable. For most users, the percentage of time that’s spent in telephone conversations versus in apps, texts, or in the browser is tiny. While most people worldwide now spend more time on their smartphones than a PC, they’re most often not calling anyone.

The aim of experience design

Imaginative, game-changing, unforgettable, functional, meaningful, shareable, actionable and intuitive to the user, the device, and the screen. Contextually relevant to the consumers in their state of mind and intention on whatever screen they’re using in that moment. Experience architecture is the art of engendering desired emotions, outcomes, and capabilities in customers throughout the customer journey. It’s about branding through experiences; but it’s also about storytelling through design, narrative, and user experience (UX) to evoke responses that shape experiences we want people to have and share.


  • Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT): Introduced by Google, this the moment when people are searching for what they want, which Google has a great interest in, given that online search is such a common way for them to do so.
  • First Moment of Truth (FMOT): This concept was introduced by P&G and is the moment when people see your product and form first impressions about it.
  • Second Moment of Truth (SMOT): This is more than a moment; it’s the collection of moments when people feel, think, see, hear, touch, smell, and (sometimes) taste as they experience your product. It’s also how your company supports them in their efforts throughout the relationship.
  • Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT): This is the instant when a customer creates content based on an experience with your product or service and publishes online, in apps, on YouTube, Amazon, and so on, in their social communities and networks for others to find


I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. If you love something, you share it. If you dislike something, you share it. The worst are those experiences that are so passive or uninspiring that people quietly react with a sense of meh or nothing at all.

Shared experiences are the new search

.It happens in apps, in social networks, in video channels such as YouTube, and in image networks such as Pinterest. ZMOT is more important than ever, and it’s also bigger than search. It’s about micro-experiences and using each to build upon the previous one to facilitate what’s next. These intent-rich moments are the “I want to . . . moments”:

  • I want to know more about ……
  • I want to go ….
  • I want to do ……
  • I want to buy ……

Why CX is not working for you

Customer experience strategists largely operate in silos, which by design introduces friction into the customer journey. Each department often acts as its own fiefdom, designing and managing their respective touch-points differently and adhering to differing standards and metrics, thereby causing challenges in ownership, responsibilities, and proving ROI of CX efforts.


Customer journeys are no longer linear. Cutting through but at the same time uniting each micro-moment are the shared (online) experiences of customers and their experts that become discoverable as customers search and ask for context (relevant information). This is their hero’s journey as it coalesces with the “experience layer”—when discovery meets the experiences of others or when you as a consumer contribute to the discoverable index of customers. This brings to life the efficacy of micro-experiences as they’re readily discoverable and optimised to greet people when, where, how, and why they’re seeking direction.





The channels

In customer experience architecture, we also have many system components: smartphones, tablets, PCs, gaming consoles, kiosks, and popular online channels, including social media, apps, websites and landing pages, QR codes, email, wearable technologies, smart watches, the Internet of Everything (smart cars, watches, clothing, cameras, thermostats, refrigerators, etc.) and whatever’s next. Then there’s still broadcast media, TV, radio, and print. There’s also real-world signage, call centres, email, and good-old-fashioned face-to-face human engagement.

What would my digital customer do?

These days you want to define and enliven experiences for customers—but not just react to or simply manage them. This process is defined by a strong emphasis on innovation as a competitive differentiator—and, crucially, a value proposition to customers. This design process must start by asking, Asking the question, “What would my digital customer do” is the first step toward creating a blueprint for a rich, connected customer journey.

P2p, UCD, HCD, BX, UX, CX, UI, DX, maps, grids, and flow

It gets technical for a while; dynamic customer journey, P2P, User Centric Design, Human Centred Design, Brand eXperience, User eXperience, Customer eXperience, User Interface, Data eXperience, journey maps, experience maps, experience flow, activity grids. Ultimately it comes down to story, design, capability, expression, cognition, utility and memorability, which is the experience.

Feelings again

And customer experience is not just about a rational experience (e.g., how quickly a phone is answered, what hours you’re open, delivery timescales, etc.). More than 50% of a customer experience is subconscious, or how a customer feels. A customer experience is not just about the what, but also about the how. A customer experience is about how a customer consciously and subconsciously sees his or her experience. When it comes to customer experiences, there is no B2B or B2C or B2B2C; it’s all about P2P—people to people,


Good customer experience ecosystem grabs customers’ attention and then delights them all through their journey with you. It should engage and move them in the same way a good book pulls you into its pages, the way you become the star of a movie or the way you become the hero in a video game. Each of these examples is a type of story; so is customer experience. This means that your team must play the role of storyteller.

Moving from data scientist to data artist

Which is why data must always tell a story.  We tell stories that seek to order chaos, provide meaning and engage the emotions of our listeners. Knowing the craft of narrative will help us build better stories, which will help us turn a set of lifeless features and functions into a whole experience that engages the minds and emotions of customers. Moving from data scientist to data artist. And that story must be about people. Good stories always are. This is where your UX expertise combines with data artistry to breathe life into your understanding of your customers. 


It wouldn’t be complete with Apple as an example (Brian Solis also uses Disney and Telstar as examples). So intent has Apple been to eradicate mediumism that it has held itself to the standard that the best design is often the one you hardly notice. This is Apple’s core. What you don’t see is just as important as what you do. The most amazing thing about the iPad Air series products is that, according to the company, users sometimes forget they’re holding them. Customers and what they’re able to do, and to become, are at the centre of the iPad Air’s design.

Apple does not sell

For example, Apple employees are taught specifically not to persuade, but rather to help customers solve problems or address needs and aspirations. “Your job is to understand all of your customers’ needs”. In fact, employees receive no sales commissions and have no sales quotas. In the training manuals, Apple lays out its “steps of service” using the acronym APPLE:

  • Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome.
  • Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs.
  • Present a solution for the customer to take home today.
  • Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns.
  • End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.

Apple packaging

Another example; Apple employs a small team to open boxes: To fully grasp how seriously Apple executives sweat the small stuff, consider this: For months, a packaging designer was holed up in this room performing the most mundane of tasks—opening boxes. At one point during the iPod launch, Apple’s packaging room was filled with hundreds of iPod box prototypes:

Your mission

The fundamental mission of experience architecture is to help us see things through others’ eyes, to feel what they feel, and hear the thoughts they don’t speak. The fact that this is so difficult to do is why experience design requires an architect. I hope it’s you. I hope you go on to make a dent in the experience-universe. We need you.


It is a cracker. It is a no-brainer. It is where the next business battle is going to be fought. And in a funny way, we are going back to the old way of doing business, before social media, advertising, marketing and globalisation.  Where the local company with the best reputation and best word of mouth would get the business.


sensemaking cover

Why reinvent the wheel and why not learn from the best business thinkers? And why not use that as a platform to make better business decisions? Alone or as a team.

Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

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Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

2 thoughts on “Shared experiences are the new search”

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