Buzz. Ding. Beep. Annoying pop-up. Close pop-up. Buzz-Buzz. You can skip this ad in 10 seconds. Skip Ad. [Phantom buzz, check phone] Repeat.
You already know we check our phones over 80 times per day on average; that’s about every 11 minutes – and that’s just our phone. And you’ve probably heard people say we’re exposed to ~5,000 ads a day or about one ad every 20 seconds. Ugh. I don’t want to think about it either. And these numbers are only expected to increase with time. But they don’t have to. The battle for time starts with us.
Let’s take the concept of mindfulness and explore what happens when we apply it to advertising.
As retailers we have the power to make each moment matter. Let’s be more mindful about advertising; how we use technology to interact with our customers; and how we can make the customer experience more meaningful at just the right moment.
Now face your phone down. Minimize any other open windows on your computer, and focus on the present. Imagine you’re on a website and receive a pop-up, not just any pop-up, one with sound and video. Release the frustration you feel as you try to close the ad. Ah, you closed it. That’s better. Big exhale. Now as you scroll down the page, remember the images you see are not part of the blog; they are ads in the way of the content you think is valuable. There are several of them so just keep wasting your time scrolling down the page until finally get the information you clicked to read. Accept the anger you feel as you realize this and let it go. Now let’s think about ways to avoid making our customers feel this way. Where would you have preferred to see the ad? Perhaps at the end once you were finished reading the article. Here’s one idea: let’s flip that business model and reward content creators for having the user reach the bottom of the article and place the ads there.
Come back to the present. Now let’s focus on our senses. Notice the things around you: what you see, feel, hear, smell, taste, or touch. Imagine you are technology. Your brain is a remote computer that is connected to a world of information through the internet or Wi-Fi; you’re able to communicate with other smart devices via Bluetooth; and you’re made up with a series of sensors that see objects – like a camera, feel pressure, smell odors, hear sounds, listen to your commands or even taste the sweetness of a peach. Pretty amazing, right? Technology is capable of automating the simplest of tasks and saving us some valuable time. Next time you’re in a boardroom meeting and someone says let’s make an app, I want you to think about what you’re asking your customers to do.
1. Find their phone
2. Wake up their phone
3. Unlock their phone
4. Close out their most recent app
5. Close out the most recent app group
6. Swipe through their phone to find your app
7. Tap on your app
8. Wait for it to load…
9. Find X action to take
10. Take X action
Then think about a better way to accomplish the user’s goal faster. Is there a way to use seamless technology to avoid them having to reach for their phone at all?
Any interaction we have with one another has an impact– for better or worse. It is in that moment of interaction where we have the greatest opportunity to make it a meaningful one. If it is an advertisement for your company, make it a positive message. Do not prey on insecurities to make a sale. Remember mindfulness gives birth to joy and happiness. We are so busy today, caught up in what we need to do next that we forget to live in the present. Let’s foster spontaneous moments in the customer experience to help them live in the present. Whether it is a moment for them to reflect on the relationships they value or a moment that brings their senses alive like a relaxing aromatherapy infused seating area. If we take the time to be mindful of what the customer might be feeling or need, we can help them capture more happiness in each moment of their day.
Take a final deep breath. That was a lot we went over but you’re walking away with more than just a relaxed state-of-mind. You know how to apply mindfulness to your business for a better customer experience – and that the best experiences shouldn’t require a phone. So you can tell Dan to quiet it down over there and to take a break. After all, mindfulness has been proven to make people happier and help them notice new things. If your customers are happier, they might just notice a few new things.
The ideas I shared with you were inspired by Golden Krishna’s book, The Best Interface Is No Interface. I highly recommend this book! Another favorite book of mine is Meta Products, Meaningful Design For Our Connected World. Both books were published in 2012 but it is amazing to me how forward thinking they were then and how relevant they still are today.