Experience centers are state-of-the-art innovation spaces that enable customers to reimagine their relationships with brands.
These centers provide access to the full portfolio of products, providing a unique experience driven by storytelling and technology showcases.
Experience centers are incredibly efficient in helping customers discover new products, learn best practices, and connect with experts on a much deeper level than traditional stores.
Since most business transactions happen online anyway, experience center managers don't need to concentrate on maximising the floor space for shelves full of products. Instead, it is common for experience centers to include a lobby/greeting area, presentation room, group discussions, temp offices for visitors, and catered dining.
They tend to have an open floor plan giving a more welcome feeling, while sometimes divided into zones for different product or technology solutions. Some even facilitate virtual visits using remote technologies like VR or 360-degree tours.
Let's take a DeWALT experience center in Seoul, South Korea, as an example.
DeWALT’s experience center is divided into zones. © jungclub
DeWALT's experience center is divided into a demo and innovation zones where customers can either try DeWALT's products themselves or learn about the latest technology trends from an expert.
It starts with the coffee & lounge area with a huge screen showing demo videos. © jungclub
There is also a lounge where customers can comfortably watch product demo videos while enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
In the demo zone, customers can experience full DeWALT’s product portfolio. © jungclub
In the demo zone, people can try nearly all the tools that DeWALT offers - something like that would be unimaginable in a more traditional shop setting. Even sawing a log has been made possible!
Experts are there to teach customers how to use products correctly. © jungclub
Since there are so many tools to choose from, DeWALT's experts are there to teach customers how to use these tools correctly on the spot.
Experience centers are perfect to showcase upcoming products.© fujihinoki
Experience centers are also perfect for displaying upcoming products that haven't been released yet. Visitors can then easily preorder them online.
Traditional retail metrics, such as sales per square foot, are hardly applicable to measuring an experience center's success. Most of the sales will happen online anyway. While it could be possible to attribute a share of online sales to a coupon given at the experience center, the essential KPI is customer satisfaction.
A customer who has had a fantastic time at one of the experience centers will happily brag about it to their friends and family, post tons of pictures and videos on social media, and enter into a new deeper relationship with the brand for years to come. One can't merely attribute all these aspects to a single coupon code sale.
Managers at experience centers need to continuously analyse feedback from as many touchpoints as possible: from measuring overall customer experience to cleanliness of the premises and freshness of the coffee served at the lounge area.
Tools & KPIs
Net Promoter Score® (NPS) is a good indicator of the overall success of an experience center. We recommend placing a feedback terminal at thecenter's exit point and asking your visitors whether they would recommend visiting the experience center to their friends.
Since your center is all about customer experience, you should strive to deliver a great service with an NPS of 70 points or higher. There is no official NPS benchmark for experience centers, but the average NPS for an educational experience is 71 points (the highest NPS average across all major categories).
Next, measure experience at each of the key zones. Has everyone been able to sit comfortably in the lounge area? Does the coffee taste great? Is there enough demo equipment? How friendly are the staff at the experts' desk?
The easiest way of measuring experience at multiple touchpoints within a single experience center is through a QR feedback survey. Every visitor already has a smartphone with a built-in QR code reader. They just need to point their smartphone camera to trigger a quick survey.
QR feedback stickers are quick to print and easy to place without breaking the overall design flow of an experience center. In fact, the key to a QR survey's success is the post-click experience: the survey has to be mobile-friendly, load in lighting speed and be as short as possible.
We recommend your QR surveys include two questions: a smiley survey where you could continuously monitor your customers' sentiment, followed by an open-text question asking customers to identify a single thing that could be improved at this particular touchpoint. This way, you'll be able to observe a continuous satisfaction trend and take precise action to make corrections.
To manage an experience center, you’ll need a dashboard.
OMBEA Insights dashboard aggregates feedback from multiple touchpoints.
Having a single customer experience dashboard is a must. Endless Excel sheets representing different touchpoints would be extremely difficult to work with, making it nearly impossible to glance over the customer experience in real-time. In order to become truly customer-centric, leading CX experts like Sachin Rekhi recommend logging into your CX dashboard several times a day until it becomes addictive.
Ideally, your dashboard will aggregate customer feedback from multiple touchpoints to give you an overall summary of your performance. Then you must be able to filter the data to spot irregularities at any precise touchpoint.
Last but not least, you need to set up an alert system. Since you are in the experience business, you can't afford to wait days or weeks before fixing a problem. A professional CX dashboard will help you set up alerts automatically and send them to the responsible staff members directly.