Packaging up Customer Experience

Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
Customer experience comes in many packages. Literally.

Customer experience comes in many packages. Literally.

Last night, while flying home from the CXPA's Member Insight Exchange, I was reminded how powerful packaging can be as part of the customer experience. And it happened with my eyes closed.
As I leaned back and relaxed, the JetBlue flight attendants walked through the aisle handing out cans of Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite. All around me I heard click, zip, skoooooooooaaaaahh as fellow passengers popped open their cans of soda. I thought to myself, "Aaaaah, delicious refreshment. Mmmmm, Coke." I nearly opened my eyes and asked for a can, too. But, alas, at 9:30 p.m. caffeine is the enemy.

Here's the thing: It didn't matter that the flight attendants were handing out Coca-Cola products. They could have been handing out Pepsi or Dr. Pepper. But it's Coke that uses the pop-top sound in its ads; it's Coke that tells us that it refreshes and show us that it does with happy people delighting in drinking Coca-Cola. And after years of seeing and hearing that message, that aspect of Coke's customer experience--the packaging--is ingrained in my psyche. Powerful stuff.

Think of other packaging that's a powerful part of the customer experience. The joy of clutching a Tiffany blue box. The simplicity of Apple's packaging and the anticipation it builds as you open it. The torture of opening virtually any hermetically sealed, twist-tie-bound child's toy.

KrisTEE's, a clothing boutique in Astoria, NY, uses "packing" extremely well. Owner Kristie Foster ties each shopping bag with a colored bow. When she hands it to you, you feel as if you've just given yourself a gift by making that purchase. You leave excited about what you bought and looking forward to your next trip back. (I mean, hey, who doesn't love getting gifts!)

Product packaging--how it looks and how it works--is as much a moment of truth in the customer experience as a contact center interaction or a billing error or a policy exception or use of the product itself. How does your product packaging impact your customers' experience? Does it simply contain your product, or do you use it to create magic, elicit emotion, build a connection, and, most important, inspire repurchase?