Posts Tagged ‘museum’

Museums offer Good Customer Experience Lessons

August 1, 2016

Museum - worlds

“Our location is all about the experience, the learning and the inspiration” said David Humphries, Chief Information Officer of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, TX in hosting a tour of the facility for delegates of the ICX Customer Experience Summit.

Since museums must deliver an experience worthy of it being a destination and re-visit, a museum offers insights to retailers and other customer-facing organizations that seek to earn a consumer visit.

“We intend to inspire minds through an encyclopedic space that tries to address a wide range of disciplines in nature and science” said Mike Spiewak, Perot Museum Senior Director of Exhibits.

Consumers are willing to pay for the privilege and pleasure of a museum visit, typically many times annually, while retailers are losing sleep on how to earn a consumer visit, through which visitor needs, wants and aspirations can be met.

Retailers can take note of how digital place-based media can add vitality, discovery, information exchange and improved visit experience.

Many of the Perot Museum exhibits either included or were centered around a digital media experience. These ranged from sensor-triggered musical notes as patrons go up or down stairs to a panoramic view of the planet Mars presented on synchronized LED flat panels. Common approaches included gestural interactivity, touch screens, video walls and information display. One of the most engaging exhibits launches Ping Pong balls based on brain wave activity detected through forehead and earlobe sensors.

The museum visit experience offers the following lessons and guiding principles on digitally-enabled customer engagement:

  • It has to work. Digital experiences that are not operational (one exhibit display was closed for upgrade at the Museum) easily disappoint and de-brand unless an adequate explanation is provided.
  • “Cause and Effect” defines one of the most powerful paradigms of patron digital engagement, and it can be the basis of the gestural, touch screen and other interactivity.
  • “Learning styles must be considered to achieve impactful engagement” notes Humphries, adding that “people can learn through text, photographs, video or animated images that are published or interactive”.
  • Macro motor movement such as running, walking, climbing, stepping and other movement of body, leg, arm, head, etc. are the most engaging. These physically immersive experiences can be augmented with digital media to support the cause and effect, or augment the experience with a scoring or visualization.

Patrons experiences can include building it, playing with it or operating it.

Some commercial examples of applying these principles are available.

  • The Royal Bank of Canada invites patrons to place the coins from their pocket or purse on a table, which when detected illustrates how saving the amount of the coins could result in savings growth over time.
  • McDonalds invites guests to build their burger or place and pay for their order through a touch screen kiosk. By “gamifying” the order process they are also able reduce order counter staff requirements.
  • Retailers sometimes pose multiple choice questions as a way to provide information about product features and benefits. A suitable winter coat is more easily sold when customers are asked the actual temperature based on the combination of thermometer reading, wind chill and humidity.
  • A patron photo can be placed into a magazine cover template or morphed into a movie character that can then be emailed to the patron to help amplify a brand.

Flat panels bring a new level of engagement wherever they contribute to a memorable visit experience. Where a museum or science center can charge an admission or annual membership fee based on their thoughtful application of digital place-based media, retailers and brands can be rewarded by customer purchases, visits and loyalty.

Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator related to digital place-based signage who has assisted hundreds of organizations, published over 350 articles, whitepapers and guidebooks and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals. Lyle@LyleBunn.com