The experience library, part 3: Comfort

In previous posts, here and here, I wrote about the Cerritos Library. The library provides some great examples of my 8-step process for analyzing the customer experience. So far we’ve covered the invitation/welcome, and orientation.

Today I’ll talk about Step 4: Comfort. If you don’t make your customers/visitors/ patients/guests comfortable, they won’t want to stay. They won’t want to shop, or read, or learn, or tell their friends about you. Comfort is critically important for learning, so if yours is an educational site, it’s especially important for you. In one early landmark study at a museum, learning increased by over 80% simply by adding chairs to an exhibit area. Studies at malls show that “stay time” increases by at least an hour with the addition of food service, while spending doubles.

Let’s take a look at how Cerritos Library meets the comfort needs of its guests. (Cerritos has adopted the terminology from the hospitality industry, preferring “guests” to the old-fashioned “patrons.”)

Computer workstations are mounted at different heights so everyone can be comfortable while searching the catalog. Note how this universal design also works for people using wheelchairs without setting them apart. Nice. And, how the cords have been treated in an artistic way.

Bathrooms are super clean and nicely furnished.

Themed seating offers comfortable spots to read and study.

To quote Paco Underhill, retail anthropologist and President of Envirosell:
“I love seating. I could talk about it all day. Air, food, water, shelter, seating. In that order. Before money. Before love. Seating.”

“I would remove a display to make space for a chair. I’d rip out a fixture. I’d kill a mannequin. A chair says, ‘We care.’ Given the chance, people will buy from people who care.”

from Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping

Tip of the day: Take a look at your business. If it’s not as comfortable as it can be, make a list of ways you can improve it. At the very least, add a chair or bench today.

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