The Real Truth About Experience Design, and a Pitch!

Well, when a friend and loyal MCE reader asked what I do a couple of months ago, I was a bit surprised, but I whipped her up a little email explanation. No big deal.

When another reader asked me about my services a couple of weeks later, I was worried. This is true. When two people ask, you can’t shout, “Haven’t you been reading?” You have to shout at yourself, “Why, oh why haven’t you been clear, Kelly?” I resolved to be more clear and went on about my work.

Then a third friend-and-reader asked. Oh, my goodness. This is no coincidence! I had a real crisis of wondering what I’ve been writing about for the last year and a half. Whole lot of crisis here on many fronts, to be honest.

Having just told you last week, what I’d say to you if you were my client, maybe you’re wondering, should I let her say that stuff to me? (Or maybe, is there altogether too much truth around here?)

Last year I wrote you the smoother, cooler version of What-Does-Kelly-Do, so you could decide just that. If you want smooth and cool, please read Naomi Dunford’s “I Never Called It a Meme,” Meme. What follows, dear reader, is a bit cleaned up from the email answer to my friend a couple of months ago, but it isn’t smooth. It’s just Kelly, thinking out loud. Peek inside my mind…

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What VisionPoints is all about?  75% (made-up stat) of businesses are totally seat of the pants—their printed stuff doesn’t relate to the look of their place, never mind their web stuff if there is any; their staff have zero sense of purpose; and if the owners and management ever knew what they were doing and why, they’ve forgotten. No aim.

So we help them aim and fire. (Heh, I don’t think I’ve said it that way before. I’m gonna have to quote me on that.)

Designing a great Customer Experience is all about helping our clients increase their sales.

With an ideal client we start by researching their current Experience (“snooping,” or auditing, doing customer/staff/management interviews, competitive analysis, etc.), do the design work, and take the plan through to redesigned interiors, graphics, and a sort of a staff handbook, planning the human stuff. So what used to be a bit better than random is integrated, purposeful, and looks great. Awesome Customer Experience = Repeat customers, loyal fans, and word-of-mouth referrals = More sales.

In reality, lots of folks just want to work on one thing, and because I like to feed my kid food, not ideals, we’re happy to take on just the auditing, research and planning, letting the client do the execution how they see fit, or we’ll design a reworked floorplan, for instance, instead of “let’s do it all.”   🙂

Truth, now—I occasionally do think about how I could make better ($) use of the blog—drawing in a slightly different kind of project from all over—remote assessments, a book, or ???, but I’d need to rethink the offer because “or ???” isn’t too specific, and so that idea just percolates on the back burner all the time. We do get clients from writing the blog, especially big picture “Vision” audits and website evaluations, both of which I love, but (like everybody else who blogs) I’m sure I could be making a more compelling case for readers at MCE. I’m never satisfied!

I started in interior design, got drawn into graphic design just by doing my own stuff at first (fewer subcontractors, faster turnaround than interior design—cool!), and after a few turns around corporate and a couple of stints working for myself (tangled in with a bunch of other stuff), I realized that nothing made me happier than when I was putting all the ideas together. I love showing businesses ways to grow that they’ve never thought of before, and I hate hate hate watching them die needlessly. It’s an insane passion. Though insane is maybe not the best word, lol. I found out there was a name for this integrated stuff—Experience Design—I found folks who specialized in the nitty gritty to work with me, and *poof.*

Not nearly so much magic as that makes it sound. Short story—we research, design, and improve the Customer Experience for clients. We want clients to make more money, to relax and enjoy their Vision for the business, and to have happy staff, suppliers, and customers.

Hahaha, it’s a Chamber of Commerce mixer pitch! Only longer (good grief!), and without the uh-huhs to tell me if you get it!

Maybe I’ll blog this whole darned section. It’s not too bad, really.

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And so I have. Hope you got a kick out of peeking into my casual thoughts. And y’know, I’m just an email away if working with VisionPoints is right for you. (That’s the pitch, dear reader.)

Time to think about your own work—do your friends/readers/outside colleagues know what you do, really?



Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson