Customer service has never been more important – 96% of consumers say that it’s at the top of their list when it comes to choosing one brand over another.

Think about it: when something goes wrong with a product or service and you’re desperately trying to find help but can’t, it can cause you to abandon ship.

Brands have realised the need to make it easier for their customers to receive the help they need. The better customer service brands provide, the more likely they are to cultivate loyal customers; and loyal customers often result in new business.

We wanted to find the secret behind a successful customer service by analysing its 3 common approaches – traditional, digital native, and innovative. To help brands design and deliver the right customer service for their business, we outlined the 6 pillars of a leading customer service.

6 pillars of a leading customer service

Top 6 key pillars of successful customer service

Analysis of 3 customer service approaches

Traditional

A traditional customer service usually involves an in-store visit or phone call with a human to solve your needs.

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

This approach works quite well for traditional businesses selling a product, which have in-store branches and need to direct customers there for personalised and tailored help.

 

TOP TRADITIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE BRANDS

Lululemon, leading traditional customer service

Lululemon

Lululemon relies on a sense of community and the expertise of its staff to help customers find what they’re looking for. In terms of empathy, community, and brand loyalty, it leads the pack. The business has a network of ’Lulu angels’ who promote its products and connect with other customers to share experiences.

 

Specsavers top traditional customer service brand

Specsavers

For the best advice, Specsavers always directs customers in-store – which, for something as important as eye-sight, is probably a good idea. Specasvers has evolved its online service by adding more options, such as virtual try-on, to help online customers find the best product, mimicking the in-store experience. But for anything beyond picking frames, such as an eye test, its go-to customer service approach is face-to-face, directing people in-store or offering a home visit for those who can’t travel.

Digital native

A digital-native approach often includes live chat, FAQs, digital DIY and full product access so that customers can guide themselves to find a solution.

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

Although a digital approach is convenient for customers and benefits the bottom line, digital alone can’t solve every challenge. Digital-native brands with leading customer service usually include an agent at the stage of the customer service journey where digital fails.

 

LEADING BRANDS WITH A DIGITAL-FIRST CUSTOMER SERVICE

Digital-native Amazon is leading in customer service

Amazon

Amazon is often touted as a leading digital customer service brand: in 2020, it topped the UK’s list for best customer service. Its ability to personalise experience for its users often means that customers can usually find a solution by self-serving through its Help Centre. Talking to a human is often the last step of the journey. What this approach is missing is a helping human hand guiding customers to make the right purchase decision – it relies heavily on reviews from other customers, which often brings up issues around trust or personal taste.

Starling Bank leading the way when it comes to digital-native customer service

Starling Bank

Starling provides a 365/24/7 contact centre through live chat in-app or on desktop and phone support should you get stuck, which is incredibly convenient! It goes beyond a traditional approach of waiting on the customer to make the first move by sending app notifications if something isn’t quite right, providing more immediate and proactive support. Being digital, Starling has the benefit of tracking customer data to understand how to improve its service. It has great reviews and although its approach isn’t particularly innovative (Monzo is similar), it’s incredibly successful.

Innovators

A hybrid approach combines the efficiency of digital with the reassurance, personalisation, and customisation of a human. Note: this isn’t sticking a digital solution on top of an offline experience, like Specsavers, or including an agent at the end of the digital journey, like Amazon.

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

A hybrid customer service approach works well as human intervention is not the last step but there to support customer every step of the way. Therefore, it works best for businesses selling big ticket items and and customers doing more considered buying.

 

INNOVATORS LEADING THE WAY WITH HYBRID CUSTOMER SERVICE

Bionic and the new era of hybrid customer service

Bionic

As a small business energy comparison site, Bionic recognises its customers need support at every stage of the process. Its customer service starts with the standard steps (address, business name, etc.) but to get a quote, customer get to speak to a real human. An agent gets in touch, in real-time, to talk customers through the quotes on their screen – customer don’t hang up and then wait for someone to call back, it’s all done fluidly. Bionic figured out the bit that only human-to-human interaction can do and built its service around delivering that with as much digital efficiency as possible.

Currys new era of hybrid customer service

Currys PC World

Currys connects online customers to live, in-store customer service experts. In 2020, Currys launched ShopLive, a service that connects customers to video chat with one of the its tech experts in-store, who help customers make the right decision when shopping, even from the comfort of their own homes. Customers are able to get a personalised service, remote or in-store if they wish, with the human touch for peace-of-mind when making big-ticket purchases.

Key takeaways

Poor customer service can strangle business growth – it costs 5 times more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones. Innovation in customer service and technology means that brands can unlock loyalty and growth by finding which approach works best for them.

In summary, there needs to be some offering of both human and digital services to appeal to all audiences and ensure brands are meeting its customers where they are.

To find out more about Future Platforms and how we help brands build a leading customer service, get in touch.

Customer service has never been more important – 96% of consumers say that it’s at the top of their list when it comes to choosing one brand over another.

Think about it: when something goes wrong with a product or service and you’re desperately trying to find help but can’t, it can cause you to abandon ship.

Brands have realised the need to make it easier for their customers to receive the help they need. The better customer service brands provide, the more likely they are to cultivate loyal customers; and loyal customers often result in new business.

We wanted to find the secret behind a successful customer service by analysing its 3 common approaches – traditional, digital native, and innovative. To help brands design and deliver the right customer service for their business, we outlined the 6 pillars of a leading customer service.

6 pillars of a leading customer service

Top booking experiences review - Future Platforms
What the top 5 booking experiences have in common - Future Platforms

Analysis of 3 customer service approaches

Traditional

A traditional customer service usually involves an in-store visit or phone call with a human to solve your needs.

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

This approach works quite well for traditional businesses selling a product, which have in-store branches and need to direct customers there for personalised and tailored help.

 

TOP TRADITIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE BRANDS

Rating booking experiences Miro board - Future Platforms
A glimpse at the rating review process, featuring a very busy Miro board

Lululemon

Lululemon relies on a sense of community and the expertise of its staff to help customers find what they’re looking for. In terms of empathy, community, and brand loyalty, it leads the pack. The business has a network of ’Lulu angels’ who promote its products and connect with other customers to share experiences.

 

Specsavers top traditional customer service brand

Specsavers

For the best advice, Specsavers always directs customers in-store – which, for something as important as eye-sight, is probably a good idea. Specasvers has evolved its online service by adding more options, such as virtual try-on, to help online customers find the best product, mimicking the in-store experience. But for anything beyond picking frames, such as an eye test, its go-to customer service approach is face-to-face, directing people in-store or offering a home visit for those who can’t travel.

Digital native

A digital-native approach often includes live chat, FAQs, digital DIY and full product access so that customers can guide themselves to find a solution.

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

Although a digital approach is convenient for customers and benefits the bottom line, digital alone can’t solve every challenge. Digital-native brands with leading customer service usually include an agent at the stage of the customer service journey where digital fails.

 

LEADING BRANDS WITH A DIGITAL-FIRST CUSTOMER SERVICE

Southbank Centre booking experience - Future Platforms Southbank Centre website

Amazon

Amazon is often touted as a leading digital customer service brand: in 2020, it topped the UK’s list for best customer service. Its ability to personalise experience for its users often means that customers can usually find a solution by self-serving through its Help Centre. Talking to a human is often the last step of the journey. What this approach is missing is a helping human hand guiding customers to make the right purchase decision – it relies heavily on reviews from other customers, which often brings up issues around trust or personal taste.

Starling Bank leading the way when it comes to digital-native customer service

Starling Bank

Starling provides a 365/24/7 contact centre through live chat in-app or on desktop and phone support should you get stuck, which is incredibly convenient! It goes beyond a traditional approach of waiting on the customer to make the first move by sending app notifications if something isn’t quite right, providing more immediate and proactive support. Being digital, Starling has the benefit of tracking customer data to understand how to improve its service. It has great reviews and although its approach isn’t particularly innovative (Monzo is similar), it’s incredibly successful.

Innovators

A hybrid approach combines the efficiency of digital with the reassurance, personalisation, and customisation of a human. Note: this isn’t sticking a digital solution on top of an offline experience, like Specsavers, or including an agent at the end of the digital journey, like Amazon.

Pros:

 

Cons:

 

A hybrid customer service approach works well as human intervention is not the last step but there to support customer every step of the way. Therefore, it works best for businesses selling big ticket items and and customers doing more considered buying.

 

INNOVATORS LEADING THE WAY WITH HYBRID CUSTOMER SERVICE

Bionic

As a small business energy comparison site, Bionic recognises its customers need support at every stage of the process. Its customer service starts with the standard steps (address, business name, etc.) but to get a quote, customer get to speak to a real human. An agent gets in touch, in real-time, to talk customers through the quotes on their screen – customer don’t hang up and then wait for someone to call back, it’s all done fluidly. Bionic figured out the bit that only human-to-human interaction can do and built its service around delivering that with as much digital efficiency as possible.

Bottom 5 booking experiences - Future Platforms

Currys PC World

Currys connects online customers to live, in-store customer service experts. In 2020, Currys launched ShopLive, a service that connects customers to video chat with one of the its tech experts in-store, who help customers make the right decision when shopping, even from the comfort of their own homes. Customers are able to get a personalised service, remote or in-store if they wish, with the human touch for peace-of-mind when making big-ticket purchases.

Key takeaways

Poor customer service can strangle business growth – it costs 5 times more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones. Innovation in customer service and technology means that brands can unlock loyalty and growth by finding which approach works best for them.

In summary, there needs to be some offering of both human and digital services to appeal to all audiences and ensure brands are meeting its customers where they are.

To find out more about Future Platforms and how we help brands build a leading customer service, get in touch.

Customer service has never been more important – 96% of consumers say that it’s at the top of their list when it comes to choosing one brand over another.

Think about it: when something goes wrong with a product or service and you’re desperately trying to find help but can’t, it can cause you to abandon ship.

Brands have realised the need to make it easier for their customers to receive the help they need. The better customer service brands provide, the more likely they are to cultivate loyal customers; and loyal customers often result in new business.

We wanted to find the secret behind a successful customer service by analysing its 3 common approaches – traditional, digital native, and innovative. To help brands design and deliver the right customer service for their business, we outlined the 6 pillars of a leading customer service.

6 pillars of a leading customer service

Customer service has never been more important – 96% of consumers say that it’s at the top of their list when it comes to choosing one brand over another.

Think about it: when something goes wrong with a product or service and you’re desperately trying to find help but can’t, it can cause you to abandon ship.

Brands have realised the need to make it easier for their customers to receive the help they need. The better customer service brands provide, the more likely they are to cultivate loyal customers; and loyal customers often result in new business.

We wanted to find the secret behind a successful customer service by analysing its 3 common approaches – traditional, digital native, and innovative. To help brands design and deliver the right customer service for their business, we outlined the 6 pillars of a leading customer service.

6 pillars of a leading customer service

The death of the iPod and what industries can learn - Future Plaforms Image credit: Unsplash – Brett Jordan

When Steve Jobs debuted the iPod on the 23rd of October, 2001, he said “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again,” and he was right, but it has influenced so much more than the music industry:

Changed the consumer market

Though Apple wasn’t the first brand to release a portable music device, it did release the most influential and longest-running one. The reason why the iPod took the world by storm was because its creators analysed where its predecessors were failing to make an impact and ensured the iPod improved or provided these features.

With the availability of a large number of products that work to serve the same purpose, consumers make a choice to go with a product that serves their needs best. This is what the iPod did – it filled a niche in the market to become the product of choice. Through this, it raised the public’s expectations for digital products in general.

Influenced design

Apple’s design is instantly recognisable: sleek, minimalist, and polished. The iPod’s aesthetic can be attributed to some of its success. Its design was definitely ahead of its time, paving the way for one-touch customer experiences.

The design doesn’t have any non functional buttons or flashy unnecessary features. One button allows you to intuitively search your entire collection of music. The touch wheel was a UX innovation, designed to look like a compact disk or vinyl record. It’s so intuitive that it could be picked up by anyone without needing a “how to” guide. It seamlessly solves a problem of inaccessibility.

Changed the user experience

The iPod showed how a digital product could embody the concept of putting the user first in a way that prioritises usability and enjoyment. It sold a product by selling a solution to customer problems.

As Tony Fadell, the inventor of the Apple iPod, said “It’s easy to solve a problem that everyone sees, but it’s hard to solve a problem that almost no one sees.”

Innovations happen when you try to solve a customer frustration – although MP3s existed before the iPod, they had shortcomings, mainly in the form of storage, battery life, size and aesthetics which the iPod solved.

The iPod continues to be an inspiration in the technology industry; particularly when we look at its influence on design and user experience. Although the little music player might feel like a throw-back today, its impact on the world still resonates and we can all keep those lessons in mind.

Customer service has never been more important – 96% of consumers say that it’s at the top of their list when it comes to choosing one brand over another.

Think about it: when something goes wrong with a product or service and you’re desperately trying to find help but can’t, it can cause you to abandon ship.

Brands have realised the need to make it easier for their customers to receive the help they need. The better customer service brands provide, the more likely they are to cultivate loyal customers; and loyal customers often result in new business.

We wanted to find the secret behind a successful customer service by analysing its 3 common approaches – traditional, digital native, and innovative. To help brands design and deliver the right customer service for their business, we outlined the 6 pillars of a leading customer service.

6 pillars of a leading customer service

The death of the iPod and what industries can learn - Future Plaforms Image credit: Unsplash – Brett Jordan

When Steve Jobs debuted the iPod on the 23rd of October, 2001, he said “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again,” and he was right, but it has influenced so much more than the music industry:

Changed the consumer market

Though Apple wasn’t the first brand to release a portable music device, it did release the most influential and longest-running one. The reason why the iPod took the world by storm was because its creators analysed where its predecessors were failing to make an impact and ensured the iPod improved or provided these features.

With the availability of a large number of products that work to serve the same purpose, consumers make a choice to go with a product that serves their needs best. This is what the iPod did – it filled a niche in the market to become the product of choice. Through this, it raised the public’s expectations for digital products in general.

Influenced design

Apple’s design is instantly recognisable: sleek, minimalist, and polished. The iPod’s aesthetic can be attributed to some of its success. Its design was definitely ahead of its time, paving the way for one-touch customer experiences.

The design doesn’t have any non functional buttons or flashy unnecessary features. One button allows you to intuitively search your entire collection of music. The touch wheel was a UX innovation, designed to look like a compact disk or vinyl record. It’s so intuitive that it could be picked up by anyone without needing a “how to” guide. It seamlessly solves a problem of inaccessibility.

Changed the user experience

The iPod showed how a digital product could embody the concept of putting the user first in a way that prioritises usability and enjoyment. It sold a product by selling a solution to customer problems.

As Tony Fadell, the inventor of the Apple iPod, said “It’s easy to solve a problem that everyone sees, but it’s hard to solve a problem that almost no one sees.”

Innovations happen when you try to solve a customer frustration – although MP3s existed before the iPod, they had shortcomings, mainly in the form of storage, battery life, size and aesthetics which the iPod solved.

The iPod continues to be an inspiration in the technology industry; particularly when we look at its influence on design and user experience. Although the little music player might feel like a throw-back today, its impact on the world still resonates and we can all keep those lessons in mind.

Customer service has never been more important – 96% of consumers say that it’s at the top of their list when it comes to choosing one brand over another.

Think about it: when something goes wrong with a product or service and you’re desperately trying to find help but can’t, it can cause you to abandon ship.

Brands have realised the need to make it easier for their customers to receive the help they need. The better customer service brands provide, the more likely they are to cultivate loyal customers; and loyal customers often result in new business.

We wanted to find the secret behind a successful customer service by analysing its 3 common approaches – traditional, digital native, and innovative. To help brands design and deliver the right customer service for their business, we outlined the 6 pillars of a leading customer service.

6 pillars of a leading customer service

The death of the iPod and what industries can learn - Future Plaforms Image credit: Unsplash – Brett Jordan

When Steve Jobs debuted the iPod on the 23rd of October, 2001, he said “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again,” and he was right, but it has influenced so much more than the music industry:

Changed the consumer market

Though Apple wasn’t the first brand to release a portable music device, it did release the most influential and longest-running one. The reason why the iPod took the world by storm was because its creators analysed where its predecessors were failing to make an impact and ensured the iPod improved or provided these features.

With the availability of a large number of products that work to serve the same purpose, consumers make a choice to go with a product that serves their needs best. This is what the iPod did – it filled a niche in the market to become the product of choice. Through this, it raised the public’s expectations for digital products in general.

Influenced design

Apple’s design is instantly recognisable: sleek, minimalist, and polished. The iPod’s aesthetic can be attributed to some of its success. Its design was definitely ahead of its time, paving the way for one-touch customer experiences.

The design doesn’t have any non functional buttons or flashy unnecessary features. One button allows you to intuitively search your entire collection of music. The touch wheel was a UX innovation, designed to look like a compact disk or vinyl record. It’s so intuitive that it could be picked up by anyone without needing a “how to” guide. It seamlessly solves a problem of inaccessibility.

Changed the user experience

The iPod showed how a digital product could embody the concept of putting the user first in a way that prioritises usability and enjoyment. It sold a product by selling a solution to customer problems.

As Tony Fadell, the inventor of the Apple iPod, said “It’s easy to solve a problem that everyone sees, but it’s hard to solve a problem that almost no one sees.”

Innovations happen when you try to solve a customer frustration – although MP3s existed before the iPod, they had shortcomings, mainly in the form of storage, battery life, size and aesthetics which the iPod solved.

The iPod continues to be an inspiration in the technology industry; particularly when we look at its influence on design and user experience. Although the little music player might feel like a throw-back today, its impact on the world still resonates and we can all keep those lessons in mind.

Domino's Pizza pizza tracker

A bit of friction in the right context can create a lot of confidence and reassurance for users. Journey mapping can help brands determine where to add friction: thinking about what the task is that the user is completing and what the outcome is that you’re trying to evoke.

The takeaway

Positive friction can play an important role in enhancing the user journey. When designed well, it can make experiences feel more secure and memorable.

When you’re designing your product, consider the following when it comes to friction. Does it:

  1. Prevent mistakes the user might otherwise make?
  2. Drive positive behavioural change?
  3. Protect a user’s account or data?
  4. Engage a user to make wait times feel shorter?
  5. Give the user an opportunity to learn?

If the answer is yes, then include friction in your product.

We can discuss the role friction can play in your business. To design the right experience for your users and keep them coming back, get in touch with our team today.

Customer service has never been more important – 96% of consumers say that it’s at the top of their list when it comes to choosing one brand over another.

Think about it: when something goes wrong with a product or service and you’re desperately trying to find help but can’t, it can cause you to abandon ship.

Brands have realised the need to make it easier for their customers to receive the help they need. The better customer service brands provide, the more likely they are to cultivate loyal customers; and loyal customers often result in new business.

We wanted to find the secret behind a successful customer service by analysing its 3 common approaches – traditional, digital native, and innovative. To help brands design and deliver the right customer service for their business, we outlined the 6 pillars of a leading customer service.

6 pillars of a leading customer service

The death of the iPod and what industries can learn - Future Plaforms Image credit: Unsplash – Brett Jordan

When Steve Jobs debuted the iPod on the 23rd of October, 2001, he said “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again,” and he was right, but it has influenced so much more than the music industry:

Changed the consumer market

Though Apple wasn’t the first brand to release a portable music device, it did release the most influential and longest-running one. The reason why the iPod took the world by storm was because its creators analysed where its predecessors were failing to make an impact and ensured the iPod improved or provided these features.

With the availability of a large number of products that work to serve the same purpose, consumers make a choice to go with a product that serves their needs best. This is what the iPod did – it filled a niche in the market to become the product of choice. Through this, it raised the public’s expectations for digital products in general.

Influenced design

Apple’s design is instantly recognisable: sleek, minimalist, and polished. The iPod’s aesthetic can be attributed to some of its success. Its design was definitely ahead of its time, paving the way for one-touch customer experiences.

The design doesn’t have any non functional buttons or flashy unnecessary features. One button allows you to intuitively search your entire collection of music. The touch wheel was a UX innovation, designed to look like a compact disk or vinyl record. It’s so intuitive that it could be picked up by anyone without needing a “how to” guide. It seamlessly solves a problem of inaccessibility.

Changed the user experience

The iPod showed how a digital product could embody the concept of putting the user first in a way that prioritises usability and enjoyment. It sold a product by selling a solution to customer problems.

As Tony Fadell, the inventor of the Apple iPod, said “It’s easy to solve a problem that everyone sees, but it’s hard to solve a problem that almost no one sees.”

Innovations happen when you try to solve a customer frustration – although MP3s existed before the iPod, they had shortcomings, mainly in the form of storage, battery life, size and aesthetics which the iPod solved.

The iPod continues to be an inspiration in the technology industry; particularly when we look at its influence on design and user experience. Although the little music player might feel like a throw-back today, its impact on the world still resonates and we can all keep those lessons in mind.

Domino's Pizza pizza tracker

A bit of friction in the right context can create a lot of confidence and reassurance for users. Journey mapping can help brands determine where to add friction: thinking about what the task is that the user is completing and what the outcome is that you’re trying to evoke.

The takeaway

Positive friction can play an important role in enhancing the user journey. When designed well, it can make experiences feel more secure and memorable.

When you’re designing your product, consider the following when it comes to friction. Does it:

  1. Prevent mistakes the user might otherwise make?
  2. Drive positive behavioural change?
  3. Protect a user’s account or data?
  4. Engage a user to make wait times feel shorter?
  5. Give the user an opportunity to learn?

If the answer is yes, then include friction in your product.

We can discuss the role friction can play in your business. To design the right experience for your users and keep them coming back, get in touch with our team today.

Products that stick by answering new questions - Future Platforms

We’ve identified 5 traits to help brands create those experiences:

  1. Easy to execute
  2. Break down barriers
  3. Create the context
  4. Find the moment
  5. Build the reps

We’ve previously discussed this in-depth in our webinar, Digital Products that Stick, which you can now watch on-demand.

Key takeaways

When you’re designing memorable digital experiences for your customers for brand loyalty and stand out appeal, you need branding, emotional touchpoints, and friction at the right moment.

By balancing both utility and differentiation, you can create long lasting engagement that creates high brand affinity.

To form distinctive interactions:

  1. Highlight your brand values in your digital experiences.
  2. Create emotional connections for users interacting with your product.
  3. Include positive friction where needed.
  4. Answer questions asked by your audience and solve these in a way that fits your brand.

This elevates your brand from another faceless service that could be found anywhere else, to one that customers trust, return to and even advocate for because they remember it. To find out how to bring this altogether for your brand, get in touch with our team today.

Customer service has never been more important – 96% of consumers say that it’s at the top of their list when it comes to choosing one brand over another.

Think about it: when something goes wrong with a product or service and you’re desperately trying to find help but can’t, it can cause you to abandon ship.

Brands have realised the need to make it easier for their customers to receive the help they need. The better customer service brands provide, the more likely they are to cultivate loyal customers; and loyal customers often result in new business.

We wanted to find the secret behind a successful customer service by analysing its 3 common approaches – traditional, digital native, and innovative. To help brands design and deliver the right customer service for their business, we outlined the 6 pillars of a leading customer service.

6 pillars of a leading customer service

International Women's Day #BreakTheBias - Future Platforms

Disruption happens when new entrants to a sector challenge incumbents’ existing businesses, approaching existing markets in new ways and leveraging that advantage to compete, despite starting with fewer resources.

Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven change in many industries, but few as profoundly as the casual dining sector. Lockdowns in many countries kept many restaurants closed, leading to a rapid shift to delivery and accelerated digital transformation. However, the resulting changes in customer expectations, interests, and values over the course of the pandemic have been equally significant. This has created unique opportunities for new entrants.

To successfully compete in a crowded market, challengers have focused on:

We’ve spotted these characteristics at play in 5 disruptive trends emerging in the quick-service restaurant industry. Here’s who’s coming for your lunch, and how they’re innovating to get ahead:

1. Blend physical and digital experiences

Customers are increasingly spending more time online, and digital channels have become integral to the dining experience. Restaurants that can leverage this are emerging as the biggest winners.

Blending physical and digital experiences does not necessarily require expensive technical solutions; for smaller players, using existing tools and channels can be an effective way to achieve this:

An initiative to promote independent street food stands in Mexico City crowdsourced locals’ favourite vendors via Twitter and used Google’s My Maps feature to create a shareable map with their locations.

Street food stand Mexico City - Future Platforms Street food stand in Mexico City – image credit: Google Maps

As well as boosting business, companies who invest in their digital channels have greater control over the end-to-end experience, and can do even more to provide outstanding customer service. For example, Domino’s Pizza offers the option to have food delivered to your car when ordering through its app; by tracking you as you travel, they can ensure that the pizza is piping hot when you collect it.

2. Go where the people are

Online communities form around things that people find interesting: quirky ideas, captivating content, and favourite personalities. The savviest new challengers in the restaurant industry have emerged to serve these communities, rather than attempting to build new followings from scratch:

TikTok Kitchen, set to launch in the US in March 2022, will let people purchase favourite food hacks that have gone viral on the platform, including baked feta pasta, corn ribs, and cheese-covered, air-fried pasta chips. No physical locations are planned; orders will be placed online, produced by third-party restaurants, and sent out for delivery in TikTok Kitchen branded packaging.

TikTok Kitchen - Future Platforms TikTok Kitchen image credit: Business Insider

Virtual Dining Concepts, the marketing company behind TikTok Kitchen, connects brands and influencers with large online followings to “ghost kitchens” who can manage the fulfilment of orders.

When YouTuber MrBeast shared the video I Opened A Restaurant That Pays You To Eat At It to 50 million subscribers, the Virtual Dining Concepts model enabled MrBeast Burger to simultaneously open 300 digital-only locations across the United States. No money was spent on traditional marketing channels, but most locations sold out of food on the first night.

3. New business models can maximise opportunities to reach customers

Many restaurants pivoted to delivery and meal subscriptions as COVID-19 forced them to find other revenue streams. Continuing to experiment with different business models and pricing strategies is enabling restaurants to maximise the value of their physical locations in the new normal:

For some, capacity has become more constrained. Hospitality workers have left the industry in record numbers, leading to reduced opening hours and covers, with fully booked restaurants turning away customers. US steak restaurant Rib & Chop House turned this to their advantage, launching a subscription programme that lets members jump the queue for $50 per month.

Taco Bell has used digital channels to streamline its subscription offering and ensure that it does not generate excessive operational costs. Only available through the app, for $10 the Taco Lover’s Pass unlocks a special limited menu from which customers can choose one taco a day for 30 days for collection at a restaurant.

4. Do less to focus more deeply on what matters to customers

With the rise of pop-ups and food trucks, customers have become accustomed to limited menus offering a small number of signature items, but they now expect each one to be truly special. Leaning into what differentiates you and paring back what you offer to focus on what you do best is a great way to ensure that your business is competitive too:

Taster is a virtual restaurant company whose five restaurant brands are only available for delivery; by taking away the physical storefront it can operate from cheaper and smaller locations near to areas with high demand to get food into people’s hands more quickly and cost-effectively. Free to fully optimise for delivery, its brands have menus designed around types of food that are quick to prepare and travel well.

5. Live your values

COVID-19 outbreaks at meat-packing plants and supply chain constraints have forced customers to reflect more deeply on the origins and impact of their food, accelerating the pre-existing trend for plant-based and climate-conscious eating:

Ready Burger meal - Future Platforms Image credit: Ready Burger

Challengers actually have the advantage here, as they have greater freedom to focus on sustainability and establish a more genuine connection with customers. Ready Burger has seized this opportunity, offering an entirely plant-based McDonalds-style menu. Crucially, it also competes with McDonalds on price, offering vegan burgers for as little as 99p. They were able to leverage their cult following to raise capital for further expansion through crowdfunding, achieving their £1.5M target in just a few hours.

We’ve helped companies like Domino’s Pizza grow into leading digital-first businesses by delivering products that differentiate them. To learn more about how your business can leverage its strengths in a competitive and rapidly transforming landscape, get in touch with our team today.

In our 21 years of designing digital products and experiences, we’ve used a wide range of different research techniques and methodologies to help enhance our understanding of the opportunities we’re looking to create or the problems we’re trying to solve. A developing field that has caught our attention is behavioural science, which is emerging as a growing discipline in its own right but has some exciting potential for the digital world. Behavioural science provides us with a genuinely differentiating set of considerations, which allows us to elevate experiences and the opportunity to drive long-term product use through behaviour change and the creation of habits.

We recently hosted an event on how to design digital products that stick. The event explored topics around long-term use, brand loyalty and commercial gain, focusing on creating behaviour change in order to keep users returning to a product time and time again.

We spoke about how aspects of behavioural science create user habits and how we applied elements of this to create successful experiences that stick for our own clients, like Domino’s Pizza and FirstGroup. This spurred on some follow-up questions from attendees, mainly around what behavioural design is and how to apply it properly to their brand’s products. So, we once again teamed up with Behavioural Strategist Samuel Salzer to understand behavioural design and how brands can start using behavioural design to deliver digital products and services for long-term use.

So, what on earth are we talking about when we mention behavioural design?

A simplified definition

Behavioural science is the study of how we as human beings make decisions and interact with the world around us. It involved combining insights from lab and field experiments to understand why a person might do a certain behaviour and what influences that behaviour. Behavioural science furthers our understanding of the basic principles that underlie human behaviour. This allows us to discover many things about human behaviour but it doesn’t take into account everything that matters.

Street food stand Mexico City - Future Platforms Street food stand in Mexico City – image credit: Google Maps

Behavioural design is the application of behavioural science with a goal to change human behaviour. It combines applied behavioural science with design thinking. Applied behavioural science explicitly goes beyond the research. It’s distinct from academic behavioural science (mentioned above) – which mainly furthers our understanding of human behaviour – in that it attempts to change behaviour in real-world contexts, rather than just studying it.

“Applied behavioural scientists look at the research presented and think, how can these insights be effectively and ethically put to practice?” explains Salzer.

Behavioural designers use design thinking within the applied work, designing proposed solutions to make a behaviour more likely and always keeping users at the forefront. They might not only perform desk research or collect quantitative data, but will also often look to conduct user interviews and test prototypes.

Although behavioural scientists are really good at desk research and making sense of the data from a behavioural lens, they might struggle with involving users throughout the process. You’ll rarely see academics doing as much user research, testing, or interviews. However, someone that comes from a design background or from a user experience role is really good at considering real-world users throughout the process, using rapid prototyping to ensure a solution works as intended.

Persuasion, not coercion

It’s important to note that although behavioural design is concerned with changing human behaviour, behavioural design interventions are not techniques of coercion.

TikTok Kitchen - Future Platforms TikTok Kitchen image credit: Business Insider

Once the desired behaviour is mapped and there is an understanding of why it doesn’t yet occur, behavioural designers set to proposing interventions that may change behaviour. They combine behavioural insights – gathered during the research stage of the process – and user testing to see whether the proposed interventions result in the behaviour. The goal is to understand the user’s underlying problem, and then effectively help them solve it.

It’s difficult to talk about behavioural design without touching on habits. Habits are a set of learned behaviours that we perform unconsciously. Because a habit is a learned behaviour, behavioural designers can support users in forming habits by adding the right cues and rewards in the user experience of digital products. In the most basic sense, habits form as users learn to associate cues in their environment with an action (behaviour) which then leads to a rewarding experience. You can read more about habits here and here.

These rewarding experiences can come from either something positive being added to a user’s experience, or something negative or painful is taken away.

Behavioural design toolbox

At Future Platforms, we have developed a Habit Map, similar to a behavioural map, which organises and collects information about a user’s journey and how to get to a desired behaviour change.

It goes beyond a user research map and looks at the psychological factors that might create potential barriers or opportunities for behaviour change. It uses behaviour research and sets the stage for applying the research and designing for change.

It should be the first step in the process of designing a product that sticks because before a solution is designed, you need to truly understand the root of the problem.

It can also be used to improve a product, rather than just at the start of developing one. For example, if users aren’t completing a desired outcome, it can show you why this might be and a different approach to try.

Ready to apply this to your own business? Our Habit Map helps businesses uncover hidden opportunities in creating products that stick. For help in developing yours, get in touch with our team today.