As a user/brand experience design strategist I often rely on the structure and flow of the customer experience lifecycle as a way to create a personalized language that may be used to inspire fresh ideas for new products, services and communications. The lifecycle can be used to tap into emotional contexts within which consumers, customers, and users might be motivated to engage with and finding meaning in these same products, services and communications. The language may start simply with Attract, Convert, and Retain but within that framework a designer may also wish to Inspire, Inform, and Connect…for instance. The language should be recognizable as a shared language between the customer and the brand…both can instantly relate to it because it speaks to the goals and needs and forms of personal expression of both.
The language of experience is very much an action language…dominated by verbs, because, as a songwriter friend of mine once wrote, “Actions! Actions make things happen!” The language of experience is also very much the language of relationship-building. The value and success of most digital interactions today is measured by the how often and how deeply users do some or all of the following verb actions… TweetVotePostCheckinCheckoutReviewShareFollowLinkInRecommendDiscussCommentSubscribeLikeReplyEmbed FavoriteMessageRateMentionLogBlogSearchSignupSigninSavePayShopAddtoCartJoinPokeEditSubmitDigg…and the list goes on.
Each of these words, and many more besides, play an important role in the some total effort to building relationships between businesses and people…and indeed between people within businesses and between people per se. It would be interesting to align these verbs with the qualities of great relationships. What verbs build openness and honesty? What verbs generate trust? What verbs show good listening skills? What verbs encourage sharing activities in a fun or constructive or positive way? Are there formulas for verb-linking that, when acted upon, create unique forms of relationships? Can we group actions within steps in the customer lifecycle and generate chain reactions across the full cycle?
A central role for the strategic designer is to recognize and act up the opportunities to build lasting relationships between businesses and people, and then make them real through smart design management. Knowing the impact and power of the ever-growing quiver of social and sociable verbs will be essential to bringing it all together.