Posted on 04/11/2015

“Configurators are beneficial in creating an engaging customer experience!”

Companies very rarely claim that their products create a boring and forgettable customer experience. So, when they make the usual promotional claim that their product creates an engaging and memorable experience, it’s unlikely that they’d claim anything else. This article is going to show exactly how configurators create an engaging experience, outlining the features that underpin this claim. Configurators undoubtedly do benefit the creation of an engaging customer experience, but so does a shopping trolley. Aldi wouldn’t have half the level of customer satisfaction it has achieved if customers had to carry their weekly shop cradled in their arms.

Configurators are all about increasing the interaction between the customer, the product and the company. Without having any direct contact with the company or any employees, a customer can interact with the company’s products, trying different combinations and comparing options. Customer experience is at the height of importance in the modern market. The modern marketplace is becoming increasingly saturated and businesses have to persuade customers to part with their hard earned cash. Enhancing the customer experience is a method of giving the customer an augmented and deeper relationship with a brand, which supplies them with a reason to choose a specific product.

Configurators are a tool which allows companies to create a unique experience the customer will remember through the increased interaction created. Customers instinctively compare new experiences and judge them accordingly – their expectations are measured through this comparison. Configurators provide an opportunity for companies to provide customers with customisation, flexibility and interaction. They provide an engaging customer experience through the following benefits:

Customisation and Personalisation

Firstly, the customisation and personalisation that a configurator provides creates a relationship with a product that organically generates an engaging customer experience. With the option to co-design a product to a customer’s individual preferences, they offer an element of creative expression that gives customers the personalisation they crave from the contemporary market. Customers enjoy the no pressure situation that configurators provide, as whilst playing around with different combinations and options there is no obligation to buy. They enjoy the design process even if nothing is purchased.

The designs that the customer creates can be saved and returned to later. To help the customer decide what design options they prefer, the product can be viewed using animated demos, images and 360° turntables. The visual capabilities of a configurator are a significant benefit, as the customer can see all aspects and features of the product before purchase. The whole experience is designed to give the customer an experience as close as possible to seeing, interacting and deciding upon a product in a shop. Their different designs are instantly visible, enhancing their relationship with the augmented product. Once the customer has added the finishing touches to their product and is happy with the result, it can be saved and shared over social media, allowing an element of shareability to the process.

This level of customisation lets a customer explore a multitude of design options, enabling them to decide between numerous different iterations. This exploration of the possibilities creates a deeper relationship with the product itself and whilst the lack of obligation to buy is a positive, they are much more likely to make a purchase if they have created a product reflective of their own likes and preferences. Personalisation of a product through this increased interaction is a specific feature that means configurators create an engaging customer experience.

Config - Green

Speeds up the buying cycle    

When buying high-end products, customers are often left frustrated at the slow speed of the process. For instance, when buying a kitchen, you would usually have to get measurements, quotes, material availability and sometimes external consultancy. All of which takes an extortionate amount of time. A configurator allows customers to design high-end products from the comfort of their own home. The company has streamlined the whole process to enhance the customer experience.

This digitised customer experience allows for the personalisation of high-end products without the long wait. Staying with the example of kitchens and interior rooms, configurators have been developed that allow the customer to input the dimensions of their room, then place and move numerous different items such as furniture, sinks, storage units and more. Whilst trying different combinations, customers can see how it affects issues such as price and delivery time. The fusion of customisation with the increased speed of the overall process enhances the overall customer experience.

Useful for both experts and novices

Configurators manage to provide an engaging customer experience for both those with a deep knowledge of the product and those who need guidance when choosing different components. This is especially relevant when configuring a product where performance is based upon the components configured, for instance a car or a desktop computer. The configurator encourages the customer to buy a product suited to their needs.

A customer with expert knowledge of a company and its products can still use a configurator to create a product with specifications that match their needs. As they will know the implications and end results of integrating certain components the configurator doesn’t need to provide additional information. Using this prior knowledge they can make final design decisions – supplemented by the visual images of the product they are creating.

Those who have less knowledge about the possible implications and results of different combinations are catered for also. Configurators guide the customer through the process, explaining why different combinations can’t be selected. The customer is told about the specifications of certain combinations, add-ons and extras. The configurator assists them in building an effective system using smart recommendations to create a product suited to their needs. If a customer if creating a car just to get them to work and back, there’s no need for them to select bespoke engine packages and opulent exhaust designs etc. Configurators provide customers with an engaging experience whilst guiding them throughout the process.

Unpacking the configurator customer experience

The creation of an engaging customer experience is a key feature of a configuration application and it’s important to outline how exactly it achieves this. The configuration experience is intended to stand-out, instilling the customer with a shopping experience they will remember and hopefully recommend. Customers want to know the possibilities when designing a product and they want to see them instantly before their eyes. Configurators are a new way of using technology to assist customers in the process of building a product, whilst offering them the customisation they have come to expect from the modern market.       

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