Digital signage and the 'Goldilocks Zone'

March 24, 2016 | by Christopher Hall
Digital signage and the 'Goldilocks Zone'

Time isn't just money; it's a killer.

Or another way of starting this off might be, the devil really is in the details. Or, it's the little things that count.

Little glitches can be big annoyances. And if you don't plan out the details of your customers' experiences, and really think about them, then your customer is quite possibly going to have a negative experience — and you're going to have one as well as you watch that sale walk out your door.

And it can happen in just a matter of seconds.

This is a tale of three digital signage kiosks, one too fast and one too slow, and one that was just right.

Now, the so-called "Goldilocks Zone" these days doesn't refer to porridge but to life and celestial bodies. Briefly, the Goldilocks Zone is generally thought of as the zone of conditions that will support the formation of life on a planet. But for customer experience technologies, we're going to call the Goldilocks Zone the conditions that will lead to a sale (or to the consummation of whatever action it is the technology deployer is trying to get the customer/client/visitor/patron to take, e.g., signing up for a loyalty program or museum membership). If you use technology to hit that experiential sweet spot, you win. If you don't, you lose.

And the devil really is in the details, as a recent experience illustrates.

Recently in Las Vegas for a trade show, I was on the prowl for dinner one night. Already hungry, and therefore somewhat short-tempered, and in a hurry, so even more short-tempered, I wandered through a casino that will remain nameless looking for dinner.

At the first restaurant at which I stopped, I looked to a digital signage kiosk outside the host station to check out the menu. But right as I walked up, the menu changed to artistic photos of the food. And then changed back. And back again. All too fast to even start reading the rather involved menu. If I couldn't even start to read the menu to see if there was something I liked, why would I waste my time by sitting down to find out there was nothing on the menu I wanted? (Note: I did ask the host for a hard copy of the menu, but it didn't even *match* what I could read of the digital signage-displayed menu.) This is silly, I thought; I'll just move on to the next restaurant. No sale.

At the second restaurant, there was another digital signage kiosk, showcasing a dinner menu for the night. But, just as I walked up, it changed from the menu to mouth-watering artistic photo illustrations of the bill of fare. And stayed there. And stayed there. And then resolutely stayed there some more. I couldn't even read the menu if I wanted to unless I was prepared for who-knows-how long of a wait. This is silly, I thought; I'll just move on to the next restaurant. No sale.

At the third restaurant, there was, no surprise at this point, yet another digital signage kiosk showing a dinner menu — or rather, part of a dinner menu. This kiosk was showcasing the main courses for the evening. Then, after a few seconds — enough time to scan over all the choices, if not read them closely — it switched to another screen showcasing appetizers. Then, after a few more seconds — enough time to scan over all the choices, if not read them closely — it switched back. The photos of the food were displayed next to a few of the choicer items. I had enough time to read over the menu well enough to decide that this was the place I wanted to eat. This is really convenient, I thought; I think I'll eat right here. And I did.

And everyone lived happily ever after. The end.

(And for those reading this little tale, which is actually a true story and not a fairytale, thinking that I spent more time walking from place to place than I would have if I'd just waited at the first place … you're undoubtedly right. But if you think your customers don't make illogical snap decisions based on how hungry they are or what mood they're in or whether or not they think you're doing whatever it is you're doing poorly … you're undoubtedly wrong. And if you don't take into account the little details of whether or not you're making your potential customers feel like you're wasting their time, why in the world would they give you any of their hard-earned money or their invaluable time?) 


Topics: Content, Content Management, Customer Experience, Restaurants, Wayfinding



Christopher Hall

Christopher is the managing director of the Interactive Customer Experience Association and former editor of DigitalSignageToday.com. A longtime freelance writer and reporter, he's bringing a fresh perspective and critical take on the industry.

wwwView Christopher Hall's profile on LinkedIn

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