Customer experience is of greater importance for manufacturing in various fields. The social value of air quality has significantly changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid such changes in the external environment, the question becomes what kinds of designs should Daikin pursue? Leader of the Advanced Design Group Seki shared his thoughts on this question.
Design that creates customer experience as part of their lives
In recent years, customer experience (CX) is becoming increasingly more important in product design. In my view, CX is a design that responds to changes in the lifestyles of customers and harmonizes with their lives.
For example, imagine that people with pollen allergies or parents concerned about their children’s allergies search the Internet and find websites that show measures to relieve pollen and other allergies. On these websites, they would find information such as how to remove pollen from clothes and realize that eliminating pollen and dust at home is difficult. If we understand such a customer experience and convey the necessity of air purifiers as a solution to remove more allergens, it can be the optimal proposal for customers. A true CX design is not just about designing products but also integrating customer experience into design.
That is also called a customer journey. Customers become aware of a problem with air, gain related information, and understand how each of the solutions that they have found helps improve their lives. As a result, they may encounter Daikin products and purchase and use them. We need to be aware of such a series of experiences and provide content that prompts customers to ultimately purchase our products.
Design with awareness of a customer journey
In the past manufacturing process, it was rare to focus on the feelings of customers or consider their purchase experience. Based on competitive market principles, we displayed how effective our air purification system was and how unique its functions and specifications were compared to those of other companies. We competed for high scores on product review sites as if we had a score sheet. However, what we should do now on is thoughtfully consider the individual concerns of customers, not compete on product specifications. Putting customer experience at the forefront of our thinking leads to a simple vision for the designers.
For example, paying attention to small details, such as using a carefully designed packing case instead of an ordinary one that people would quickly dispose of, will generate greater excitement and more favorable impressions for customers when they obtain a product. Another example that describes a typical issue in a customer journey is the user manual. When customers are excited to plug in a new product, do they really want to read a thick instruction manual with a myriad of notes? Constant attention to detail will lead to creating product loyalty and build trust in the manufacturer. This is why we should bring design into the experience of customers who purchased our products, rather than pursuing superficial differences. By doing so, we will be able to achieve a higher level of excellence.
In that sense, computer products with a certain apple-shaped logo are the epitome of CX. These products provide carefully considered CX, not only for the purchase experience at stores but also for the online selection and delivery as packaged products. Customers feel as if these products were customized for them and have a great sense of satisfaction.
Maximizing CX with a consistent design policy
Achieving a great CX requires a consistent product design. We must ensure that all of our products, including air purifiers, residential air conditioners, and commercial air conditioners for offices, evoke the same impression of Daikin. The brand core defined in 2018 is the foundation to achieve this principle.
The brand core represents the essence of Daikin’s personality as a company. In the course of globally expanding business to Europe and Asia, we needed to have a shared understanding of design policy. To this end, we rethought what Daikin represents, reviewed the core of the company, and selected terms that exactly described it.
This is not merely setting shared standards. Simply complying with the rules will result in creating a superficial design. Daikin brand core represents our deep insight nurtured through a history of 100 years, reliability with a sense of hospitality, openness to explore new horizons, and enthusiasm to turn our thoughts into action. Even for small details such as rounded corners of a product, we need to think whether the design shows genuine consideration for the customer.
At the same time, we must not take a “product-out” approach that prioritizes the convenience of companies. Products made through such an approach will not be appreciated, and they are not what we want to create either. Elevating CX and designing with a consistent policy are the two elements we want to value in our design. I think combining these two elements will create a great design that harmonizes with customer lives.
(Residential air conditioner for the European market)
(Air purifier with a humidification function for the Japanese market)
People are in contact with air 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. In reality, however, they are rarely aware of the presence of air. On the other hand, maintaining safe air quality became a social issue due to COVID-19. We believe that just changing air will bring significant value into people’s lives. Our aim is to enrich people’s lives as the design team of a company that provides solutions through air.