Guiding the customer experience in the midst of chaos

February 12, 2015 | Author: Kristin Guthrie

We humans live in a state of confusion. Proof of that is as close as your nearest airport. Stand for five minutes at the security entrance at your favorite terminal and watch what happens. You’ll likely see dozens of disoriented passengers silently pondering, “OK, now which way do I go?” – despite the 3 waist high signs pointing the way.

Studies show that consumers need clearer direction, and visual clues to help them make decisions.

The grocery industry, which has monitored customer behavior for years, has numerous examples of working with visual cues to modify purchase decisions. Researchers in El Paso placed mats on the grocery floor, near the entrance, with giant green arrows leading customers towards the produce section, on the left. Most shoppers in retail stores naturally veer to the right; when these arrows were added, people followed them left towards the fruits and vegetables, 9 out of 10 times. As a result, sales of healthy foods skyrocketed.

But change without the right visual cues can lead to chaos.

In 2006, a major hotel spent $11M to install an elevator system that was faster, bigger, and more comfortable than any other. The communication challenge was that the new system had a slight difference in the way it worked. Rather than choosing a floor after stepping into the elevator, customers were asked to make their selection before the elevator arrived. That simple change threw guests for a loop, and caused major disruptions for the facility until the public slowly began to adapt to the change.

Honeywell’s take on the research.

Whether the business is a store, a hotel, or an airline, the benefit of helping the customer work through the confusion pays dividends in smoother operations, and repeat business. Graphical visual cues can help a company gently guide visitors through the maze. And prevent chaos when changes are introduced.


We need to create our own “green arrows” to grab passengers’ attention and let them know we’re committed to delivering a positive customer experience on every flight. Is your environment filled with thousands of possibilities of enhancing the customers’ view of your business?

Kristin Guthrie

Kristin Guthrie

Kristin Guthrie is the Vice President of Customer Experience for Honeywell Aerospace. She is the advocate for the AT&R customer experience (CX), translating the CX vision into action benefiting customers via multiple channels and touch points. Kristin has over 21 years of leadership experience positioning brands, products, and services in various sectors, including aerospace, home security, and consumer electronics. Kristin has a track record for promoting and building brands with customers, advertisers, strategic partners, and celebrity sponsors. She has received a number of awards for her outstanding success as a marketing professional. Kristin has an MBA from the University of North Texas and a B.S. in Marketing from, Kansas State University. She is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and is also Marketing Leadership Education Program certified.

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