Juggling the Customer Experience

Customer Experience is a rather difficult balancing act to perfect. Mostly because every customer is different. Some are looking for convenience. Some are looking for a more interactive experience. Others just want to be able to tailor the experience to their own needs. And when you attract a record crowd of 580,000 people into the Melbourne CBD, as White Night did last night, this juggling act is something even the circus performers at Circus, Circus would have trouble mastering!

White Night 2016

White Night lit up Melbourne last night for the fourth consecutive year. Featuring a whole mixture of artistic, experiential and entertaining activations popping up across the city, this event is a perennial favourite with Melburnians looking to experience the city in a completely different way. But there was one decision which has caused a significant amount of controversy. Turning off the Flinders Street projections.

Often seen as the centrepiece of the White Night proceedings, installing a light installation across the Flinders Street buildings is a crowd favourite. These projections are some of the most captured images from the event which make their way onto social media every year and cause crowds to literally stop still in Flinders Street as they take in the marvellous spectacle. But therein lies the problem.

These projections have become so popular over the last three years that audiences cause an enormous traffic jam (ironic, considering everyone is on foot!) at the Flinders Street and Swanston Street intersection. No one at the Arts Centre end of the city can get through to the Melbourne Museum end and vice versa. And this leads to a damaging customer experience as crowds back up and visitors are inconvenienced.

This year’s celebrations came with the decision to disperse these projections throughout the city to other landmarks including NGV, Royal Exhibition Building and Federation Square. Ultimately easing the traffic flow and allowing people to easily move from one location another and experience more of the activations White Night had to offer.

The reception from this decision has been mixed. Some people are proclaiming this the worst of all four years due to the lack of projects. Others are proclaiming it the best. Personally, I fall in with the latter. No congestion. No need to plan when you moved from activation to activation to avoid road blocking crowds. Ultimately a much better customer experience which allowed visitors to experience even more of what was on offer!

You will never be able to please everyone with your decisions, and those who missed the projections on Flinders Street have certainly let organisers know via social media. But sometimes one simple and controversial change can actually make a much better experience for everyone involved (even if they don’t know it!)