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3 Roles Digital Signage Can Play in Creating a Positive Customer Experience
Thursday, 10 June 2010 16:09    PDF Print E-mail
For every positive experience digital signage can generate, there is a potential pitfall that only constant research and understanding can help avoid.

By Paul Flanigan

There is really only one goal for digital signage: enabling initiative, that is, the customer doing something with what he or she has just seen. Regardless of the engagement, a positive outcome is the only desired effect.

Here are three very general areas where digital signage can play a positive role in a customer’s experience within an environment, and the potential pitfall each encounters with poor planning and execution.


  • Environmental Navigation. Navigation is usually the first impression a customer gets of a store. “Where can I find...?” Good navigation will make the shopper’s experience positive and can reduce time and stress. Digital signage can play a key role in making sure that two goals are met: Showing the customer exactly where to go and showing the easiest way to get there. But you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. Poor navigation techniques, or making the customer work too hard to locate the destination, will disengage a customer before he is even at the destination.
  • Education. Learning about a product or service through digital interactivity allows the customer to learn at her pace, not the pace of the employee or the store. The ability for digital engagement (most likely in a kiosk) to be flexible for the customer’s depth of knowledge and desire for education will generate interest, respect and loyalty from the customer. In contrast, poor education or programming that makes too many assumptions about the customer’s knowledge and has ignored important messaging will sour the experience.
  • Perception of Time. The ability to cut down on a customer’s perception of time is taken very seriously by environments where waiting (hospitals) or poor attitudes (returning an item that gave you a bad experience) are part of the customer’s experience in the space. Engaging content can change behavior and ultimately reduce a customer’s perception of time. However, poor execution on basic guidelines, such as the running time on a looping program being shorter than the average time a customer waits, can be a big disappointment. Customers don’t want to see the same thing twice. In addition, creating programming that does not effectively draw attention away from the customer’s purpose in the environment can backfire by making the customer even more aware of the time.

The detail that goes into each category is dependent upon the venue’s strategy with digital signage. Great care should be taken each time. Poor execution with one screen can wreck a customer’s experience in the entire environment. A bad digital signage experience can drive customers away just as fast as bad customer service.

To avoid that end, constant research and understanding will keep your digital experiences fresh and appealing for the customer and the venue.

Paul Flanigan recently formed a new consultancy, The Preset Group, with digital signage industry veterans Dave Haynes and Pat Hellberg. The group’s goal is to help established companies, media start-ups and investment groups plan and launch successful digital media networks. A regular speaker at the Digital Signage Expo, Flanigan writes about the digital signage industry at You can reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The comments on which Flanigan’s article is based originally appeared as his answer to the Digital Signage Expo Advisory Board’s Question of the Month for August 2009.

To watch a DSE 2009 video interview with Paul Flanigan,
click here.


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