Executive Voices 3 mins read

Customer experience and The Night Watch

Read about The Night Watch and how the museum wanted to ensure that its customers could experience the painting in the best way possible.

Bart Schouw Bart Schouw

What does Rembrandt’s painting have to do with customer experience?

I’m sure you have been to museums where the display is either badly lit or placed where you cannot see it properly. Add to that crowds of people gathered in front of you and the result is a disappointing visual experience.

The Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands decided to change all that. After a recent, extensive restoration of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, the museum wanted to ensure that its customers could experience the painting in the best way possible.

The problem the museum had was the lighting; it was affected by the huge glass ceiling above the painting. To deliver a consistent meaningful experience to people looking at The Night Watch, the museum had to deal with the constant change of light coming in from the roof – clouds, rain, sun.

Historically, the window had been covered with an extensible shutter which could be closed when someone noticed the light was too bright (and opened when not bright enough). It was noisy and cumbersome and, if someone didn’t push the button, the user experience was compromised.

Let there be (LED) light

So, the museum equipped the glass roof with an advanced system that continuously measures the light intensity (sun, clouds, etc.) analyzes it in real time and then the 750,000 LED lights change every two seconds correspondingly. This kind of connected customer experience sets the bar high. 

Offering a consistent, predictable experience is like the holy grail for retailers and many others.  Companies that think in these terms about how they can use technology and digital to improve and influence the world are the truly connected enterprises.

The world is transitioning from a service economy to an experience economy. If you are going to create a valued and valuable experience it requires a different approach and different metrics. Currently, 90% of customers believe that brands fail to meet experience expectations. And 85% think human interaction is critical to that experience.

Success today isn’t about better infrastructure, processes, or applications. It’s about the experience you create and how that experience makes your employees and customers feel about you, your products and services.

For this, you need data in the broadest sense – to create conversations and use the hard truths that you discover to design an experience that makes others feel good about committing to you.

In this hyper-competitive world, the bar for customer experience is constantly raised. While not everything is as expensive and exclusive as a Rembrandt, this example shows how Internet of Things connected devices can help to raise the bar even higher.

Connected is better

The connected customer experience trumps the customer experience. It is just a matter of time and imagination before the connected customer experience goes mainstream and becomes the norm instead of the outlier.

When your experience goes above and beyond expectations, you remember it – and the provider.

As an innovator himself, Rembrandt would be pleased with the Rijksmuseum’s commitment to the connected customer experience. Now, with the doors reopening on 26 June,  visitors can see his painting as it is meant to be seen –with every stroke of the brush or swipe of the palette knife full of life and energy.

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