Why and How to Do a Digital Detox This Autumn 72

Why and How to Do a Digital Detox This Autumn

This is a guest post by Nelma Lumme.

Fall is an amazing season. Nature’s colors are phenomenal. It is still warm enough to enjoy outdoor activity. Football is in full swing. And it is the last several weeks we have before hunkering down inside for those long cold winter months if we live in colder climates. Even if we live in warmer climates, however, where seasonal changes are not so prominent, fall can be a time to take a break before the stressful holiday season begins.

Part of taking a break might be to consider some digital detox.

Why Is It Called Digital Detox

Digital addiction is a real thing.

Research shows that once people begin to use devices consistently, they get a boost of dopamine (the “feel good” chemical produced in our brains), and that boost becomes addictive. We want more and more of it, and so we stay on our devices more and more. Every text message, every Facebook post, every video chat becomes a “fix.”

Why De-Toxify?

Much of our lives are wrapped in our devices. Very few people do not use devices at work, most of the day.

We use our phones to connect with family and friends and to set up social activities. We conduct research for a custom dissertation. We check out restaurant menus and order carry out; we shop and place orders for products and services online. There is just very little we do anymore that does not involve a digital device.

Unfortunately, we become so dependent on our devices, that we use them to excess, often shutting out face-to-face interactions with others and even our environment. Excess in anything is not good, whether it is alcohol, gambling, work, etc. We just don’t seem to be able to hit moderation, once our devices make everything so much easier.

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “moderation in all things,” and he was right. Unless we practice moderation, we sacrifice a balance of living that is healthy and fulfilling.

How to Do a Digital Detox

a guide to self-healing and loving yourself

Fall is a perfect season for digital detox. Why? Because it is cool enough to get outside and just consume nature. And consume that nature with friends and family.

Here are several ways to detox, at least to a great degree.

  • Plan a camping trip to a more rural area, perhaps a float trip. Even if you take your phone, service will be “iffy” at best, and you will be forced to interact with your fellow campers. Sit around a campfire at night and just talk or sing.
  • Plan physical shopping trips with friends. Go to small shopping centers in small towns and walk the streets, visiting the little shops and restaurants.
  • Get in the car, leave the devices at home, and drive to wooded areas where the leaves are changing.
  • Take long walks with friends or your dog.
  • Go to the library and check out some books. Set a time when digital devices will be turned off in the evening and just read.
  • Go apple picking or go to the zoo. These are great fall activities which still get you outside. Even interacting with animals and trees is a huge reliever of stress.

Benefits of a Digital Detox

No one can reasonably be expected to divorce themselves from the devices completely. And “withdrawal” can bring its own stress. But you can make a commitment to detoxing for a few days or for periods of time during each day, without severe symptoms.

Here are some important benefits.

  • You will renew your skills in interpersonal, face-to-face communication with others – a major element of friendships that last.
  • You will come to re-appreciate nature and the amazing beauty that seasonal changes give us
  • You will find that your stress levels are reduced as you do not feel compelled to check Facebook, your email, or your messages, minute-by-minute.
  • You’ll become more physically active. Taking walks, camping, visiting small local marketplaces, going to the zoo. All of these things involve physical movement on your part – and physical movement promotes overall health.

Set a Goal

This fall, set a goal to turn off the digital devices, at least part of the time. Take that time to engage in totally non-digital activities.

If necessary get an app to help you turn things off for periods of time that you can pre-determine. Your body, your mind, and your spirit will thank you for it.

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 10

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

***
Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.