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Designing superior customer experiences

A big part of creating a positive customer experience lies in identifying ways to make your customers’ lives easier. In other words, taking away the pain points.

Some of the best innovations solve problems that formerly had no solution, an inadequate solution – or in the case of disruptors – problems that the customer didn’t even know they had.

“People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole” Theodore Levitt

Last week, alumni from the University of New South Wales’ Australian Graduate School of Management had the opportunity to attend a ‘lunch and learn’ session in Perth with travelling academic Craig Tapper.

Tapper spoke about designing superior customer experiences, and the need for strategic agility – the ability to constantly transform your business model to stay relevant – in the digital age.

To create a positive customer experience, he says you must first identify the ‘jobs to be done’ – essentially, get a handle on what an individual seeks to accomplish in a given circumstance.

Some potential questions to be asked include[1]:

  1. Do customers have a job that needs to be done?
  2. Where do you see non-consumption?
  3. What work arounds have people invented?
  4. What tasks do people want to avoid?
  5. What surprising uses have customers invented for existing products?

While you may already know the answers to these questions, from the data you’ve gathered on your customers through various transactions, interactions and feedback loops, you may find you need to do some primary research to support what you know – or fill the gaps in what you don’t know.

Mapping the customer journey

Customer journey mapping can be a useful exercise when trying to better understand the customer experience.

A Customer Journey map is a visual or graphic interpretation of the overall story from an individual’s perspective of their relationship with an organisation, service, product or brand, over time and across channels.

The story is told from the customer’s perspective, but also emphasises the important intersections between user expectations and business requirements.

Inspired by user research, no two journey maps are alike, and regardless of format they allow organisations to consider interactions from their customers’ points of view, instead of taking an inside-out approach. They are one tool that can help organisations evolve from a transactional approach to one that focuses on long term relationships with customers built on respect, consistency and trust.

All organisations have business goals but leveraging customer journeys as a supporting component of an experience strategy keeps customers at the forefront when making design decisions. They can be used in both current state review and future state visioning to examine the present, highlight pain points and uncover the most significant opportunities for building a better experience for customers.

Once you’ve identified the jobs to be done, Tapper says the next step is to design offerings around those jobs.

Some questions to ask here might be[2]:

  • What experiences will help customers make the progress they’re seeking in a given circumstance?
  • What obstacles must be removed?
  • What are the social, emotional, and functional dimensions of the job?

As Tapper points out, jobs are never simply about function – they have powerful social and emotional dimensions.

Understanding those social and emotional dimensions, in my view, is the key to ensuring the experience you’re designing has your customer front and centre.

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Follow Kristen on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristenturnbullcoredata 

 



[1] Christensen, Hall, Dillon & Duncan, 2016: 59

[2] Christensen, Hall, Dillon & Duncan, 2016: 59

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