Following Mandisa Makubulo's example of the power of including customers from all backgrounds and abilities, I share four tools to build empathy when designing services.
Being customer centric isn’t a new idea. Great businesses have been doing it for years, and they enjoy better business performance as a result. Whether you are in B2B or B2C, wherever you are in your relationship cycle, explaining the value you add will always yield greater returns than talking about yourself.
In this mini-series, Margo Dwight kicked off with marketing and how describing benefits, not features, will help you grow your business. In this second instalment, Michelle Spaul reflects on how businesses should focus on ‘Jobs to be Done*’ during product and service design, onboarding, and support to enhance customer experience.
After a successful sale, you must continue thinking about your customers and what they want, so you can deliver the promises you made.
But people sitting in operational departments get little sight of the customer let alone the opportunity to talk to them in detail about their needs.
What’s more, operational departments are often under time and cost pressures that are easiest met with standard processes that brook no variation. And their expertise, the very thing that you need, can get in the way of designing and supporting products and services that meet the needs of customers. This is a cognitive bias called the Curse of Knowledge.
So, the customer with their new habits, higher demands, and different ways of seeing your products and services drifts out of sight, and business constraints, such as cost, end up calling the shots.
Then designers create services that are hard to use, onboarding turns into a university degree, and support focuses on features rather than Jobs to be Done*. All the promises made by marketing and sales evaporate, and instead of becoming advocates, customers turn away from your brand and find other solutions.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Effective solutions are easy to implement; what’s more, they also empower employees and break down organisational silos.
Let’s look at three stages of the latter part of the customer journey** and how you can improve them by focusing on Jobs to be Done.
Taking ownership, aka onboarding or unboxing
1. Services – provide a checklist and instructions for each stage and keep the legal stuff simple. Sure, your UI should make everything intuitive, but we all think in different ways. Intuitive for the bulk of your customers may be downright confusing for other people.
2. Product – design unboxing, assembly and installation as if it were a product in its own right.
3. Learn from every question and support request to improve the initial experience.
Using the product or service
1. Before designing anything collect and prioritise stated customer requirements from every team such as customer services – where you can, ask customers.
2. Manage requirements and benefits to design a solution that meets customer and business needs.
3. Test your design against requirements and in real-life situations.
1. Write all guides and FAQs to describe the Job to be Done.
2. Help your support staff look beyond the obvious and fix or escalate the real issue.
3. Examine support requests to understand and prevent issues in the future.
4. Learn from every question and support request to improve self-service and interactive support.
*Jobs to be Done sit alongside pains and gains in your value proposition and form a promise to your customers. If you fail to deliver on your promise, some customers will ask for support – however, research shows that most will just walk away. So, when a customer asks for support, they are asking you to deliver the promise you made during sales and marketing when you spoke about benefits instead of features.
**If you call these activities post-sales, now is the time to refocus. No customer pays you money to enjoy your sales and marketing. They pay to get their product or service when they need it and for it to work as expected. In other words, consider calling sales and marketing ‘pre-value’. 😊
This is the second part of a mini-series brought to you by Margo Dwight and Michelle Spaul.
In Part one, Margo wrote about the importance of talking about benefits, not features.
In Part two, Michelle proposed a handful of simple activities to make products, services, and customer service customer-centric.