Alice doesn’t live in wonderland


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The wonderland experience of Alice lasted only as long as her dream. Though the tale of Alice in Wonderland plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children, it is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre.

Like this tale, the promise of Customer Experience (CX) to do wonders to the organization, making us the Disney or Ritz Carlton of our industry is a nonsense pitch. And like Alice, our customers don’t live in wonderland that is filled with memorable experiences and unique characters such as the white rabbit, mouse and dodo. Organizations have to go too far to lure customers into loyalty, mainly by delighting them with gifts, freebies, offers, exclusive membership programs, welcome drinks, and the list is end less.

The simple logic beyond this is that when an organization exceeds customer expectations, customer’s loyalty to the brand also increases and that too exponentially.

Image Credit: Gartner

As per Gartner, this isn’t true. Delight happens on 16% of the customers or instances. Remaining customers are never loyal to a brand. But the cost of delighting the customers is big, an extra 10% to 20% increase in their operating cost. In the case of start ups, this may only be a modest estimate.

As a customer, we have a life to live. We have problems to solve and things to be done. Whether these are small tasks such as holding your coffee without spilling it on your apparel or bigger ones such as a turn around of your business, these are things you have to do. The perspective that customer is always on the look out for the best offer during her drive and would instantly grab one if she receives a notification while crossing the shop is just a over shoot of the common man logic.

As per Prof. Clayton Christensen of Harvard, this is exactly what drives loyalty. The ability of organizations to understand what are the ‘Jobs to be done’ for their customers and proactively playing a role in helping the customers accomplish that job is an element of delight. Whether it is about building a mobile app for booking cabs which has simple user interface (UI) with single hand operation, so that the customer can book the cab with placing his handbag on the floor or it is about helping aspiring students find their best career choice, its all about helping the customers ‘get the job done’.

The ‘Job to be done’ can be both functional and emotional in nature. The examples of mobile app and career choice are largely functional.

While creating new products or services, or even processes that is customer facing, consider how you want to design them. Should you understand what is happening in the life of the customer using DILO (Day In the Life Of) or by creating a Customer Journey Map to identify barriers that prevent the customers from getting the job done?

Consider taking a holistic approach to Customer Experience Design by empathizing with the customers, because that is when you will understand the un-articulated ‘Jobs to be Done’.
Define the hypotheses about the jobs to be done and how you can support the customers.
Validate these hypotheses by building prototypes and by learning how better you can support the customer’s lifestyle

Nilakantasrinivasan J
Nilakantasrinivasan J (Neil) (born 1974) is an Indian author, consultant and guide, focused on the subject of client centricity, B2B client centric business growth, business transformation & analytics. He is the author of 3 books, The Client Centric Protagonist, The Master Book for Lean Six Sigma & A Little Book for Customer Experience. He founded a professional services firm Canopus Business Management Group ( More details are available at


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