How Customer Jobs, Journeys and Decisions are Reinventing Experience Design

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The importance of looking at things from the customer’s perspective rather than the company’s, is a critical element that many companies forget when starting to improve their customer experience. However, there is growing evidence that overly-focusing on the customer during experience design can be every bit as much a problem as not focusing on them at all.

Experience design is a relatively new discipline that is undergoing rapid evolution, driven in large part by the recent involvement of trained service designers. Their involvement has generated new best-practices that resolve the over-focus on customer problem and significantly improve the customer experience.

Best Practice 1: Focus on Customer Jobs NOT on Customer Personas

Customers don’t interact with companies to help pass the time, they do so to get help getting important jobs done better than they could do them by themselves. It makes more sense to concentrate on what customers are trying to do, on the outcomes they want from doing them and where they need help the most, than on customer personas. This is not the only problem of focusing on customer personas. Customers who may look identical on the surface may have very different perspectives on which jobs are the most important and where they need the most help doing them. Once customer jobs have been identified they can be used to segment customers by their jobs.

Best practice in experience design today is to look beyond superficial segmentation by customer personas and to segment by customer jobs instead. This not only focuses the experience designer on what the customer is trying to do, research by Strategyn shows it also provides a significantly better foundation for experience design.

Best Practice 2: Focus on Customer Decision Journeys NOT on Interactions

When customers interact with companies to get their jobs done it usually requires a series of closely related interactions for customers to get all the outcomes they want. The interactions typically are between the customer and the same people, take place through the same channels and are closely spaced together in time, in what McKinsey christened a ‘decision journey’. It makes more sense to focus on the series of closely related interactions in the decision journey than on the individual interactions.

Best practice in experience design today is to identify the decision journey(s) that are involved in getting a customer’s jobs done. This not only focuses the experience designer on how the customer gets the outcomes they want, research by McKinsey shows that focusing on decision journeys produces a 20-30% bigger increase in business outcomes and a 30-40% bigger increase on customer satisfaction than focusing on interactions.

Best Practice 3: Focus on Customer Decisions NOT on Emotions

Interactions between the customer and the company typically require customers to make one or more core decisions. Sometimes quite complicated ones. Although customers make most trivial decisions driven largely by their subconscious emotions, (neuroscientist Antonio Damasio estimates that 95% of all trivial decisions are made this way), they make most of the core ones consciously by thinking through them, particularly the more complicated ones. It makes more sense to focus on the core decisions and how customer make them, than to focus on the emotions that only play a subordinate role in making them. Focusing on decisions also provides the designer with the insight required to provide the right decision support to help customers make better decisions.

Best practice in experience design today is to identify the key decisions that customers make to do their jobs and provide the right decision support to help customers make the decisions better. This not only focuses the experience designer on the critical decisions in the customer experience, research by Urban & Soltan shows that providing customers with just the right support to make better decisions increased engagement, trust and consideration by 25%.

None of these best practices change the critical importance of looking at things from the customer’s perspective, but they do provide the experience designer with newer and better tools to improve the customer experience.

Please feel free to share your own perspective on best-practices in experience design.

Graham Hill
@grahamhill

Further Reading:

Bettencourt & Ulwick, (2008), ‘The Customer-Centered Innovation Map’, Harvard Business Review http://www.jey-associates.com/pr/Customer-CenteredInnovationMap_R0805Hp2.pdf

Rawson et al, (2013), ‘The Truth abut Customer Experience’, Harvard Business Review http://adamsinnovation.com/uploads/2/9/5/2/2952682/hbr_customer_journey_vs_touchpoint.pdf

Urban & Soltan (2015), ‘The Case for Benevolent Mobile Apps’, Sloan Management Review http://glenurban.com/app/webroot/files/academic/TheCaseForBenevolentMobileApps.pdf

19 COMMENTS

  1. Graham,

    Great article as usual. I am thinking about the decisions vs emotions part. In an ideal world, customers would be able to apply critical thinking to their important decision making, but we all know this isn’t the case, and emotions are often biasing their lens on the world.
    While getting beyond these emotions is key, I also believe that to be able to give them the needed support, we also need to understand what these biases are and take them into account when trying to design better experiences.

  2. Hi Thierry

    Thanks for your insightful comment.

    I agree with you entirely. Emotions are ever-present as an evolutionary device to simplify decision making. If we had to think about every decision we would likely fail to even get out of bed in the morning.

    Emotions are obviously important to the experience designer as a post-interaction guide to how the customer feels. I typically capture customer emotions using a standard emotions framework such as Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion (http://jackbrummet.blogspot.de/2011/09/robert-plutchiks-wheel-of-emotions.html).

    Although emotions are ever-present in the customer’s life, most critical decisions require them to actively think. Should I take the cinema vouchers with my packaged current account or the health club membership? Should I lease my car over 24 months or 36? Should I buy the iPhone 6 or the Samsung S6? These decisions all require the customer to think rather than feel, (although the iPhone vs Samsung one is a little more balanced).

    The key thing is not to start with emotions, but to start with the decisions customers must make to get their jobs done during interactions with the company. Once you have mapped the decisions, you can then start to think about how to design better decision support for customers that incorporates everything we know from the decision sciences, behavioural economics and psychology. It is not that emotions do not play a role, just that they are not the place to start.

    I have been involved in a lot of experience and service design projects. It is rare that designers explicitly capture customer decisions and use the insights to design better decision support into interactions. Yet failure to make good decisions during interactions is one of the key drivers of customer dissatisfaction, negative word of mouth and ultimately, customer defection.

    Graham Hill
    @grahamhill

  3. Great thinking, Graham.
    I agree on proper experience design and not giving unnecessary experiences. (good design!) Also we do sometimes make decisions with emotions, because even if we have thought through the decision rationally, the final decision may be emotional. This takes nothing away from the article

  4. I completely agree with your view on customer personas. Personas can lead to stereotyping in ways that might be contrary to the customers’s real buying habits. I am a baby boomer. Yet my buying habits, style, and early-adopter interests make me completely unlike my baby boomer counterparts. When I am asked by a clerk, “Do you text” (rather than “Would you like a text”), I know my grey hair and over 60 looks put me in their “Granddaddy Persona” and I resent it!

    However, I will be honest, I am having a challenge thinking of customer journeys as primarily decision journeys. What decisions are involved in encountering a trashy parking lot, an indifferent receptionist, a boring waiting room, or confusing signage. I may get all the proper data for great decision making along my journey that included the moments of truth outlined above and walk away with a subpar evaluation of the service provider.

    A customer journey includes all the experiences a customer has along their path, complete with the perceptions and emotions associated with those experiences. If our goal is to make the decision making outcome a positive one we need to ensure our assessment ultimately leads us to police the parking lot, get a friendly receptionist, spice up the waiting room and get clear signage!

    Tom Peters wrote: “Customers perceive service quality in their own unique, idiosyncratic, emotional, end-of-the-day, and total human terms. Perception is all there is.” It would be so much easier if customer decision making were rational and logical. But, I believe when it comes to the experiences that surround the pursuit of an outcome, it is far more emotional than rational.

  5. Hi Michael

    Thanks for your comment. It is much appreciated.

    I am not suggesting doing away with personas entirely, far from it. I am instead suggesting basing them on people with similar affinities to their jobs-to-be-done (in terms of the importance of the job and their satisfaction with the tools they have to do it) instead. The persona thus describes a usable set of people with similar behaviours, not just a useless set of people with similar characteristics who may have completely different behaviours.

    I am not suggesting doing away with measuring the effectiveness of interactions either. Quite the opposite. But the emphasis changes from measuring the general effectiveness of interactions to measuring their specific effectiveness based on how well the interactions help customers get their jobs done and thus, get the outcomes they desire.

    Emotions are a whole lot more complicated. Part of the problem is that the word ‘emotions’ comes loaded with emotional baggage of its own.

    From a neuroscience perspective, emotions are inextricably linked with decision-making, particularly the subconscious, automatic, fast sort that Daniel Kahneman described in his book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’. As Antonio Damasio describes in his book ‘The Feeling of What Happens’, we become aware of these subconscious emotions only when they appear as conscious feelings. We incorporate emotions, feelings and a wide variety of other information available to us when making significant decisions about what to do. As Kahneman describes in his 2002 Nobel lecture, we make these decisions under a sense of uncertainty. The more significant the decision, the better it will be made, on average, by thinking about it than by using gut feel or intuition, i.e. by letting emotions decide subconsciously.

    Experience design is all about helping the customer get their jobs done. A large part of this is achieved by providing customers with the right information, at the right time to make significant decisions and by providing them with simple tools to make the decision-making process easier. Without a thorough understanding of the decisions customers make, (during the interactions they use to get their jobs done), it is unlikely that the designer will be able to improve the customer experience. Emotions are an important part of the decision-making process, but it is the decisions that matter most when designing experiences, not the emotions.

    Cogito ergo sum, As Descartes wrote.

    Graham Hill
    @grahamhill

    Further Reading:

    Daniel Kahneman
    Thinking Fast and Slow
    http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Fast-Slow-Daniel-Kahneman/dp/0374533555

    Antonio Damasio
    The Feeling of What Happens
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Feeling-What-Happens-Consciousness/dp/0156010755

    Daniel Kahneman
    2002 Nobel Prize Lecture
    http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=531

  6. Hi Chip

    Thanks for your comment. It is greatly appreciated.

    Part of the problem with any new discipline like customer experience is the explosion in new jargon. This can easily lead to misunderstandings. Maybe if I try and explain my thinking a little more clearly it will help.

    The root of the approach I use to improve the customer experience starts with the recognition that customers don’t interact with companies for fun; they do it to get jobs done and to achieve the outcomes they desire. If I am looking to buy a second car I have a whole host of of jobs-to-be-done that can be quickly and easily captured using the job statements described by Ulwick & Bettencourt’s in their article on ‘Giving Customers a Fair Hearing’. Jobs describe what customers are trying to do (functional jobs). But they also describe how customers want to feel (emotional jobs) and how they want to be seen by others (social jobs). I might want to get a sports car for those long weekend drives with my wife, but I might plump for the Jaguar F-type as it makes me feel like my namesake (the only winner of the triple crown of motorsport: Le Mans 24 Hours, the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix) and makes my neighbours green with envy. Jobs are a much better place to start improving the customer experience than looking at customers themselves.

    As Bettencourt & Ulwick describe in another article on ‘The Customer-Centered Innovation Map’, customers go through a simple series of steps to get their jobs done. These steps provide a useful framework to identify the interactions with your company (and other organisations) where customers look for help to get their jobs done. It is this series of related activities and interactions, usually closely spaced in time, that constitutes the ‘decision journey’ that Mckinsey wrote about. You can map the decision journey, its constituent interactions, core decisions and a wide variety of supporting information using any one of a number of experience mapping approaches. My preference is to allow customers to map their own interactions and decisions using a combination of the mobile app Experience Fellow (http://www.experiencefellow.com) to capture details of interactions in real-time and Smaply (https://www.smaply.com) to turn them into an experience map. Decision journeys provide detailed insights into how customers do their jobs, and where they struggle, that focuses improvements on those bits of the experience that are most important to customers and the most under-served.

    The trashy parking lot, an indifferent receptionist, a boring waiting room and confusing signage that you describe are all part and parcel of the interactions in a customer decision journey. They influence the satisfaction and dis-satisfaction you have with the interactions. They may even drive decisions to abandon particular interactions and seek alternative ways to get jobs done. And of course, they may all be candidates for improvement during the redesign of the customer experience. But only if they are important to customers. It is all to easy for experience improvements to get sucked into improving what is broken rather than focusing on what is really important for customers. It may be that what customers really want is a completely different solution that doesn’t involve parking lots, receptionists or waiting rooms at all. By focusing on customer jobs, decision journeys and the decisions contained within them, you have a better foundation for improving the customer experience on their terms, rather than just on yours.

    Graham Hill
    @grahamhill

    Further Reading:

    Ulwick & Bettencourt
    ‘Giving Customers a Fair Hearing’
    http://www.sce.carleton.ca/faculty/tanev/TTMG_5103/Articles/Ulwick_Giving_customers_a_fair_hearing_MIT_Sloan_2008.pdf

    Bettencourt & Ulwick
    ‘The Customer-Centered Innovation Map’
    http://www.jey-associates.com/pr/Customer-CenteredInnovationMap_R0805Hp2.pdf

  7. Thanks for your thoughtful response, Graham. We are challenged by vernacular in this relatively new field.

    Not sure I agree that customers do not interact with companies for fun, or Stew Leonard’s Dairy Store would not be a destination location or DisneyWorld able to command a hundred bucks a day for a visit with Mickey. See my early CustomerThink piece on “Fun as a Competitive Strategy.”

    I worry that choosing strictly analytical language (jobs, decisions, etc.) for a highly emotional encounter weighs leaders’ already logic-biased thinking to be even more mechanical, methodical, and rational. It can risk missing (or misinterpreting) the mystery of the heart and the fickleness of emotion. The experience side of service comes from human performance that can be as magical as the theater.

    My concern for completely rationalizing an experience laced with emotion is best characterized by John Steinbeck’s description of a fishing expedition in his book, Sea of Cortez. Having fished for sierra in the Sea of Cortez off Los Cabos, Mexico, I can personally relate to Steinbeck’s powerful prose.

    “The Mexican sierra has 17 plus 15 plus nine spines in the dorsal fin. These can easily be counted. But if the sierra strikes hard on the line so that our hands are burned, if the fish sounds and nearly escapes and finally comes in over the rail, his colors pulsing and his tail beating in the air, a whole new relational externality has come into being–an entity which is more than the sum of the fish plus the fisherman.”

    “The only way to count the spines of the sierra, unaffected by the second relational reality, is to sit in a laboratory, open an evil-smelling jar, remove a stiff colorless fish from the formalin solution, count the spines and write the truth…There you have recorded a reality which cannot be assailed–probably the least important reality concerning either the fish or yourself.”

    Are we focusing on spine-counting and missing the breathtaking encounter? As Marilyn Ferguson asks in her bestselling book The Aquarian Conspiracy, “Are we poking at qualities with tools designed to detect quantities?…What does an intelligence test measure? Where in the medical armamentarium is the will to live? How heavy is grief, how deep is love?”

  8. Hi Chip

    I don’t disagree with you.

    Emotions and their cognitive counterpart, feelings, are with us all the time. They are a big part of everything we do, whether we are thinking fast or slow. Or whether we are just there to enjoy the show!

    I am not a believer in replacing emotions with cold, hard logic. That would be utterly pointless. But I am a big believer is replacing the flawed parts of designerly approaches to experience design with demonstrably better ones.

    This is not the first time I have heard a plaidoyer to keep more structured approaches out of what practitioners like to believe are essentially ‘creative’ activities. I saw it when I worked as an innovation consultant. Inventors like to see themselves as creative and dislike anything that looks like a standardised process. But 80% of inventions fail in the market. I see it in my current work as a marketer too. Marketers like to think of themselves as the most creative part of commercial organisations. But as branding professor, Mark Ritson, wrote in a recent opinion in Marketing Week, ‘The idea that marketers need to be creative is a load of baloney, we’re useless at it!’ What goes for inventors and marketers goes for experience designers too.

    The mistake they all make, and I think you make too, is to believe that structured processes only produce uncreative results. Nothing could be further from the truth. A structured innovation, marketing or experience design process is just a tool in the hand of its user. A really creative user will produce an even better result using a structured process than they will without it. It is the uncreative users, (that mistakenly believe they are creative), that we should be worrying about, not structured experience design processes.

    I agree with you about the importance of emotions in experiences, whether they are functional or fun. But there are new and better tools available to experience designers than the tools they have today. What they do with the tools is up to them.

    Graham Hill
    @grahamhill

    Further Reading:

    Mark Ritson
    Marketing Week
    ‘The idea that marketers need to be creative is a load of baloney, we’re useless at it!’
    https://www.marketingweek.com/2015/07/01/mark-ritson-the-idea-that-marketers-need-to-be-creative-is-a-load-of-baloney-were-useless-at-it/

  9. Very interesting and thought provoking stuff Graham. Like Thierry, my instant reaction is to focus on the decisions Vs emotions element of your post. I spend a lot of my time talking about ‘feelings’ and am absolutely of the belief that the way organisations make customers ‘feel’ has a fundamental effect on their decision to continue ‘interacting’ with a company. If we can design the experience to leave customers ‘feeling’ the way we would want them to, then all stakeholders are in principle in a better place.

    However, I must acknowledge that the way we feel does not always lead to the DECISION correlating with the EMOTION. For example, very often, customers will make a decision because they ‘feel’ they have no choice – this makes them in my opinion a ‘reluctant hostage’ – something I will be writing about for my next CustomerThink column this week!!

    So in summary, I ‘feel’ that my ‘decision’ on what to do with the insight you have shared is to consider BOTH sides of every element you have focused on!

  10. Hi Graham, Hi all,

    thank you for your article! Like many others number 3 got me thinking and I think it’s both right and wrong. My thoughts on the matter:

    – I think the context of the specific customer journey determine what to, predominantly, design for. In some cases I think you want to limit conscious decision making and want to go entirely for ”emotional” design and vice versa. This may be determined by the state of your customer. Is there state tellic or para-tellic. We use the PAD (pleasure, arousal, dominance) construct to determine customer states and align our design (on a touch point level) with the state of the customers.

    – We try to design for desired behavior and being memorable. Basically future behavior (buying and recommending behavior) is strongly correlated with your previous behavior (habits) and mental availability preferably with a positive association. Not all products need a deep emotional connection so we tend to design for behavior and being memorable. So I agree there on a tendency to over focus on emotional design but emotions are a means to a goal and validate made decisions (or help in making customer experience more memorable). The reason to focus on behavior and not conscious decision making lies in the fact that on a volume bases these cover a lot of the habits of behavioral ”loyal” customers that make the decisions on subconscious processes. Our brain is constantly trying to limit your glucose usage and we need to take that into account when designing customer journeys. This also refers to my first point, context. So a customer making his or her virgin buying decision needs a different journey.

    – On a more specific note: I think we never design for emotions we design stimuli that evoke emotions/decisions within a context and taking customer traits into account. Ultimately those stimuli lead to behavior (now and in the future). Emotions and decisions are both valid mechanisms to help us in ”nudge” or steer behavior based on the context of the customer journey.

    All the best!

    Daan

  11. Hi Ian

    I agree with you in principle about wanting to leave customers feeling positive about their experience with a company. The question is whether you should focus on making them feel positive (as you imply), or whether you should focus on helping them get the jobs done they came to you for help with in the first place, in the expectation that will leave them with positive feelings.

    By focusing on the key decisions during interactions, the decisions the customer must think through carefully, the company not only helps customers get their jobs done faster, easier and better, it also increases the likelihood that they will also leave the interactions with positive feelings and the intention to come back for more in the future. Decisions come first, the feeling of what happens (to quote the title of Damasio’s book on how we perceive experiences) comes second.

    You can have your cake and eat it. But first you must help the customer bake their own cake!

    Graham Hill
    @grahamhill

    Further Reading:

    Antonio Damasio
    ‘The Feeling of What Happens’
    http://www.hedweb.com/bgcharlton/damasioreview.html

  12. Many thanks for your response Graham – a response that I wholeheartedly agree with! My father always advised me to ‘engage brain before opening mouth’ – a good analogy for the way organisations interact with customers too often – it is the failure to engage the rain that leaves customers feeling the way they would rather not!

  13. Hi Daan

    Apologies for the delay in responding to your comment. I had to go away and do a little research to do your very thoughtful comment justice. It is not often that someone comments on an article quoting naturalistic decision making theories such as Reversal Theory and PAD Theory!

    In principle, I agree with much of what you say. But I still have a few quibbles.

    Experience Designers do have a responsibility to design interactions with customers in a way that will help them to get their jobs done and achieve their desired outcomes faster, easier and better. Telefonica’s Jonathan Earle described this perfectly in a recent article in Marketing Week about ‘Reducing Customer Effort is Key to Getting the Product Right’. The designer’s challenge is in identifying how to achieve the right balance between helping customers think about what you are doing during an interaction (cognition), feel that they are doing the right thing during it (intuition) and simply getting on with it without any thought whatsoever (sub-conscious automation).

    To try and force all interactions to be driven by intuition or automation would obviously be a mistake. In the mortgage example I used earlier, there are a number of interactions where the customer should think carefully through their options before consciously choosing one, e.g. during the interaction to ‘calculate mortgage affordability’. The designer’s job is to design the interaction so that: 1. it helps the customer make the right decision, 2. it helps the customer move to the next interaction more quickly, and 3. it keeps the customer interacting with the Co rather than going elsewhere for help. Despite the cognition required by the customer, that doesn’t mean that the interaction cannot be designed so that it feels intuitively right for the customer, and so that the customer experiences feelings of trust in and anticipation of interactions to come (to use two emotions from ‘Plutchik’s Emotion Wheel’).

    Similarly, to try and force all interactions to be memorable would also be a mistake. As Klein & Kahneman hint at in their paper on ‘Conditions for Intuitive Experience’, if an interaction is something that is likely only to be done once, is carried out in a highly variable environment and particularly if it is not key to achieving the customer’s outcomes, there is little reason to try to make it memorable. My experience is that many interactions in the mortgage journey fall into this category. On the other hand, as Eugene Sadler-Smith shows in a paper on ‘Incorprating Intuition into HRD’, if an interaction occurs many times, in a stable environment and it contributes directly towards achieving the customer’s outcomes, making it more memorable will contribute to the customer developing a strong intuition about the interaction that will help them know how to get more of what they want out of it the next time. As you point out, ‘Our brain is constantly trying to limit your glucose usage and we need to take that into account when designing customer journeys’.

    The different roles of cognition, intuition and automation in designing effective interactions with customers has hardly even begun to be researched, let alone to find its way into the hands of thoughtful practitioners. It is always a pleasure to see new theories validated empirically, such as the Delft University of Technology’s researchers’ use of Reversal Theory in redesigning the customer experience at Dutch airline KLM. Until there is a universal theory of how customers think, feel and act during their experiences, we will continue to have these interesting discussions.

    I greatly enjoyed reading your comment and researching my response to it. I agree with much of what you wrote, but not with all of it. That is probably the result of your apparent preference for naturalistic decision making theories and mine for heuristics and biases ones.

    I look forward to interacting with you through your comments again in the future.

    Graham Hill
    @grahamhill

    Further Reading:

    Jonathan Earle
    Marketing Week
    ‘Reducing Customer Effort is Key to Getting the Product Right’
    http://www.marketingweek.com/2015/08/06/telefonicas-jonathan-earle-reducing-customer-effort-is-key-to-getting-the-product-right/

    For an application of Plutchik’s Emotion Wheel see… Meftah et al
    Sharing Emotional Information Using A Three Layer Model
    http://www.researchgate.net/publication/266485335_Sharing_Emotional_Information_Using_A_Three_Layer_Model

    Klein & Kahneman
    ‘Conditions for Intuitive Experience’
    http://www.fiddlemath.net/stuff/conditions-for-intuitive-expertise.pdf

    Eugene Sadler-Smith
    ‘Incorprating Intuition into HRD’
    http://www.ufhrd.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/507-incorporating-intuition-into-hrd_sadler-smith.pdf

    Fleur A. van Midwoud
    ‘Beyond Blue: a Novel In-flight Dinner Ritual’
    http://reversaltheory.net/journal/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2014-v3-10-VanMidwoud-In-Flight-Dinner1.pdf

    Roderick Huijgen
    ‘Shareables: An In-flight Gift System’
    http://reversaltheory.net/journal/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2014-v3-09-Huijgen-ShareablesGift.pdf

  14. Good FFT piece! (FFT = food-for-thought). No wonder it provoked so many comments and dialogues. Not to enter those or repeat anything already said, just a quick question:

    What if ‘the job to be done’ is… to feel in a certain way?

  15. Hi Vladimir

    Thanks for your question.

    As Bettencourt & Ulwick describe in their article on ‘The Customer-Centred Innovation Map’ there is more to jobs-to-be-done than just functional jobs (what customers wants to do). It also recognises that customers have associated emotional jobs (how they want to feel) and social jobs (how they want to be perceived by others).

    Cars provide an interesting hypothetical example of the differences and how they drive behaviour. My choice of car to complete the functional job of driving with my wife from Cologne, Germany to St Tropez, France for our summer holiday would be a Toyota Avensis Estate. It is cheap to run, very reliable and has plenty of room in the back for the inevitable things we will buy in St Tropez. But do I want to be seen driving around in a Toyota Avensis? Is that really me? I don’t think so. I am more of an outdoor type so the right car for my emotional needs would be a Range Rover Sport. It is expensive to run, not so reliable, but it has even more room in the back. More importantly, it looks perfectly at home parked outside the Senequier cafe in St Tropez. But what does it say about me to others in the playground of the rich and famous? Sadly, not enough! The right car for my social needs would be a Maserati Quattroporte. It’s not so pretentious as a Lamborghini and not so blingy as a Bentley Coupe (favoured by the oligarchs on their summer breaks). It says a lot about how I want to be perceived by others. Three different jobs – functional, emotional and social – that all need trading off against each other. What car do I drive? That’s between me and my bank manager. But you get the point.

    In a nutshell. You should look at customer’s associated emotional and social jobs as well as their functional ones. The products, services and experiences you develop to complete them will require some careful trade-offs to be made. That is the art and science of experience design.

    Graham Hill
    @grahamhill

    Further Reading:

    Bettencourt & Ulwick
    ‘The Customer-Centred Innovation Map’
    https://hbr.org/2008/05/the-customer-centered-innovation-map/ar/1

  16. Graham,

    I confess to being a semantics, metaphor and meme addict, so I was like a moth to the flame regarding your discussion of the evolving practice of experience design. Kudos to you for putting the stake in the ground to codify how personas need to move on to focus on the job the customer is trying to do, how the decision journey needs to be included in the interaction map of the customer journey, and how focussing first on the decisions customers need to make (based on their jobs) may be a more direct path toward desired business outcomes, rather than starting with the emotional experience. And I so appreciated hearing that you are not advocating throwing the emotional baby out with the bathwater. Separately, the comment stream has been as rich an experience as the article, so thanks to all for the conversation. Graham, you made me wish I had Spock’s (Star Trek) power of mind-melding!

    As I read I started wondering if it might be helpful to include a theatre lens I use in my archetypal strategy work, borrowed from Constantin Stanislavsky. Loosely based, “The Method” asserts that the main responsibility of the actor is to reach “believable truth.” The process for bringing those truths to life requires an actor’s ability to source her/his own emotional memory. The truths are brought to life through the interdependent aspects of both internal psychological feeling and external physical action. An outgrowth of this process includes incorporating two basic elements of the human condition in each beat (moment): the “I want” and the “I feel.” And I like to include an adaptation by Lee Strasberg by asking the question, “What would motivate me, the actor, to behave in the way the character does?” Swapping vernaculars to business, the question becomes “What would motivate me, the designer, to behave in the way the customer does? And is that what we (the business) wants and needs?” Perhaps this might be another way of framing the rationale for starting with the decisions that customers make to get their job done? Or perhaps it’s just further muddying the waters. 🙂

    In either case, I really appreciated the article! Thank you.

    Margaret Hartwell
    @mphpov

  17. Hi Margaret

    Thanks for your very thoughtful reply.

    Although I am an advocate for focusing on the decisions that customers need to make, I recognise that not all decisions need to be made cognitively by thinking carefully about them. In most circumstances the majority of decisions will either be made intuitively because they feel right or automatically without any awareness of them even having been made. The art and science of experience design is in facilitating interactions which help the customer use the most appropriate approach to making decisions.

    From your description of ‘the Method’ it sounds as though it is a very useful addition to the experience designer’s toolbox. At the end of the day, the designer does not design the experience per se, he actually designs the stage (the interaction platform), and provides the customer with props (resources) and a script (process) to help them get their jobs done, easier, faster and better. Value is only created for the customer when their jobs get done and they get the outcomes they wanted from doing them.

    Graham Hill
    @grahamhill

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