Categories
Service design

“The thing I have noticed is that when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right”

Bezos said it was important for him to stay directly connected with customers because it was easy to fall into the trap of relying too heavily on data and metrics. “I’m actually a big fan of anecdotes in business,” he said.

“We have tons of metrics, we have weekly business reviews, metric decks, we know so many things about the customers — whether we’re delivering on time, whether the packages have too much air in them — we have so many metrics that we monitor. And the thing I have noticed is that when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right.

“There’s something wrong with the way you’re measuring it. When you’re shipping billions of packages a year, for sure you need good data and metrics, but then you need to check that data with your intuition and your instincts.”

Jeff Bezos

Not to downplay the many criticisms of Jeff Bezos, particularly working conditions there is no doubting the impact of the company’s customer obsession. I was struck at how much importance is placed on direct customer feedback, particularly for a data driven company.

Read the whole article at http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/at-work/why-amazon-executives-dread-the-question-mark-email-from-jeff-bezos/news-story/948763dc9ba944ad10484cfdd69140f3

Categories
Service design

How long does a journey take to make?

This week a colleague rushed up asking how long it would take to produce a journey map and the answer was … it depends.

But first, what is a journey map?

journey-slider

A journey map is a model of a person’s experience over time with an organisation. They can describe a service experience of an existing customer, such as a support call or they can describe the sales experience of a new customer. The latter usually conforming to some version or other of the purchasing funnel. For the purposes of this post I am discussing current-state and not future-state journey maps.

Who and what is represented in journey maps?

A journey map can be the story of a specific persona or it can depict the generalised experience of all customers. Adaptive Path makes this distinction and labels the former a customer journey map, and the later an experience map.

Then there is the “stage” to consider. The front-stage shows the customer experience and the back-stage presents the corresponding experience of the organisation – the teams, systems and processes that combine to deliver the experience. This kind of journey is usually described as a service blueprint.

So … how long does a journey take to make?

To plan resources, people, and effort you need to think about the content and the data that’s informing it. This can come from internal workshops, co-design sessions, or through customer and staff research.

Guidelines for planning

Resourcing guidelines for journey mapping approaches
Activity Inputs Who you’ll need Time Considerations Cost Trade-off
Quick Workshop Anecdotal knowledge Subject matter experts, product owners, front line staff as proxies for customers. 1-2 facilitators. Half-day
  • Usually output as high-level post-it notes.
  • Add 2 days to make a legible and shareable electronic or print deliverable.
$ Minimal time and cost but no first-hand customer data.
Workshop Existing researchVoice of customer data Subject matter experts, staff, product owners. 1-2  facilitators. 1-2 weeks
  • Invest time in sourcing past research reports.
  • Voice of customer data from different sources needs time to collate into a consistent form for comparison and analysis.
  • No data of external factors (personal network, competitors) and just interactions with your organisation makes for a one-sided story. Customers are more motivated to give feedback when something has gone wrong; the resulting journey may be disproportionately negative and may miss all the positive forces that made them customers in the first place.
$$ Minimal time and cost. Depending on quality of research and data journey can be fragmented with no context for wider story or experience.
Journey co-design workshops Recounted experience. Example touch points. Customers who have recently or are currently going through the experience.One facilitator, one note taker. 2-5 weeks
  • 1-2 weeks to recruit participants.Approximately 1-2 weeks of co-design workshops.
  • Allow more time if your segmentation requires more participants to get a representative sample.Time to synthesise what you learn into insights and onto the journey itself. 3 days – 1 week.You may opt to run modified Delphi sessions where each subsequent co-design session builds on and edits the previous one–so you are essentially always working on the one map.Add 3-5 days to make a legible and shareable electronic or print deliverable.
$$$ Customer data represented but highly dependent on recall. Detail of real time customer experience e.g. with a specific touchpoint or episode may be lost.
JTBD switch interviews with customers Recounted experience. Customers who have very recently switched to your product or away you’re your product to a competitor.
One researcher. Note taker optional.
3-5 weeks
  • 1-2 weeks to recruit participants.
  • Allow more time in recruitment to get the exact customers you need.1-2 weeks of research depending on the number of participants in your study. Synthesis is streamlined with JTBD Four Forces diagram and customer timelines.Great research technique to support agile teams in iterative rounds of discovery or development. Applicable to a buying journey only.
$$$ Customer data represented but dependent on recall. Skilled interviewer should be able to elicit detail of real time customer experience of a specific touchpoint or episode.
Contextual interviews and/or longitudinal diary studies with customers Recounted or directly observed experience.Qualitative insights.Can dig deep into quite low level detail and describe context of use of example touch points. Customers who have recently or are currently going through the experience.
A representative sample for each customer segment.
A team of researchers. 2-4 depending on the number of customers.
8-12 weeks
  • Worthy investment for strategic projects
  • Resource intensive approach to follow-up with participants.
  • Compelling when paired with quantitative research to size findings.
$$$$$ Requires large investment and results are not actionable for some time but end result is credible research report usable by both executive and operational teams.

Conclusion

As with anything, there are trade offs involved. A well researched and high detailed journey will certainly stand the test of time, be useful to multiple audiences, and be a persuasive research piece to support change. It all depends on your project needs and constraints. The 80/20 rule may also apply—making smaller investments with Jobs-to-be-Done research or co-design workshops may yield most of the major insights you need to uncover for significantly less cost and time.

[hr]

Update:
I have made a some updates since first publishing this post. Thanks to Krispian Emert for your valuable feeback.

Categories
Service design The internet the world

The gap between technology and trust

I’ve followed some interesting and conflicting media recently. Tony Costa writing for Forrester evangelises location technologies improving customer experience citing four recent and compelling examples. On Australian TV last night 4 Corners followed the life and online privacy of a typical Australian family to demonstrate the reach of where our data goes. Once the breadth of data sharing was exposed, together with blatant privacy breaches the family were less than impressed. At the very least one could say that they appeared uncomfortable. I’m sure many in the viewing audience were. Here is an example reaction from the family, the daughter, a 24 year old university student was asked to comment on what she thought of being tracked in a shopping centre.

To me it feels like the sole purpose would be to maximise money, maximise where you buy things and how much you buy, what kind of stores you go into, and I, yeah I completely, just that, doesn’t sit well. Like I don’t want to be, yeah I don’t I don’t like that. … Yeah I would want to opt in or out and have the option.

There is currently a gap between the capability of location technology to improve customer experiences and how ready people are to adopt this reality. There is no doubt that organisations will seize on these technologies to improve services and increase profits. Notions of privacy will change over time too, and there is no telling now how far the public will embrace or merely tolerate this change. What this gap does suggest is the careful terrain organisations adopting tracking technology must negotiate to maintain trust with their customers to not abuse the data privilege.

Links:

Location Technologes Show a Path to Improved Custoemr Experiences, Tony Costa, 5/09/2013

In Google We Trust, ABC 4 Corners, 9 September 2013

Categories
Service design

A credit card that doesn’t want you paying excess interest?

20130611-201228.jpg

OK so this might start sounding like an advertorial real quick. I organised a 28 Degrees Master Card to use as my travel money card after reading Choice Magazine’s 2012 awards. Seems like they want to retain that customer mantle. My last email from them included a message that they will illuminate the consequences of only paying minimal monthly repayments on credit card balances.

Having conducted and worked with a lot of customer research and data for financial services providers all I can say is this definitely serves a need and banks should take note of product design like this.

Categories
Events Service design

The evolution of CX

The first Australian CXPA meet-up in Sydney (16/4/2013) was a breakfast session at Atlassian HQ with Cyrus Allen of Strativity as the MC. The special guest via a Google Hangout was CXPA and Temkin Group founder Bruce Temkin. He is also the creator of Forrester’s Customer Experience Index and Voice of Customer Award.

Bruce Temkin beaming in via a Google Hangout
Bruce Temkin beaming in via a Google Hangout

 

What Bruce saw from his side via this tweet

Coming at this space from an Experience Design background as I do, I was most interested in what Bruce Temkin had to say about the ‘evolution of cx management’. He presented the following chronological model:

CX intrigue 2005 -2009

  • Organisations have applications, infrastructure in place.
  • CRMs don’t deliver anticipated value.

CX exuberance 2008 – 2013

  • The term CX gets ’slapped’ on top of titles.
  • 60% of companies think they will be customer experience leaders in 3 years (the maturity model indicates this is a much longer journey)
  • Shows that ambitions are emerging, but that organisations are not realistic about the implications.

CX professionalism 2011 -2015

  • People are starting to have clear practices and procedures around customer experience
  • A set of consistent practices is being collectively pushed into the community (via the CXPA of course 😉
  • VOC programs, journey mapping become standard process.
  • Close loop systems are in place to re-contact customers and learn.

CX Mastery 2014 +

  • Real time customer satisfaction analytics are able to project NPS, customer trends and other metrics.
  • Employee engagement becomes increasingly important as the connection between staff and the ability to drive sustainable customer experience is acknowledged.
  • The human resource sector becomes committed to employee engagement.

Temkin’s rally cry to the community was to practise a core set of repeatable processes and procedures; for the differences in practise that have existed to date to become standardised if the ‘era of CX’ is to continue. In support of this vision the CXPA is developing a vendor neutral certification program they hope will be recognised as a legitimate professional standard globally.

I should mention the format of the breakfast. The talk was followed by a Q&A and group discussion. It was valuable gaining insight into so many organisations so quickly and hearing about the various surveys, processes and incentives in place. I have a whole page of notes but if your are intrigued, you may just have to come along to the next event.

If you want to read more of Bruce Temkin’s work check out his blog Customer Experience Matters.

Categories
Service design The Work Experience

Bank of America to its 270,000 employees: Be nice

Bank of America sent a letter to each of its 270,000 employees with the simple message to “Be Nice”. This is after woeful customer satisfaction ratings. Is a letter enough? No, according to Customer Experience consultant Colin Shaw of Beyond Philosophy who stresses the need in the story for matching incentives and guidelines for how much time managers spend with customers and in branches. Apparently a more comprehensive plan to address customer satisfaction performance is to follow.

Via https://twitter.com/uxrat who has a pretty steady stream of interesting articles. And yes, he’s a mate of mine too.

Listen to the full story at http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/bank-america-its-270000-employees-be-nice#