Jour­neys by de­sign

Idealog - - STEVE JOBS -

To cre­ate busi­ness value, own­ers and lead­ers need to think about the jour­ney they want to take their au­di­ences on and de­sign their busi­ness model to make ev­ery user ex­pe­ri­ence count, writes Steven Gian­noulis from Insight Cre­ative.

THE IDEA OF user ex­pe­ri­ence (UX) is every­where th­ese days, largely due to its ap­pli­ca­tion to web­sites, apps and other dig­i­tal en­vi­ron­ments, but it’s not a new idea or an idea lim­ited to on­line. Pick up any brochure or flyer and you will see the de­signer has given thought to how they’ll get you to pick it up, how they’ll move your at­ten­tion around the page, and how they’ll draw you to key mes­sages. A re­ally good de­signer will think even big­ger, fo­cus­ing on your jour­ney lead­ing up to pick­ing up their work and where they’ll lead you af­ter you put it down.

The irony of good user ex­pe­ri­ence is that of­ten you don’t re­alise you are be­ing taken on a jour­ney. Bad UX is much eas­ier to spot. In the web world, good UX means you en­ter a site and it feels like it knows what you need and it makes it easy for you to find it. Nav­i­ga­tion is seam­less and in­tu­itive and the site keeps pre­sent­ing things that are of in­ter­est to you. If you came to the site be­cause of a pro­mo­tion or a rec­om­men­da­tion, this great ex­pe­ri­ence will pos­i­tively re­in­force per­cep­tions. If you stum­bled on the site, then this pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence will be­come the ba­sis for your per­cep­tions of the com­pany.

Com­pa­nies need to ap­ply this sort of de­sign think­ing to the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence they want their cus­tomers to have. I had a re­cent “easy” ex­pe­ri­ence that re­quired me to down­load the form, fill it out, scan it, and then email it back. I got a call a week later to say I hadn’t filled it out prop­erly. Easy would have been fill­ing in the form on-line with some smarts built in to tell me I’m not do­ing it right as I’m fill­ing it in. That com­pany is still mar­ket­ing to me with the same “easy” mes­sage – they needn’t bother.

Back in my cor­po­rate days I was for­tu­nate enough to run in­te­grated mar­ket­ing, op­er­a­tions and cus­tomer ser­vice teams. I found a great way to de­sign the cus­tomer’s ex­pe­ri­ence was to start with a clear cus­tomer value propo­si­tion (CVP) – Why do cus­tomers buy from us? We sub­stan­ti­ated this by iden­ti­fy­ing the proof­points – those things that make the CVP true in the cus­tomer’s eyes.

Next we fo­cused on map­ping the cus­tomer jour­ney from first hear­ing about us, to find­ing out more, buy­ing the prod­uct, reg­u­lar communications, through one- off con­tact with our call cen­tre, right through to the end when a ben­e­fit was de­liv­ered to them. Un­der­stand­ing this jour­ney was fun­da­men­tal to how we de­signed our prod­ucts, communications, pro­cesses, ser­vice stan­dards, train­ing, hir­ing poli­cies and how we struc­tured and re­warded our client-fac­ing teams. Ev­ery ex­pe­ri­ence in the jour­ney was de­signed to re­in­force the CVP.

Try it. It’s a great way to align mes­sages and be­hav­iours, a good tool for driv­ing change and for en­sur­ing ev­ery­one is fo­cused on the same thing – the end user.

Th­ese days, as a strate­gist work­ing with lots of big com­pa­nies on de­vel­op­ing their brand, I ap­ply sim­i­lar think­ing. I’m big on the idea of in­side out brand­ing. We fo­cus on what a com­pany wants their brand to stand for and com­pare this to where they are to­day. We par­tic­u­larly fo­cus on the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence and how the cur­rent ex­pe­ri­ence re­flects or dif­fers from the de­sired po­si­tion­ing. The re­sult is a shift anal­y­sis that doc­u­ments the brand jour­ney re­quired to cre­ate in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal align­ment. Of­ten we work with the com­pany to change the in­ter­nal model and cul­ture be­fore work­ing on the ex­ter­nal brand ex­pres­sion.

As a de­sign agency we reg­u­larly get asked to de­velop cam­paigns. Through the brief­ing process we fo­cus on the end-to- end

ex­pe­ri­ence, work­ing with clients to un­der­stand the au­di­ence needs, per­cep­tions and pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ences. We also seek to un­der­stand the client’s de­sired out­comes. Of­ten the out­come is sales tar­gets but there is al­ways a process to get to that. Our job is to de­sign the user’s ex­pe­ri­ence at ev­ery touch­point along that process. This starts by think­ing about what hap­pens when au­di­ences re­spond to the cam­paign via email, web or phone. How do we ful­fil? How do we fol­low up? And how does ev­ery touch­point re­in­force core cam­paign mes­sages, while al­ways mov­ing the prospect closer to the fi­nal sales trans­ac­tion?

Busi­ness lead­ers have to ap­ply this UX ap­proach to the way they de­sign their busi­ness mod­els. What ap­plies nat­u­rally to web­sites and cam­paigns should be ap­plied to HR prac­tices, or­gan­i­sa­tional de­sign and every­thing else that makes up the busi­ness model. When UX be­comes baked into the recipe for busi­ness, cus­tomers have great ex­pe­ri­ences and will­ingly take a long-term jour­ney with a com­pany. Now that’s how true long-term value is cre­ated.

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