According to Clay Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and HBS professor “When people find themselves needing to get a job done, they essentially hire products to do that job for them.” His theory is known as the ‘jobs to be done’ theory (JTBD). He’s famously used the Milkshake story to explain the concept. You must be wondering ‘so, what does this have to do with customer experience (CX)?’
Let me explain.
At a high level businesses are constantly looking for ways to either reduce costs by improving efficiency, or increase the revenue. These are the two categories of ‘jobs’ (to be done) that businesses are looking to hire help for. Of course the job description and its scope becomes more specific as we drill down into these categories. For example, a business would like to cut costs at its under-performing contact centers in a specific region. Or it might want to reduce the ‘cost to serve’ customers once they’ve purchased a particular product or service. So, in this case the job description (or desired outcome) could be something like this – ‘reduce the cost to serve/ support enterprise cloud customers by 20%.’
Now that the business has a specific goal based on the job to be done, it needs to hire help. Specifically, it needs to hire customer experience (CX).
But why hire CX?
For several reasons.
First, as Steve Jobs once said ‘You’ve got to start with the CX and work backwards towards the technology.’ CX can offer skills to translate the business goals into specific & measurable experience goals. How does CX do that? By taking a Design Thinking approach. CX starts with empathy i.e. by understanding the interactions and pain-points that lead to the customers seeking support from the business. It does this by mapping the relevant customer journey. It establishes listening posts along the journey to make sure it gathers actionable insights and establishes internal and/or external benchmarks. Based on the research, it outlines the CX goals that can help achieve the business goals.
Second, CX can help the business with ‘ideation’ and intentionally designing and co-creating the optimal experience. This is a collaborative effort involving a) stakeholders that own the critical stages of customers journey or the business processes that enable experiences at those stages, b) representatives from supporting organizations like IT, Legal, HR, Finance etc. and most importantly, c) a few carefully chosen customers. Carefully chosen, because it is important that the customers helping with the co-creation represent the entire spectrum of personas relevant to the journey.
Lastly, CX can help in prototyping the desired service experience and validating it. Needless to say it’s rare for a service design to hit all marks right out of the gate. It is normal for the prototyping to go through several iterations before it is ready for development. Once developed and deployed, CX needs to map, listen and measure (based on previously determined benchmarks/ KPI’s) to ensure that the design and the resulting experiences are meeting the business goal.
The role of CX does not end here. Continuous delivery is fast becoming the norm in CX world, especially with the ever changing customer needs and expectations. So it probably makes sense to retain CX for the job? More about this in another post.