This week we’ll focus on crafting improved and transformative customer experiences, but first, thank you to those who have shared that they are finding value in this persona-based journey mapping blog series. This is the 4thand final installment the series, so if you have missed any of the posts here are the links: #1, #2, and #3.
I should also highlight that our next series will spotlight an unexpected brand who has partnered to leverage technology, data analytics, and other customer-centric strategies to elevate the experience they provide. Look for that series to begin next week.
This post focuses on the importance of both iterative and future backward customer experience design.
Assuming the Best
So let’s assume to date you have identified your key customer segments, developed personas that humanize those segments, and have created customer journey maps based on those segments.
Let’s further assume that, as per guidance provided earlier in this series, you have assembled a cross-functional team to remove pain points and enhance delight at transition, peak, valley and end moments. Now what?
If you have followed these steps, it is likely that the recommended improvements coming from your team will be incremental in nature.
Their suggestions will typically identify ways to either remove friction/pain points from the persona’s existing experience or they will address ways to drive your desired emotional customer state during otherwise ordinary touchpoints along your their journey.
While all those suggestions are essential to improving the overall customer experience, they are also not sufficient to assure that you will not be disrupted by a brand that is looking at customer needs through a start-up lens.
Therein lies the value of enhancing persona-based customer journey mapping through an exploration of optimal customer states.
Following the Law
Let’s frame this discussion in the context of Martec’s Law which essentially states that businesses change logarithmically while technology (which ultimately shapes customer behavior) grows exponentially.
The ever-increasing gap between the speed of business change and the speed of technology/customer behavior change is defined as the disruptive space.
Disruptive brands are like speedboats that launch into the current need state of customers while legacy brands attempt to turn cargo ships in the direction of a changing customer.
Optimal customer state technologies ask leaders to immerse themselves into the lifestyle and need states of a customer persona at a specified future point. Instead of improving the current state (as reflected in incremental improvements based on a current customer journey map), this process creates a visioning framework where leaders have to start with a customer segment and optimize for the likely future needs of that customer.
By marrying this future backward approach with the incremental improvements of customer journey mapping, our clients are gaining insights that move their experience forward in both methodical and transformative ways.
We are seeing a winning combination of low hanging fruit improvements and out-of-the-box innovation. For example, one client increased their speed of service delivery at a current customer experience pain point while also completely adding another service platform they’d never considered until they envisioned how it would benefit customers of the future.
As a reminder, whether you are attempting iterative or future backward experience design methodologies, all solutions must be tested in the marketplace before they are deployed throughout your business.
Every possible customer-centric innovation must be viewed as a hypothetical solution.
The most likely fruitful options should be explored and tested. If the tests go well, the solutions can be tweaked in the prototyping phase. If they don’t go well the hypothesis must be disconfirmed and the solution scrapped.
We are fortunate to have worked with many successful brands who have deployed both persona-based customer journey maps and optimal customer state approaches. We have seen amazing logarithmic and exponential growth in these brands and know they are well-positioned to avert and/or rapidly respond to disruptors.
If you would like to learn more about persona-based customer journey mapping and/or optimal customer state technologies, we would love to set-up a call to better understand your business. Simply contact us.
Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.
Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli
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