In most projects, we set out to help our clients deliver better, simpler, faster and more valuable services to their customers. In doing so, we’ve realised that making a Ieap towards a future vision is very different to iterating away from pain. Clients just need a basis to make confident decisions about the future. For us, this basis starts with discovering insight about the human needs of their customers. From there, we think there are a few critical considerations that group the insights, two of which are:
People don’t live in industry sectors.
While businesses are great at defining increasingly detailed reasons to start new and different types of businesses and industry definitions, people just live their lives, and these lives cross many industries every day. A typical person might shop for clothes in the morning, visit a cafe, use a music service in their car on their way to a night class provided by an educational institute. Their life isn’t broken into sectors, and their human needs that drive their actions throughout the day don’t completely change as they move to different industry sectors.
Drawn from extensive research and insight, another fundamental we have leveraged in our work is 'follow the need'.
Needs are less complex than behaviours.
Go to any talk on innovation and inevitably the first slide in a presentation will be making the point that ‘the world is changing faster than ever before’. Nobody can deny the reality of the complexity and unpredictability of the world we live in. Markets, technology and economics continue to challenge the assumptions of organisations, and even put some out of business.
However, we have found that there are deeper human needs that drive the behaviour of products and services use. Market behaviours that result from these needs can be unpredictable and depend in large part on the types of products and services they have to interact with, but an understanding of these more stable needs can help the creation of new products and services and are more likely to meet them.
We develop experience principles in projects, which often work alongside organisational, investment and channel/distribution principles. A couple of the principles we think organisations could consider helping meet customers needs within a range of common interactions include:
Signup is when people choose you to help them meet one or more of their needs - It's a time they are making a commitment to you, and you to them:
> Make it a small moment – People make time for major changes, however outside of that, often only have fleeting moments in their lives that they use to go through signup processes, so make good use of that time.
> Get only what you need – Don’t ask for things you can get later to ensure the act of becoming a customer is as simple and easy a possible
We try to eradicate things that confuse the customer of the clarity of your intent:
> Up-sell can wait – Signup is a response to meeting a specific need, nobody likes to be sold to - upsell only when you can do that in ways that help meet needs they clearly have.
Starting to use a new product or service can involve a number of unknowns, and lead to feelings of vulnerability and frustration. People pay, in money and time for what they hope will help them achieve something in their lives - those first moments of using a product or service exist within a number of expectations:
> First impressions last – Try to pre-empt what people would need to know when they first use what you offer - let nothing get in the way of them getting the value they expect.
> In context learning – Give people answers, options or guidance when they need it, not before, never after.
> Early mastery – Get people confident with a basic use of what you offer as soon as possible.
Upgrade, Up-sell, Cross-sell.
Helping customers with deriving value from products or considering the benefit of related services requires you to prove you know what they are doing, can sense what they may need and consider what they value. Only ever do this in an informed manner, and ideally with the permission of users:
> Leverage something I do know – Based on usage, show users how to optimise to save money or derive greater value.
> Tell me something I don’t know – Use insights from other customers you have to help people know how best to use what you offer.
> Trust evaporates quickly – People are more and more sensitive to ‘being sold’, which undermines trust – if there is value to them, demonstrate it - if not, don’t offer it.
Retention is arguably more important than acquisition – and therefore the continual demonstration of value is required - be that through the ease of access or interaction, or the continued reinforcement of your value to a customer:
> Move with my changing life – People’s lives change, as do their priorities and goals – so the products and services need to be able to move with them.
> I rely on what you offer – Make sure you are careful to communicate changes to what you offer because even improvements can be disruptive.
> Let me help you – People want your product or service to be successful for them. Consider ways to let them have input into how changes and improvements are made.
We’ll unpack these further in upcoming posts, and although they may seem blindingly obvious, it's all too easy to get buried in the detail of projects or delivery and forget them.