Enough whining. Time to solve the messy experience thing. Now that the Customer Experience is safely in the hands of the marketing department, it’s time to figure out where to start with the fixing of it. The first thing I would do is pour a lovely drink and sit down and read The Effortless Experience by Matt Dixon. More on him later.
The next thing is to figure out who your customers are. In marketing we spend a lot of time trying to figure out stuff about buyers, but buyers, particularly in B2B, are not necessarily customers once the purchase is done. Indeed, there is often a considerable distance between the decision-maker and the user.
If you haven’t done a customer persona exercise yet, or recently, time to fling a little money in that direction, and don’t get all cheap and do it yourself; this is for the experts to do, and it will take a while. I think it’s time well spent. Cancel a trade show if you need the budget.
At the same time as you are doing personas, you should also be mapping the customer journey. The two are related so I’d suggest you outsource that too, but if budgets are tight, you can probably knock this sucker off on your own. This is where that book in the first paragraph is so helpful. If you can’t be bothered with a whole book, this white paper from Oracle is a dense but helpful overview.
The important thing is to be brutally honest about your customers’ experiences. The experts say to find the friction points, the places in the journey where things end to jam up. Well sure, but we know that friction is the least of your worries: you want the miserable, the ridiculous, the rude, the time-wasting and all the other things that land you in someone’s unhinged Twitter rant.
You need to find the databases that don’t talk to the billing systems that don’t interface with the provisioning application that nobody can figure out how to fix now that the guy who wrote it in 1968 finally retired. You know you have these.
Once you find these intransigent points of misery, you need to assign a cost to each of them. Not the cost to fix them, but the cost to not fix them. I’m not sure most companies understand that equation, but it seems like a good thing to know.
At least a few of you are probably wondering how many of those lovely drinks I’ve had and whether Matt Dixon is paying me. The respective answers are not enough and not at all. I get it that all of this is insanely complicated and political. I get that it’s horrendously expensive and also that most of it will not be solved in our lifetimes.
So I propose this: while you are fighting the good fight to get stuff fixed, go to those friction points and try greasing them with a little of that emotion we talked about in Part One.
You may not be able to fix the odd smell in your packaging or the web page that only renders in Swedish or the indecipherable monthly statements, but you can show the organization how to act sorry, humble, understanding, compassionate, and generally like it gives a sh*t.
There. All fixed.