A good customer experience is one which integrates business goals with customer goals. So the first thing a company should do is clearly identify their business goals and then talk to their customers to build an understating of their customers’ goals. Then they need to look at ways to integrate them in a seamless experience. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Well it is a simple principle, but in reality it can be hard for companies to let go of some of their business goals to even up the balance. A great example of this is with the Post Office.
If you ask most British people (or indeed non-brits) about their experience in their local Post Office, I’d lay a hefty wager that at least 70% of customers would complain about the queues. In my experience, the total time spent in the post office is about 90% waiting in a line and about 10% actually being served. This situation was no different for me the other day when I spent 10 minutes in a queue to send a parcel abroad which took less than a minute once I was at the counter. Half way through my wait I was frustrated to find that reason for the delay was not because of the usual lack of staff, instead it was due to Post Office staff trying to sell broadband to pensioners who needed every detail to be explained to them. For some reason, management at the Post Office felt that it was more important to push their own broadband service than it was to help customers achieve their goals as quickly as possible. So, not only are they increasing an already annoying waiting time for customers, but they are also encouraging their staff to sell broadband to people in a context which doesn’t support their goal. Why the Post Office want to offer broadband to their already strange set of services is a topic for another day, but this example shows a clear imbalance between Post Office business goals and customer goals.
More often than not, we find that poor customer experience is the direct result of too much emphasis placed on business goals and not enough on customer goals. Quite often it is simply due to a disconnect between the board room and their customers. We try to help senior management gain a better understanding and empathy with their customers to ensure that every business decision has a balance between what the business needs and what the customer needs.
How do you ensure your business goals aren’t overpowering your customer’s goals?
About Damian Rees
Damian has worked as a usability and user experience consultant for over 13 years. He has worked in senior roles within companies like the BBC and National Air Traffic Services where he has researched and designed for users in a variety of different contexts including web applications, voice recognition, and air traffic control interfaces. Follow Damian on twitter @damianrees