The following 5 powerful and simple practical things you can do to embed the customer into your organisation.
1. Articulate all new ideas/initiatives into a simple mad-lib statement
When forming any new idea, a simple tool you can use – taken with love from strategyzer’s great value proposition book – is a value card, albeit a tweaked version. This can be just be something you use in workshops or if you want to go nuts, make it part of your work company’s or teams new work request process. This will ensure no new idea gets through unless it can be articulated in terms of customer need, business need and link to strategy.
It goes like this:
|The||New furniture app||[your idea or initiative]|
|will help||trendy minded and our brand lover customers||[which group of customers]|
|who want to||get new stylish furniture for their apartments that fit their taste, style and room size||[customer goals; what are they trying to do]|
|by||providing a stylish , and trended furniture based experience, linked to a searchable catalogue of products to purchase||[how will you help them]|
|with a business benefit of||sales, brand engagement||[business goals; sales, profit etc]|
|which responds to||power trading and customer loyalty||[link with strategy]|
2. Change everything into Customer & Business Goals
In any piece of new development there are always things the business wants to achieve and things the customer wants to achieve. The two are not always the same, and even if they are it’s important to articulate them differently and call them out. You can split out objectives like this at either idea formation or design level user story.
For example.. If the overall initiative is around ‘helping customers with the job of getting a replacement purchase for their new fridge‘ then your development goals might look like this:
|Customer Goals||Business Goals|
|I’m able to find a product that suits my needs||An increase in sales|
|I want to find my product in a simple and straightforward way||Drive customer satisfaction and brand loyalty|
or you could apply to a new homepage design.. where some customer goals might be practical some emotional
|Customer Goals||Business Goals|
|I’m able to immediately navigate to what I was looking for||Promote our proposition, products and promotions|
|I want to recognise the brand experience of X i’m familiar with||Achieve consistency and match brand image|
This idea isn’t new, but where it can be more potent is to integrate these two silos at all stages of in a life-cycle and development..So..
- Change your business cases and new work request forms to include customer goals and business goals
The business may not be used to this idea.. “How can we measure a customer goal??” look at google’s heart framework. You need to sell in the principal, that a piece of work is only a success if it achieves both goals and that this can only happen if the whole team is fully aligned around the same KPIs. It should also give your UX team some teeth when they come back indicating that some customer goals aren’t being achieved and they need do modify the design.
- Once the idea / initiative has been approved, start working on user stories or feature sets and what their retrospective customer goals. It’s ok to hypothesize for now what they might be , but make sure you continually validate, ideally once a week with customer tests until you can scale it up to a wider audience (A/B)..
- When critiquing with your stakeholders these goals should form your narrative when you walk them through your design (more on this later).
- Finally when you release your design in the wild.. come back to your customer / business goals.. How can you ensure they have succeeded.. – See Hack no.3 below –
3. Test everything!
You need to frame every idea you have, every design, every story as a hypothesis. Nothing is proven until you’ve tested it and nothing should be released, nothing can be built or designed until you’ve tested it. You might think you’re already doing this, but does it happen every time on every idea, project or story?
A simple way to do this is to take anything your about to do and frame into a test card. You should put your hypothesis down, and then look at what assumptions that hypothesis makes in order for it to be true. That’s what you need to validate. So for example.. if my hypothesis is
“Customers shopping in store are, are overwhelmed and want to spend time with complicated technical products and would benefit from simple guided advice when purchasing large white goods”
My assumptions would be..
- How do i know people are overwhelmed?
- How do I know they don’t want to spend time?
- How do I know we can do a guided advice ?
So you have your assumptions, these will form your tests. What can you do to gain confidence to validate these assumptions?
|We believe that||Customers shopping are, are overwhelmed and want to spend time with complicated technical products and would benefit from simple guided advice when purchasing large white goods||Hypothesis|
|To verify that we will||test a competitor’s guided selling tool on customers||How will you test?|
|And measure||customer satisfaction, time on spent task and success rate||Metric|
|We are right if||Customers describe using competitors tool in a positive way that was useful for them, they are able to do this in under 20 min and at least 80% are able to find what they were looking for.||Criteria|
Note, some goals may be practical, some emotional. All are valid and you need to identify a way to measure them.
Once you’ve tested you should complete a learn card..
|We believed that||Customers shopping are, are overwhelmed and want to spend time with complicated technical products and would benefit from simple guided advice when purchasing large white goods||Hypothesis|
|We observed||Customers found competitors guided selling useful, and it helped them find what there were looking for, and 70% were able to find what there were looking for in 15min||observation|
|We learned||Competitors execution is largely successful, but there were elements in the design that could be improved||learnings|
|Therefor we will||build our own prototype in order to further validate interest and deman||decisions, actions|
You may find it easier to use a spreadsheet for this.
This can be useful for forming how you plan your big pieces of work, develop designs during a sprint and evaluating after release. In terms of what to test, the principles you should follow is;
- What assumption do you need to validate that is most critical to your idea’s success?
- Before: Validate customer demand.. surveys or look at data or existing customer feedback.
- During: Validate design execution and direction, in-house user tests, or MVTs
- After Validate confidence in your released design. Is this better than what we have now? Great do an A/B test.. track your goals, conversion, customer feedback etc.
- You may well be doing this already, but with the test and learn cards it should ensure that everything is tested and learned from all the time.
4. Get your design Critiques down
Ever been in those show and tells where you get your stakeholders into demo/show them your latest designs and it gets torn apart for stuff you weren’t even designing for or wasn’t in the brief?? Now that you have started your work and aligned everyone to customer and business goals, your stakeholder meetings can go a little differently..
You: “We’re about to show you a design that has these business goals and customer goals..”
Stakeholder leans back on chair…
Stakeholder: “I don’t like it, I don’t think it works..”
You: “Which customer or business goal do you not think it’s matching?”
Stakeholder looks over goals…
Stakeholder: “That as a customer I can instantly recognise the brand I know and meet my expectations”
You: “Great question, we actually ran a test to specifically validate that and customers tested all found that they did recognise the brand and it met their expectations… What’s your next question please?”
This should help you change the conversation with your stakeholders and get them focused back on the goals set.
5. The wall is the new desk
The best value you can add is to get all of the above up on a big wall and make it very visible. This will encourage new conversations, create alignment and get people talking! There are several models for canvas’.. so tweak as you see fit..
Team Product Canvas
This will have the following articulated but you may choose to modify this..
Customer Needs / Business Needs
See rough template