Customer & Business goals to empower your team

In previous posts I’ve talked alot about the value of customer & business goals.  I wanted to share a short story about how powerful this simple tool can be.  

Recently when working with a client, I had a UX team member who was working on a retail phone app.  The product owner wanted to work on a backlog item ‘push notifications’. This was something that came from the marketing team, with the business goal of reaching customers in new ways.  They had procured a supplier that offered an API service that could do this.  The API contained info around targeted marketing messages but could also be built on to include more useful things like delivery updates. The thing that concerned me was that the story was being led by the technology, a very feature based approach.

UX typically would look a sprint ahead of dev teams so that they could hand over spec’s to develop. As part of my effort to develop the practice, I was persuading design teams to use this time to validate and articulate customer value rather than just solutionize before they start full development sprints.

As part of the new process I was experimenting with, we told the PO we were going to map out customer goals and business goals.  I also wanted to rename the story from ‘push notifications’ to ‘informing the customer as they shop’.  Whilst a bit wordy, it better exemplified the experiential nature of the effort.  This would be our requirement brief and outline what would need to happen in order to achieve success.  Getting a PO to establish business goals is pretty easy, for the customer goals, we brainstormed these with the team and prioritized them into a bullet list.

UX would now spend the vision period finding ways to validate if the customer goals were viable, feasible and desirable.  She did this by, creating a hypothesis for various resolutions and also exploring the technology to see if the customer goals were feasible.

Example Business Goals

  • Increase conversion from messages by X%
  • Create more app engagement and usage
  • Gain higher app rating
  • Reduce contact around delivery enquires

Example Customer Goals

  • I want relevant and contextual information.
  • I want to be in control of the messages I receive
  • I don’t want to be bugged and hassled too much
  • I want to understand what i’m opting in for

When the API was looked at, she discovered it wouldn’t let customers toggle the type of messages they received. Push notifications can be intrusive especially if they lack context and value. It was believed that customers would most likely want the ability to switch them off, or control the type of messages they received.

The UXer was then able to take these finding around the limitations of the API back to the product owner. She explained that the API didn’t allow us to meet all of our customer goals, specifically “I want to be in control of the information I receive“. The initial reaction from the PO was “Can you take that customer goal out“. Then quickly realizing that this was perhaps not the best way to resolve the issue, he went back to marketing to challenge marketing’s supplier.

Can you take the customer goal out?Product Owner

What this very simple exercise enabled us to do, was frame a customer centric conversation with the product owner. By getting buy-in, that the effort would only be a success, if it met both business AND customer goals we were able to ensure our concerns had a different way of being heard. It also gave the product owner reassurance that their requirements were understood and created a healthy discussion around business vs customer priorities.

Read more about how to create customer goals and business goals