Burst your bubble

It all began with reports of eroding books of business, price wars and marketing dollars not being accountable for conversions (or not in any visible manner anyway). Then a CEO made that big I’m back from a conference speech, to share new knowledge. Suddenly we’ve established a deadline to implement Net Promoter Score (NPS) at the enterprise level and a whole playbook is being designed. Sound familiar?

NPS is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. In other words, we can figure out who is promoting our brand versus who is likely to detract and therefore take their business elsewhere. The success of this metric lies in the engagement of customers at the right moment to obtain meaningful feedback and then having to act on it because we’ve proactively reached out to acquire it. We soon realise that the costs of exceeded customer expectations are high, while the payoffs are minimal. We know from experience that customers are much more likely to punish bad service than to reward good service. There’s sufficient proof that the ease of having your problems resolved is a much better predictor for satisfaction than the exceeding of expectations. So improving the customer experience by making the customer journey easy is of greater significance to any brand. This philosophy requires different measurements like the Customer Effort Score (CES) which is superior to Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) in predicting consumer behavior.

In the end, it boils down to the consumers need for a job to be done and the willingness to back brands that help them get the job done faster, better and cheaper. Achieving this objective for your consumers not only requires meeting current needs but anticipating future needs by inventing a future that is interesting, sexy and serves a purpose. This requires moving from data to analytics, customer segmentation to ease of doing business and ideas that sell to ideas that are bought. We have started shifting the paradigm, mental models and mindsets. The future is in its making and the applications of this concept are only limited by our imagination. In the world of innovation which lies at the fringes of most organisations or fills the gaps in between, we keep asking all the wrong questions though. We all want frictionless technology solutions but it’s not what we are doing, which projects are getting attention, which technologies are enabling us or who we’ve partnered with but why we are doing it and at what scale that really matters.

Let’s consider the value proposition for transporting people from A to B. We must ask ourselves what are the jobs to be done before that journey, during that journey and after that journey from the consumer’s point of view. I call it wearing the ‘Uber Hat’. The jobs to be done before the journey may include finding a driver nearby, knowing how long it’ll take for the driver to arrive and is the fare coming out of personal or business expenses. Once on the journey, the jobs to be done may include picking up a friend or colleague, knowing how long the journey will take in real-time or sharing the ride. After the journey, knowing how much it cost, receiving a receipt for payment (especially for expense claims on business trips) and/ or recovery of items left behind in the car. Uber has thought about everything! They’ve even started services that assist people in emerging markets to hail a ride without the app or the need for credit card payments. Who would want to take a taxi when you’ve experienced Uber’s service and quality of care. I can write a whole article and many more about Uber but I’ve made my point.

When we are wearing the ‘Uber Hat’ we think and act like Uber. We are able to design solutions that are globally relevant, applicable to any business or market and withstand the challenges in our way, no matter how big they may seem to others. Throw creative thinking and industry expertise into the mix and you’ve got a winning formula for the application of human centred design that has proven its success across borders. This is the difference between a market leader and a follower. I’m only here to present concepts, the choice is yours and if you don’t make that choice, ultimately the consumer will.

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