Stop Asking The Customer To Jump Through Your Hoops
In some ideation sessions that I’ve been a part of when attendees start the description of the idea with “the customer needs to” or “the customer should” or “the customer will,” I inwardly cringe.
Typically, the rest of that sentence usually is asking the customer to either do something or to do something different than the way that they have been doing things. There are many ideation sessions where those are the initial results – we are either asking the customer to do something different, or we are helping the customer do something.
Typically this “something” is something that we are asking them to do due to our inability or reluctance to do it for them. That’s where I stop them. Sure, in most of these sessions, we say that “there are no bad ideas” and not to use the word “but” when responding to an idea, but I think that it’s essential to set the stage and realign some thinking.
In my view, customers are human. And it has been proven the most humans are lazy. So logically, our customers are lazy. Not only will they not do what we’d like then too, even if it’s more comfortable, but I’d also suggest that we never go far enough. That we expect too much from our customers. After all, they are only humans, and they would probably prefer not to have to complete whatever task they have to complete at all. Case in point: making payments. In ideation sessions with financial services organizations, we talk about new ways of making payments.
The ideation typically begins with ideas that still require the customer to do something: maybe in a different way or in fewer steps. This is a disconnect between the perception of what a customer would like to do and what we would like the customer to do. Ideally, the customer would like to do nothing which they “have” to and only do things that they “want” to do. For example, do you think your customers enjoy paying bills? Sure, you may have a few fringe folks who would like to do that, but on the whole, I’d bet that most of your customers would prefer that bills were “just paid.”
It’s not that customers would like to do less – its that we haven’t fully come to terms with the fact that our customers would prefer to do nothing. Our customers don’t want to “bank” or to “shop,” they want their money managed, and their shopping done for them.
We have to ideate new products and services which speak to the inherent laziness in humanity: our customers would not like to do things differently, or in fewer steps, they would prefer not to do things at all. If your idea eliminates the need for the customer to do anything, then I think that you have a winner. Drive your processes so that the customer either does very little or nothing, and you’ll probably find that its a great success.
The ultimate in customer service is servicing your customers so completely that things “just happen” exactly when, where and how they want them to. Agree or disagree?