Confusing customer experience with user experience is common, especially among software developers that are out of touch with the customer. Customer experience is about strategy — where to play, how to win. Often these days, products are delivered through software. Once you have the right strategy, only then can you create a brilliant user experience.
Here are three examples of failed customer experiences, quite possibly with great user experiences (for the wrong user).
Disability claim numbers
Earlier this year I had the opportunity for a pneumonia-induced break from work. Short term disability in NYC is complicated. Turns out to go on disability there are three claims to be filed — NY, Federal, and a claim for benefits to be paid. Of course, I might have gotten that wrong — I had pneumonia while I was dealing with this!
In any case, I got three claim numbers, one for each. Remember, I was only sick once. Only out of work once. But, the insurance company gave me three claim numbers.
No problem, right?
Shouldn’t have been if someone had thought of me, the actual customer and my experience.
When I called to get a status on my claim, the user experience was nice — the person I was talking to was polite. But the customer experience was not. He started with “which claim are you calling about?”
My response shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone who knows me:
“Well, I’m only sick once.”
Optimizing the experience for the wrong user
Write once, deploy everywhere. Win! Right?
Well maybe… for the developer.
But what about the customer?
Do you think it matters if they’re on iOS or Android? What about if they’re using the app on a small phone? Or a big tablet? Or a TV? What about incorporating accessibility features specific to the platform? Is the app shared, like family finance or family health insurance, or is it personal, like work out tracking or messaging?
But, write once and deploy everywhere and the development team declares victory and moves on. It didn’t work for Yahoo, why do you think it’ll work for you?
…[Yahoo’s] engineers were using HTML5, a programming language that let them build apps that worked fine on most mobile devices, but that tended not to be especially well tailored to any single mobile operating system.
The IT team isn’t the right user either
When you go to a trouble ticket system to open a ticket what do you expect to see?
I expect to see a big button that says “open ticket”.
Apparently, IT gets to organize their known issues into a catalog which is then presented to the person. The person is supposed to know if, for example, their problem with their phone is a device issue, a telecommunications issue, or an application issue — three different catalog categories.
Frankly, I was once in a situation where it took me months to figure this out because I was too stubborn to call the help desk (and my issue obviously wasn’t that urgent). I was just looking for the menu option, button, or something that would say “open ticket”. I couldn’t believe it would be that hard. Sadly, I did end up asking for help.
I mean… “open ticket” is the job I’m looking to have done when I head to the help desk, not “intuit the way IT structures support and then instantiates that structure in their catalog”.
It’s simple. Who’s the customer and what’s the experience you’re trying to provide? Clearly, in this example, IT had created an IT help desk with IT as the user in mind.
What to do?
Next week I’ll be speaking at a conference in Puerto Alegre, Brazil on the topic of Digital Transformation in financial services. I’ve chosen to speak about Customer Experience, and how Digital Transformation enables (requires!) organizations to be laser focused on Customer Experience. However, the only way to really deliver a delightful customer (and partner and employee) experience all the time is to disrupt the economics of software development.
Here are my slides, including the three steps anyone can take to begin to ideate around what it really means to be customer first when software eats the world.