What do B2B Chief Commercial Officers have in common with product designers? Both are accountable for experience design that strikes a chord with their customers.
In a previous blog, I said that Creating Memorable Customer Experiences will keep customers coming back rather than driving them to competitors. Yet, creating memorable experiences can be tricky. Success is predicated on understanding customer needs, then designing and successfully implementing a better experience.
Designing experiences is out of our comfort zone.
We don't typically have professional designers on staff and it's important to design something customers will value. The stakes are high. We’ve all pursued projects that never delivered as promised. Resources are hard to come by and we can’t afford to waste them on failed projects. And if you are pursuing an entire program to transform your customer’s experience, the stakes are even higher.
“Less than half of executives (47 percent) believe they can extract and maintain the planned value from a future transformation initiative. In addition, only half of executives (51 percent) believe they can create short-term transformation wins.”
KPMG Global Transformation Study 2016
In my experience, there are proven techniques to help improve the odds. Let’s take a simple example to illustrate the principle.
Should you approve the project?
B2B leaders get anxious about committing $$$ to projects that involve customer or employee behavior change, even if it is change for the better. There’s so much uncertainty,
Will customers use it?
Can my team support it?
Can the data, systems and processes handle it?
Will it produce the impact I hope for?
To effectively manage these uncertainties, we can borrow some proven tactics from our colleagues in product design & digital systems development.
Prototyping “A prototype is a simple experimental model of a proposed solution used to test or validate ideas, design assumptions and other aspects of its conceptualization quickly and cheaply.”
Design Thinking: Get Started with Prototyping by Rikke Friis Dam and Teo Yu Siang
After gathering input, Matt felt confident that the solution would be successful internally but still had doubts;
Would customers use it?
Would it deliver the expected benefit?
Minimum Viable Product MVP
“Unlike a prototype or concept test, an MVP is designed not just to answer product design or technical questions. Its goal is to test fundamental business hypotheses.”
How DropBox Started As A Minimal Viable Product by Eric Ries
Prototyping and Minimum Viable Product are practical tools to help you design memorable experiences and be confident in delivering results.
By test-driving solutions in your transformation portfolio, you get early warning about things that stand between you and successful business results. You can reduce your risks and increase the success probability. It allows you to take bolder moves than you would have otherwise.
Go fast, take risks, and learn. You will go faster, I guarantee it!
Carol Pudnos Carol is a Customer Experience Strategist, helping companies transform their operations to deliver seamless experiences. Carol’s thoughts on customer experience are backed by over two decades of B2B business leadership in chemical, food, pharma and medical device industries. “Processes that serve customers the way they want to be served will differentiate your company and drive business results.”