Designing the experience for customers is increasing important in a noisy, saturated world. There seems to be no end of choices for food, technology, or services that are presented to us each day. What are the key differentiators that drive us to one versus the other?
Typically its cost. Many years ago on a much tighter budget, it was only cost. Nothing else much mattered. But as income increases and busyness grows we may become willing to part with some cash for convenience. But it is not always a zero-sum game. Here is my very small hall-of-fame for experience
- JetBlue is not my primary choice because of the routes I typically fly, but I’ll use if I’m shuttling between Syracuse and NYC. Typically, it is cheaper to fly this airline than others to NYC. But there is something more about the experience which is refreshing compared to other carriers. It would appear the “JetBlue experience” starts once you make it past the TSA line at the airport or even earlier when you purchase the ticket. At JFK’s T5, once you pass the security check, there are many options to pass one’s time. Many restaurants, concessions, and services (e.g., chair massage which I missed by about 15 minutes the other night) are available if you have the time. And the terminal is arranged nearly in an efficient hub-and-spoke arrangement making it easier to hustle between flights. The crew – even the pilots – are courteous and even a bit irreverent at times striking a laugh from most of us onboard. Other airlines implore us to “enjoy the flight” – only possible if you are sealed in first class. JetBlue invites us all to “enjoy the JetBlue experience” which is usually the case.
- Uber. I was hitching a ride from LGA to Manhattan the other night and needed a ride. I started to spend 5–10 minutes on a clunky website for another service signing up for a scheduled pickup. Then I abandoned it when I realized the cost difference was negligible and Uber would require 3–5 taps of the iPhone to summon my ride. Which worked like a charm.
- Wegmans. Wegmans is a grocery chain started in Rochester, NY and has stores throughout Upstate NY, NJ, and PA. I worked at one in high school There seems to be a cult following of folks who prefer the experience of Wegmans to other grocery stores. My out-of-state cousin laments not having one nearby. Fresh bakeries near the front of the store are coupled with warm earth tones and an assortment of regular and gourmet items sprinkled throughout the store. Some assert the prices are a bit higher which I’m not convinced of yet. I hate shopping of all kinds but I usually enjoy going there – except for multiple trips near a holiday. This chain is consistently ranked as a top place to work in the US with their employee-first policy. With Wegmans it is not customers first, but employees which trickles into the overall experience for its customers.
Why is this important for the business designer/business architect/enterprise architect? Because we need to focus on the experience to help drive customers to our clients’ products and services. The experience is increasingly becoming the differentiator for product/service selection. Explicitly linking the customers interactions, perhaps with customer journey mapping or similar tools, with the remainder of our business constructs (metamodel) will aide us in driving viable solutions.
What about you? How much of customer experience is making its way into the enterprise architecture conversation? Where are you drawing linkage between the journey and other elements of the architecture? I would love to hear your thoughts.