Innovation in Customer Experience: It’s Simpler Than You Think

By James Grieve posted 03-06-2018 15:27


Many businesses aspire to grow by implementing new ways to uncover opportunities, generate great ideas, and improve performance. Some innovative companies will set realistic, specific goals, make actionable plans and have the discipline to execute them effectively. 

Unfortunately, many others will rely heavily on their products and services only, banter about buzzwords, and let their boardroom promises becomes a toxic substitute for strategy—a sure-fire recipe for disaster and unmet expectations.

Thankfully, for companies seeking to improve their customer experience to improve business performance, innovation doesn’t have to be a complex or complicated process. By combining a deep understanding of customer needs, attitudes and behaviours with hard data on their market landscape, companies can gain valuable insights and solutions that will attract and retain more customers.

A simple, yet effective way to do this is to understand and apply the “Jobs to Be Done” approach to customer experience popularized by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen. Christensen’s work focused on looking not at what products and services people are buying, but rather what the underlying jobs they are trying to get done by doing so.

Regardless of whether your company sells products or services, customer insights are the cornerstones of innovation. Understanding what jobs your customers are trying to get done, and removing the obstacles that they fact in doing them, will provide solutions that will generate competitive advantages and yield profitable results.

The key to success in employing the “Jobs to Be Done” method of customer innovation is to gather the right information from your customers and analyze it properly.

Instead of relying solely on what customers want, it’s important to understand the pains they want to alleviate, or gains they want to achieve.

Investing too heavily in customer surveys, and gathering opinions without understanding why customers are reacting the way they do, makes it difficult to figure out the right direction to take, and can leave you with mounds of data without a clear strategy to execute customer-centric and innovative solutions to relieve pains and provide gains that support your company’s value proposition.

As Henry Ford repeatedly said, “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Comprehending what jobs your customers want done and how your products or services satisfy them makes good business sense. It enables companies to find high potential avenues for growth, generates fresh ideas, and provides a roadmap for execution. It also signals early warning signs of roadblocks, develops the success criteria to determine if goals are being met, delivers and sustains value, aligns employees toward common customer-facing objectives, and sets your company apart from the competition.

Focusing on your customers’ “Jobs to be Done” doesn’t require flashes of creative genius. It simply requires a commitment to developing a fresh perspective on how you approach your business from the customers’ needs, rather than relying on the attributes of the products and services you offer.

Satisfied customers’ needs translates into satisfied customers, and this an important outcome that will make 2018 a very happy new year for your business.


About the Author - James Grieve CMC, MBA

James Grieve is a Certified Management Consultant and partner in Nucleus Strategies, a Kelowna-based consulting firm that specializes in working with businesses in a variety of industries to design great service experiences that delight customers and improve business performance. For over 20 years James' consulting career has been well balanced among: strategic planning, marketing strategy, project management, change management, B2B and B2C sales, customer experience design, and business development, with emphasis on building, nurturing, and sustaining client relationships.

He can be reached at 778.214.6010, or