Jared M. Spool's recent article, The True Power of UX Goes Beyond Digital, reminded me of my time at St John New Zealand as his discussion points mirrored what I had continually sought to imprint on our directors down to developers there. It was that despite how we were working in a "Digital Programme" and leading a charity-wide "Digital Transformation", we needed to be collectively looking far wider than what would be on our digital website's surface.
Words are powerful, and when you get the right combination in the right order, sometimes all it may take to spark that lightbulb moment of realisation is a simple quote like, "Experiences happen before and after the transaction." This line spoke such an all-powerful truth in me to the point that I've just decided to make it my latest email signature haha.
Anyways, understanding that your product or service isn't the end all be all of your customer's day is what removes the metaphorical blinders from your eyes that would have otherwise kept you and your team from seeing all of the surrounding, yet hidden business opportunities available.
No matter where you work, from a charity to a bank to a hospital to a software company to a petrol station, repeat this mantra that people don't seek out and interact with what you're offering in isolation.
Nobody makes an important cash deposit into an ATM and then immediately walks away going "Well that's that!” If the machine literally did nothing more than meet the requirement of consuming inserted cash, it would be far less frequented.
Was their deposit successfully received with the right amount and did it confirm this with the customer when they wanted to know? Why did they want to deposit their money anyways and why into this account? Why this bank? Why not keep the cash? What are their goals? When do they plan on using it and what do they plan on using it for? And how might we help them do all of these things in the most effective, efficient, satisfactory, and goal-meeting way possible?
Nobody fills up their vehicle's tank at the pump and then just leaves it there at the station; they have somewhere to go (and they’re not about to leave their property behind after-all). But if drivers acted as the fuel pump owners may have limitedly imagined, why wouldn’t they leave their car behind aftering fueling up? What else could there possibly be to worry about?
Well, why did the driver visit that station? Why that day? Was it easier to get to? Were the prices more compelling? Were they running on empty? Were they refilling a rental car before returning it? Was there a better filling experience here than at other petrol stations? How far do they need to go and how might we help them get there and on time?
And here we also begin to really see that their world doesn't start and stop with what you have.
They've filled up their tank, but now what? Now they're sitting in the driver's seat and having to manage the hundreds of simultanous tasks that it takes to drive a car: accelerate, turn, see what's ahead, see what's behind, brake, indicate, adjust the temperature, play a song, honk the horn, on and on.
Our actual day-to-day and end-to-end experiences become so much more expansively detailed and connected the more we zoom out and the deeper we dive in, but there are still scoping limits.
So, understand what your customers expect from you and what they need, give empathetic research questions the time of day, and welcome the world of opportunties just waiting to be unearthed by someone who's paying attention.