How can we unlock the client's latent knowledge with co-creation techniques to discover their experience and emotions?
In general, when we talk about customer experience projects we need to involve multidisciplinary teams, actors related to the experience to understand multiple points of view and design solutions according to the needs.
In this scenario, co-creation makes sense independently if we talk about diagnosing, designing or transforming. Given that it allows us to involve multidisciplinary teams and get as much as possible from different profiles that maybe "do not speak the same language". If we also talk about projects that focus on the redesign of interactions, such as the case of Emotional Interaction Design, the importance of facilitating co-creation workshops becomes a key technique.
According to the theory of Customer-dominant logic, we must consider the reality of the client and its ecosystem as a starting point for the generation of value when designing new experiences (Heinonen et al 2013). Therefore, the question is no longer how companies involve their clients in their interactions, but rather the different services offered by different companies and how they are integrated into the customer's life (Heinonen and Strandvik, 2015).
In the last 6 years, the need for the involvement of the clients themselves in the process of designing new experiences, interactions or entire services has always been more prominent. This brought to the table discussions about the need for a more systematic approach to co-creation, and the need to know more about how value is formed in this process, when the process begins and ends, and really at what times and how we should co-create with the final clients (Grönroos, 2011).
To be able to cover these new challenges that we can face in the field of customer experience we must achieve a deep knowledge about the client and Image 1 reveal insights in the phase of understanding and qualitative research, given that these surprising findings will mark the redesign of the new experiences. In order to discover how customers live, how they are, what motivates them, what frustrates them, what dreams they have and how they feel.
The path that leads us to the insights
All the techniques we use to understand clients fall into one of three categories (Say, Do, Create) or, at one of the intersections according to the client's action. The techniques that are part of "Saying" focus on what the client says, such as an interview, a focus group or even an ideation session. While the techniques we find in "Doing" are aimed at understanding what the client does by applying techniques such as contextual observation. And finally, the techniques that are placed in "Create" include techniques and dynamics of an abstract nature in which customers generate something tangible, externalizing their experiences. Well, these are the 3 ways to co-create with customers, one is not better than another, but they are complementary.
Why is it really important to combine them? Applying different co-creation techniques allows us to access different levels of customer knowledge related to their experiences.
If we want to unlock the latent needs of clients, the most appropriate techniques are "Create", where participants can build tangible evidence of their experience. The key in these techniques is that through their abstract nature, those involved in an even unconscious form capture information about their experiences and in such a way, we identify their desires and emotions. If we would try to get the same insights through "Saying" techniques we would find ourselves in a situation receiving rational answers. The reason is very simple and at the same time scientific, the different techniques activate different parts of our brain and in the case of the "Saying" techniques, the answers come from the neocortex (the rational part of the brain), while those from abstraction manage to activate the limbic system of the brain and as a consequence creativity.
From the theory to the practice
The love letter / letter of breaking the relationship technique allows us to sensitize clients and understand their relationship in a specific interaction or relational level with the company based on the experience they have lived. Externalizing this experience and the relationship they have in the form of a letter written for the company itself.
Another technique that allows activating the client's creativity is the making of a collage. This technique can be applied in a different way depending on what stage we are in the project and what is the objective of the activity. To be more specific in a phase of understanding the current experience, we can ask each participant to individually visualize their current experience in the collage format, providing them with magazines and all types of materials activating their imagination. In this stage of the project, working individually with each participant, we will be able to capture real stories of people. While we are in the ideation phase of the project, in which we involve clients or employees, we can do the exercise in small groups to have a shared vision of the objective experience
In the context of co-creation with clients, these activities are useful to externalize what they have previously lived with the company and participate actively and positively in co-creation. On the other hand, it helps us to detect key drivers of the experience, expectations and desires of the client in the selected interaction or relational level.
Finally, we can affirm that in the heart of the redesign of new experiences should be the co-creation involving clients and key actors, but always in a conscious way and with a clear purpose.
Sanders, L., Stappers, P. J. 2013. Convivial Toolbox: Generative Research for the Front End of Design, BIS Publishers
Grönroos, C. 2011. Value co-creation in service logic: a critical analysis. Marketing Theory
Heinonen, K., Strandvik, T., & Voima, P. 2013. Customer dominant value formation in
service. European Business Review 25(2), 104–123.
Heinonen, K., Strandvik, T. 2015. Customer-dominant logic: foundations and implications. Journal of Services Marketing 29(6/7), 472–484.