Managing the 4D: the Time
If you like science fiction, you’ve probably lined up to see “Interestelar”. Half of you hated it, the other half, loved it. In either case, probably you learned more about science than in all those years at school. And that it always appreciated ;).
In fact, our feelings towards the film can be summarized in our reaction of the final scene. Just as the ending of “2001: Odyssey in Space”, this scene unfolds in a place that seems to exist between the world that we know and some alternative weird dimension.
After entering a wormhole in a desperate attempt to save humanity, Mathew McConaughey manages to cross the third dimension and reaches a place where he is able to manipulate time, as if it were a physical object. If we add to this an excellent visualization of the principle of relativity, in which the protagonist looks from space as his children age on earth while he remains young, it is clear that the real protagonist of the film is time and its amazing properties, that only now we are beginning to understand.
As a fervent follower of Asimov that I am, these scenes made a profound impact on me. Not so much because I believe that one day I can rewind my life or slow down the best moments, but because it made me reflect on how badly we manage time. And yes, this also applies to the Customer Experience.
What is time?
As Einstein explained to us in 1905, time is subjective. It is not a universal or absolute concept. But the elasticity of time is even more amazing when we enter the human mind. And, when we see the boy or girl we like, time seems to stop. It happens more slowly. It is elastic. And best of all: it's free! limited, but free.
The Impact of Time in the Experience
It may surprise you, but some of the most surprising findings of the impact of time on the Customer Experience were discovered more than 30 years ago, as well as many of the principles that we believe are the fruit of Neuroscience.
Through a series of experiments, Leif Nelson and Tom Meyvis measured how small disruptions influence the overall pleasure and excitement produced by pleasurable or painful experiences.
Let's do a little experiment. Close your eyes. They are giving you a pleasant massage on the shoulders (or on the feet, you decide). As you liked it so much, you decide to repeat it, but this time, and shortly after starting, the massage stops ... a second, two, ten ... and it resumes. These breaks take place several times.
What massage have you enjoyed the most? The first or the second?
Now you are in a chair. You wear a pair of music headphones and they blast the sickening squeak of a chalk with a blackboard, which you hear gritting your teeth for an endless 50 seconds. Even though you didn’t like this experience, they make you repeat it. But this time, they also intersperse 5-second pauses.
What experience have you found most unpleasant? The first or the second?
In essence, the experiment showed that breaks in the midst of pleasurable experiences multiply pleasure, while interruptions in negative experiences make them more painful.
However, those of us who are dedicated to designing and transforming Customer Experiences, only take into account the time when shortening waiting times and reducing the Customer Effort Score. That is to say, we are only using a tiny part of the potential of this element, which is increasingly critical, by the way, when assessing companies.
Applications to the Experience Design
- Anticipate the WOW moments and "artificially stretch them" over time without investing anything!: help your clients to relive the moment, to plan it, etc. Create rituals for your clients, that make them smile long before using your product or service.
- Socialize the WOW moments so that they pass more slowly and keep much longer in the memory: Zara has introduced a new functionality in their ecommerce so that you can buy online connected with your friends!
- Introduce pauses in the WOW Moments, try to fragment them and disperse them throughout your Journey, do not focus on a single moment (Watch out! We do not mean to look for the WOW at every moment (something that we should never do, the wow should be dosed), but to plan a fine rain of magical and memorable micromoments in the client's Journey. For example, ING has fragmented its main value proposition (zero commissions) and dispersed it throughout its interactions, products, channels and customer’s life cycle. Each day gives you a reason to feel that you are in the right bank, reminding the customer what has been saved with each operation, with each product, and at the end of the year. But, there are many other value propositions that are not being implemented in banking, and that would allow us to establish a tremendous emotional dialogue with the client. And if we remind them every day (or week, or month) how much we have approached their personal goal?
- Identify and eliminate all the uncomfortable procedures and interactions for your clients and try to concentrate them in a single interaction, or at least, shorten them in time. Example: unification of invoices, collection of commissions, etc. It is incredible to observe how the protocols of change of manager and office (two of the main moments of pain in banking) are increasingly prolonged over time, as if they expected the client to not notice the change (believe me, he will notice it, and anticipating the change or extending it more than necessary will only cause his dissatisfaction to multiply exponentially). We must also be careful with customer notifications. Make sure your notifications act as "virtual hugs," not "slaps" of reality.
- Eliminate transitions or pauses between Moments of Pain, that is, unify them, shorten them. Jeansonline, a fashion ecommerce, was the first company to unify the two moments that involved the most uncertainty and effort (delivery at home and return of orders). How? Your messengers wait at the door for you to try your clothes so you can return what you do not want at that moment.
- Look for applications of this principle to other critical pieces of #CX, such as the VOC Programs: a study showed that Moments of Pain and WOW impact on the following interactions, and therefore, if they happen first, better (or worse, if it is an MOP). You probably know the GE case, but you'd be surprised to know how many times this same phenomenon is reproduced. A simple example are airports. When a passenger receives unpleasant treatment at the security checkpoint, he will buy less at the stores and will score the airline's embarkation time worse. That is, a transactional survey after boarding (one of the 3 Truth Moments of the sector), will receive a much lower NPS depending on what has he lived in the previous interaction, in other words, it will depend on the markers or emotional background. And this is information that VOC programs do not include, even when the previous interaction takes place with the same company.
- Enter the time and context variable in the CEM design tools, such as Customer Journey Map, Blueprint, Archetypes, etc. (see #IZOchallenge)
The Netflix Case
Netflix manages point # 1 (anticipation of WOW moments) very well but point # 3 (concentrates a WOW moment in time) very badly. We invite you to discuss this case in our ClienteXfera community.
I would like to launch a challenge to the professionals that work in the field of Customer Experience:
"Develop a new generation of CEM tools that take into account the time dimension and its impact on the emotions, memories and behavior of the customer."
Here I leave, as a sample, what we could call a Customer Journey TimeMap, which incorporates the TIME dimension (and context) to the moments of interaction: a kind of actionable "time line", similar to those used by software video editing, and with which we can lengthen or cut out "clips", introduce pauses, shorten transitions, etc.