The Shiro Architects customer experience (CX) journey
Let us apply your users’ knowledge and experience to make you more money across each step of property’s value chain
As the number of Australian commercial property owners and developers employing executives bearing titles or job descriptions incorporating “customer experience” (or CX) grows, the greater should grow the informed customer-relationship management competence of those providing space and services to the country’s property customers.
And with this, because customer expectations can also be shaped deeply by market conditions, this changes the game, and in this arms race, the bar will be lifted for all others competing with them.
Against the learning delivered by these larger players’ focus on user needs, the value of customer knowledge and data about a property will grow, because property, like all other businesses touched by the internet, is now becoming an information business.
In this new digital-first world, because it is ripe for it and because they can, the best run companies tend to run many experiments in parallel.
And to understand how to achieve satisfaction, a company must deconstruct CX into its individual component experiences.
In this, as useful as it is generally for stimulating workplace creativity, and in any innovation process, within the empathic-design process – suppliers listening in better thought-out ways – creative brainstorming can be used specifically to transform observations into possible solutions.
Yet, while generally associated with a creative process, it need not be undisciplined. Moreover, as valuable as it is for ideas that pop up during actual brainstorming sessions, it is also key to surfacing concepts and solutions that occur to people later, because the seeds for them have already been planted in their minds.
How social internet literacy offers the path to better property CX
Whether it is a business or a consumer being studied, in the practice of CX, data about its experiences may be collected at “touch points”. These are direct contacts either with the product or service itself or with representations of it by the property provider or a related third party.
The expression “customer corridor” may be used to articulate the series of touch points a customer experiences.
We’ve written and published professionally elsewhere on our realisation of the power of peak “social internet literacy” as the tool to trigger insights that can deliver competitive property advantage.
Post-Facebook, this is a state in which everyone knows how to use social media to write online, upload and share material, and to make comments about those items uploaded by others.
And that capacity is now everywhere. It exists in everyone you know, in every employee in every company, and in every sentient property user.
Its emergence means that where previously it was hard, if not impossible, to capture and transform into usable information and action the knowledge and insights of those across an organisation, this is no longer true.
Applied thoughtfully, by engaging open-mindedness, observational skills, and curiosity through the use of the private social technologies available within every organisation, it is now possible to capture much greater competitive business value from the collective intelligence any property user community or workplace contains and can build.
And, if your business is to provide that property, it is possible to train your team’s collective focus to understand better all touch points at every point in your customer’s customer corridor.
As relationships with customers deepen, companies tend to collect data with greater frequency and inventiveness.
Under enhanced scrutiny, the patterns that become apparent will in turn suggest further areas of inquiry, and increasingly, this will reveal new data, insights and possibilities suppliers never anticipated.
And, by exploring what is known, within a deliberate strategy to ask and refine repeatedly better questions of those holding that knowledge, the learning this can drive can inspire consistent and repeated competitive improvements in both customer understanding and, possibly, employee experience (EX) for those conducting the investigation.
Generally speaking, if observation is open-ended and varied, observational biases can cancel each other out.
Then, the more minds and perspectives engaged on this task, and the more precise the instructions given to them to feed into this learning, the more watertight and reliable will be the outcome.
Indeed, when it is scripted to collaborate towards a declared purpose, the socially internet literate, connected, post-Facebook mind is now the most powerful human-to-human force for business and property transformation the world has ever seen.
The Shiro CX-EX approach: A strategy to deliver greater productivity in both customer and employee experience
In this knowledge and data-driven experience economy, we can present your business with an advantage because we have a strategy, built on first-hand experience, for applying social internet literacy to the task of creating better-fitting properties for users.
Verbatim comments might not typically attract the attention they deserve. But, by probing for opportunities, potential patterns will be revealed, often emerging from interpretation of customer data and observation of their behaviour.
As such, our solution is characterised by the pursuit of rich qualitative data, as humans – and customers – think and express themselves primarily in stories and feelings.
Its aim is to provide a social interrogation that yields the information on which other quantitative data mining may be undertaken. This process is much as is found in other forms of business-to-consumer marketing.
Searching for such qualitative cues is key to our approach, as, with the requisite empathy and insight, these can be in their own way more revealing than other apparently more black and white findings.
We use investigative techniques, coupled with professional editorial strategies perfected over many generations of media to elicit, make sense of and test this rich mix of opinion, insight and knowledge.
From the reports we create for managers can be developed the more quantitative customer corridor data points to be mapped and tracked routinely over time.
Our approach is entirely collaborative, and we will work with your team to investigate your customers’ journeys, by:
- Stimulating the creativity among its members to discuss and articulate your buyers’ personas
- Building understanding of those customers’ goals and aspirations
- Identifying the pain points they and others like them experience
- Concentrating, through experiment, on fixing the roadblocks in their journeys
- Taking the team’s members themselves through the customer journey down the customer’s corridor, bearing in mind that not all touch points will reveal themselves to be of equivalent value.
Companies need to map the corridor of touch points and watch for slip-ups, as at each touch point, the gap between customer expectations and actual experience spells the difference between customer delight and something less.
Working through these steps collectively and collaboratively, however, will give its members a shared understanding of your customers’ paths to buying your product, enabling its members to address and strengthen the customer’s overall experience of dealing with your business.
And on it will be built a platform of knowledge and experience for future interrogation and product improvement.
Making CX-EX information work for decision makers
The effort required to produce competitive CX and EX, and to reinforce the quality of the information on which it is built should not be underestimated, if it is to deliver value.
Our approach is also based on recognising the limitations on management’s attention, as one inevitability is that across any organisation, while their intelligence, their ideas and suggestions may be good, managers only have limited time to read, and the quality of its team members’ writing abilities will be uneven.
Many people write poorly, don’t like doing it, or record information in ways that may be imprecise and unsuited to use by others.
Managers won’t wish to invest effort in reading or making sense of the contributions of everyone invited to contribute, but they may still want to ask highly targeted questions, as they need the innovation and advances borne of smart collaboration to happen.
They will also want this to be as hands-off as possible. They will want the highlights and to get summaries as reports, and their demand for brevity and clarity will typically grow in line with the number and diversity of participants.
This is the challenge to which I, Graham Lauren, bring my skill set, as, professionally, I find satisfying both conducting the investigation and the task of sense-making and transforming ordinary writing into material that can be enjoyed, understood, discussed and learned from.
Shiro publishing on the application of social internet literacy to property
Because we are pioneers in recognising, and have experience of using this new force commercially, we have been paid to write and publish on it, first here, in the August 2019 print edition of FM (Facility Management) magazine, and subsequently, here, in the February 2020 issue of Indesign magazine, on its specific applications to shaping the workplace of the future.
We can make your own teams smarter by using this capacity to help them learn to ask better questions and get inside the minds of your users in a way other practices can’t.
We can help you take into consideration as iterative briefing inputs every particular user quirk or opinion to identify if it is just an outlier or a trend to which you should pay attention and adjust.
In commercial property, CX knowledge reduces risk
Although many providers may know a lot about customers’ buying habits, incomes, and other characteristics used to classify them, to this point they probably know too little about the thoughts, emotions, and states of mind that customers’ interactions with their products, services, and brands induce.
Customer dissatisfaction is widespread and, because of their internet empowerment, potentially increasingly dangerous. In property, customers will almost certainly check you out, and pass on to others what they believe and experience.
Yet unless businesses know about these subjective experiences and the role every function plays in shaping them, customer satisfaction is more likely to remain an unfulfillable aspiration than an attainable goal.
And, as understanding such qualitative sentiment is what we are equipped to offer, this is exactly the predicament we want to help your business avoid.
It is not entirely a coincidence that those businesses that get closer to customers typically boast of better financial returns. (Just ask Amazon.)
In property, we recognise that, regardless of the knowledge community it serves, the best-fitting premises – and therefore, most likely the best investment – will generally be one that accords most closely with positive user feeling, comfort, utility and experience.
In the near future, the CX resulting from getting this right is increasingly unlikely to be an accident.
Against those equipped with better customer data, no matter how good their instincts, even if they do not actually falter, those commercial owners and developers lacking user insight and data will increase their own competitive risk with every successive decision in which they trust their gut rather than data or knowledge of their customers’ CX.
At whatever stage your business is, in its value chain or the cycle of occupation, it is probably time to start working to fix that now.