Customer experience is the entirety of the interactions a customer has with an organization and its products.
Ultimately, this either leads to value creation or it doesn’t. You can build the most sophisticated software application, but if it wasn’t created by including the opinions of the customer and users there is much less chance it will be used and deliver expected outcomes and benefits.
While customer experience is now recognized in IT service management (ITSM) as a key success factor in delivering value, it was neglected in the past. That is despite the concept existing in Scrum since 1995. This and the launch of the Agile Manifesto in 2001 were ideas ahead of their time and certainly too early for many in ITSM to adopt.
However, culture change in organizations and the rise of Agile is now reflected in ITIL® 4, which has evolved the previous ITIL concept of “customer perception” into customer experience.
ITIL 4 – customer journey and experience
Today, ITIL 4 has clarified the different layers of relationship between a service provider and service consumer – and particularly the three types of consumers: users, customers and sponsors.
This means the product lifecycle takes into account customer and user experience so it’s consistent for both and is part of the service design steps (build, test, implement).
The customer journey in ITIL 4 defines the user experience, through feedback obtained from the user. Consequently, the design element is done in collaboration between service provider and customer to ensure value co-creation.
Using methods such as human-centred design and Lean thinking help identify what value means for the consumer and puts the user at the centre of everything; thinking about their pain points and having empathy with their experience of a service, e.g. the functionality of an application.
In one example, a company wanted to implement a data-driven approach for a management information dashboard. The discussion and design were undertaken with the users – the commercial managers – based on their feedback. The product owner’s role in this became solely validation of what the users specified.
Also, the role of the key users is not only to define what they want but to test and train new users. This way, they are playing the role of a service provider. This improves upon the system of having a product owner who, after a product is deployed, moves on to other things and leaving training/onboarding to a service provider, which is often less efficient.
Still, many organizations are yet to recognize the importance of placing users in the key role and how focusing on them ensures there is less resistance to change.
User experience and transformation
By the time a product is delivered, it should be creating value. Taking user experience into account is a proactive approach which should eliminate future questions about usage. That will ensure that support functions like the service desk can offer added value rather than dealing with user problems that should have been identified earlier. This can happen only when users are integral to product design.
So, when the user is consuming the products and services and the customer sees the expected outcomes from the products created by proper use of the services, you have a transformation effect.
Putting the user at the centre of design encourages uptake of the solution and increases the chances of deriving benefits and value.
This is only one example of how ITIL 4 can adopted and adapted within your organization.
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