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Category Archive: Design Thinking

Do you possess this creative problem solving skill?

There is a book titled “Wicked problems worth solving”.

The author Jon Kolko, “A wicked problem is a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems.”

Some of the wicked problems our world is facing like poverty, healthcare, disease, famine etc. These are complicated problems due to the involvement of multiple expertise and disciple involved. Like poverty is linked to education and inequality of income, healthcare is connected with poverty and education and likewise.

The author offers designers approach to solve these problems.

IDEO.ORG is a design firm working to improve lives of poor and vulnerable communities.  They are approaching the problems in poor and developing countries with the new and emerging concept of Human Cemented Design (HCD). This is a creative approach to problem solving. They believe that Embracing human-centered design means believing that all problems, even the seemingly intractable ones like poverty, gender equality, and clean water, are solvable.

Moreover, it means believing that the people who face those problems every day are the ones who hold the key to their answer. Human-centered design offers problem solvers of any stripe a chance to design with communities, to deeply understand the people they’re looking to serve, to dream up scores of ideas, and to create innovative new solutions rooted in people’s actual needs

They are working on the projects like to identify opportunities for saving products for banks  for savers of low income Mexicans, how to sell health insurance in rural Nigeria using mobile money platform, create micro franchise opportunities for an NGO in India,  working with the Bezos Family Foundation on early child development, working with utility manufacturers for more intuitive and user friendly experience.

In short, they are using an HCD approach to solve many small but important wicked problems across the globe.

HCD entails three stages:

  • Inspiration: Define the challenge to be solved and collect data.
  • Ideation: Ideate with all stake holders’ data collected to generate many ideas.
  • Implementation: Bring solution to life

There is an approach for each of the stage.

HCD approach design the solution which is viable (business/economics), feasible (Technology) and desirable (Human).

HCD is the approach business world use for service design to design customer focussed serviced design. This is the approach advance Governments are taking in solving people’s problem and better citizen service. Govt of the UK is quite ahead in this approach. Taking service design to Parliament, the author writes “ In order to create great services in the first place, the government has to stop thinking in silos. It needs to create services that cross departmental boundaries.

Be it NGOs, Social Entrepreneurs, For Profit Entrepreneurs and Governments all are gradually moving towards deign thinking. This Human Centered Design thinking and approach can help us doesn’t only solve wicked problems but create better customer/citizen experience.

If you are a problem solver irrespective of the type of the organisation, or wish to be a part of it, HCD is a necessary skill.  & the good part is it can be learned online for free. Yes, Acumen is conducting regular online free course on the subject of HCD.

Sunil Gandhi

A small but expanding list

This post is an overview of my books.

The Fifth Idiot:

This is a fiction about entrepreneur’s aggression to expand rapidly to please PE investors and creating wealth through an IPO. & how one incident changed everything. Read how he becomes employee happiness-centric from mere profit and market share-centric.

The book has earned praise from Ritesh Agarwal of Oyo Rooms, Ninad Karpe of Aptech, Richa Anirudh of Zindagi Live TV Programme and Dr. Anupam Sibal of Apollo Hospital

A reader’s review on Amazon:

The Bread is Moving:

The book is primer for Indian entrepreneurs on the subject of customer experience (CX) and service design. What, why and how of CX.

The book is praised by Govind Shrikhande of Shoppers Stop and Joy Chakraborty of Hinduja Hospital.

One of the readers recently tweeted.

The Highest Ignorance:

The book is a fiction. A story of a woman’s journey who discovers self is not a body but a soul and road she takes once ignorance about the self evaporates and the deep desire for enlightenment emerges.

This book has received praise from Dr. Jagdish Sheth, Professor at Emory University – USA, Christopher Chapel of Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, USA Vallabh Bhansali of Enam, Padmabhushan Mallika Sarabhai, CA Bhavana Doshi of KPMG & CA Pradeep Shah to name a few.

“For today’s brake-less and largely aim-less people, Sunilbhai has created a ‘sugar coated’ fast pill. Fiction that presents the highest wisdom in a practical and applied manner. Hope a lot of readers take its benefit.”

– Vallabh Bhanshali , Co-Founder & Chairman , ENAM Group

“Beautiful……. very touching……… lucidly written story … A must read for all… young and not so young, initiated and non-initiated…… “

– CA Bhavana Doshi, Senior Advisor, KPMG

There are some good readers’ reviews on Amazon. This book an English translation of my Gujarati book Titled ‘The Shortest Journey’.

Wow ! & Weird:

This is a collection my choicest blog post over last 6 six years. Infact this is available free on my blog on registration. Welcome to register and download this ebook.

The book is praised by CA Ashwin Parekh, Ex – E & Y, Anand Rathi, Bijou Kurian of Reliance Retail and Rajnikant Patel, Ex – MD & CEO of BSE and ICE.

Coming up next:

Dangerous Debt – What every entrepreneur must know.

This is at the manuscript stage and I am inviting beta readers.

Wish you a happy READING experience with these books.

Sunil Gandhi

How Service Design influence our happiness?

We have known about the importance of service design and how it can be implemented in solving people problem in previous two posts.

One of the fundamental principles of Service Design is it is Human Cantered. Human be it customer, citizen or patients’ or patients’ relatives.

The largest service provider who touches the maximum humans in any country is the Government (Govt.) of that country.

Governments are the biggest service providers in the world. Everything Govt. does is a service to the citizen. Govt. touches many aspects citizen’s lives.

  1. Direct Tax Departments
  2. Indirect Tax Departments
  3. Railway/Public Transport
  4. Passport and Immigration
  5. Water supply and cleaning up of the cities
  6. Policing
  7. Healthcare (To a large extent)
  8. Education (To a large extent)
  9. Insurance (To a large extent)
  10. Banking (To a large extent)
  11. Business Policies
  12. Welfare Schemes
  13. Judiciary

All these are services and mostly provided un-designed in a human-cantered way.

Which single private company can provide so many important and inescapable services?

Every important sphere of human life is influenced by the Govt. Imagine if these services are not designed keeping the HUMAN aspect at the core, how much irritation and frustration they can create?  We all are experiencing the pain of our Govt. services so no need to borrow our experience.

What we experience when we deal with Govt. services is (One or all) ;

  • Inconvenient
  • Inefficient
  • Irritable
  • Irresponsible
  • Indifferent

& therefore results in stress and frustration. This is perhaps the cause of massive and wide spread corruption as we all want to avoid such experience.

Perhaps happiness index of the country can change if the Govt. behaves and offer these services in a human-cantered way. It is not the money which gives happiness to the citizen but it is the Govt. Services which are responsible for our happiness.

Not convinced?  Don’t agree?

Let me explain.

As per the World Happiness Index 2015 and Accenture Citizen Experience Study;

70% of the people in the US are ‘not satisfied’ with their cost of living and only 3% is ‘very satisfied’. But they rank 15th in the world Happiness Index.

In Canada, 22% are ‘very satisfied’ with the cost of living and 47% are ‘not satisfied’ but they rank 5th in the world happiness index.

Even in Singapore, 27% are ‘very satisfied’ with the cost of living and 37% are ‘not satisfied’ but they rank 24th in the world happiness index.

& in Australia, only 11% are ‘very satisfied’ with the cost of living and 64% are ‘not satisfied’ but they rank 10th in the world happiness index.

In India 34% people are ‘very satisfied’ with their cost of living and 36% are ‘not satisfied’ but we rank 117 in the world happiness index.

More number of Indian are ‘very satisfied’ with their cost of living than the people in the US, Canada, Australia and Singapore.

Less number of Indians are ‘not satisfied’ with their cost of living than the people in the US, Canada, Australia and Singapore.

& yet, India rank 117,  way below these countries in world happiness index.

We are more satisfied and less ‘not satisfied’ than our world peers and yet we are a lot more unhappy than them.

What could be the reason?

This is only because these governments’ offer better services like healthcare, lower perception of corruption, better life choices, high life expectancy etc. Better quality of life makes them happier despite being dissatisfied with the cost of living.

These data suggests two things.

  • The quality of Govt. Services to the citizen decide the happiness of the citizen of the country.
  • should not only focus on GDP growth but happiness matrix also should guide Govt. action and this means the quality of Govt. services to the citizen.

We do not need only rich society but we also need happy society & richness does not guarantee happiness. We all know this but Govt. also should know this and focus on better services. Human-centered service design is the answer.

& the fact is, our happiness to a large extent is dependent on Govt. services.

Sunil Gandhi

How service design approach can reduce waiting time?

Healthcare is the industry where people consume the service out of compulsion. No customer comes there out of their desire or choice. Perhaps customers come here when they are in distress and in delicate health condition. People accompanying the patient are also in the disturbed mind as their loved and dear one is suffering and they are apprehensive about the outcome of the treatment.

& therefore Customer Experience a hospital creates is very critical. Healthcare experiences for inpatients can be divided into following aspects:

  • Admission – Patient & relatives
  • Diagnosis – Patient & relatives
  • Doctor Communication – Patient & relatives
  • Treatment – Patient
  • Post Treatment Stay – Patient & relatives
  • Discharge – Relatives
  • Visitors Experience

Treatment part of course is the most important aspect of the healthcare. But all other peripheral experiences do play an important role in overall patients’ experience. Patients’ journey mapping can bring any insights on how to better patients experience with appropriate and smart intervention by the hospital management.

For a simple example, let’s take a queue for OPD patients:

For OPD patients, imagine a patient has to wait for hours before any doctor sees him. This is a normal phenomenon across the healthcare units in India as there is neither better time management nor usage of technology to reduce waiting time.

Tirupati Balaji temple in Andhra Pradesh is the best example of service design in action and what service design approach can achieve.

From an average 2 to 12 hours of waiting, the temple could reduce the queue time to half an hour.

  • They converted physical queue into an e queue.
  • Bar code is generated at the time of registration and the wristband is issued.
  • The pilgrim is expected to report just half an hour before the scheduled Darshan time.

Therefore, there is no physical queue and the pilgrim can be anywhere in the town and yet maintain priority in the system.

& the most important is there is no uncertainty and anxiety.  The system is transparent. The data generated on registration are also used for vehicle management and food and beverage supply.

The entire transformation was customer centric, in this case, devotee centric. Complete case study.

If Tirupati Balaji temple can curtail time for waiting in the queue by the devotees, why can’t our hospitals and healthcare units do it? Though the flow of people can’t be compared but ofcousre system can be generated to reduce waiting time substantially, reduce uncertainty and anxiety of patients and their relatives.

Long waiting time for the patients in the healthcare units is one of the major causes of stress for patients and their relatives. The idea of E queues can be explored based on the patients’ traffic, doctors’ consultation time. Usage of technology with these data can certainly improve patients’ experience. The service Design approach can definitely add value here and help in creating better the patients’ experience.

When the time is the scarcest resource, isn’t saving patients’ time is the 2nd most important thing healthcare organisations do to their patients?

Sunil Gandhi

Service Design – Why you can’t ignore it?

We all know the premium designers products command in the market. As far as services are concerned most service providers are not designing the service.

Services are about customer services. For new age businesses customer service is the core service. It does not come into play once the goods are sold and when the problem crops up. Be it banking, insurance, healthcare or hotels or any other services, their core business is customer service.

Unlike products which are designed in factories and sold in stores, services are not designed but it is made available as and when the customer demands. & therefore SERVICE DESIGN is a very important part of all the services but it is not only ignored, but most providers have no clue about this new discipline.

Usually, services are not proactively designed and that brings subjectivity in the service delivery. The subjectivity of the person delivering it, the subjectivity of place of delivery affects the experience customer receives. For example, in the healthcare system studies suggest, heart attack victims more likely to die if admitted to hospital at the weekend. However, every medicine, which is a manufactured product, would perform the same way the whole day, every day. It is the service of medical professionals which are hampered on weekends.

Usually, services are not proactively designed and that brings subjectivity in the service delivery. The subjectivity of the person delivering it, the subjectivity of place of delivery affects the experience customer receives. For example, in the healthcare system studies suggest, heart attack victims more likely to die if admitted to hospital at the weekend. However, every medicine, which is a manufactured product, would perform the same way the whole day, every day. It is the service of medical professionals which are hampered on weekends.

Every service offering company has to have services designed. These companies have SOPs but SOPs are STANDARD and customers are not standard. SOPs are designed for organisation’s point of view and efficiency. Service Design is design principles which take customers’ requirement into consideration while designing the services. Service Design is human-cantered while SOPs are product and organisation focussed.

“It is because many services are almost invisible that nobody takes care to design them.” Andy Polaine, Lavrans Løvlie, and Ben Reason in their book Service Design.

Customer Experience (CX) is now in vogue but in most organisations the subject is vaguely understood. “Me too” is the mindset. Thought little, but in some of the organisations which are taking the lead in CX are also taking the lead only in measurements of CX with scorecard like NPS but not in designing the experience. Forrester recently surveyed 100 customer experience professionals and found that only 15% consistently follow a defined customer experience design process when they create new interactions or improve existing ones.

In the age of customer experience and sharing economy where social media is widespread, Service Design is a new and powerful approach for the service organisation to do their business with customers.

Kerry Bodine , ex Forrester CX Professional wrote;,
We’ve entered a new business era that Forrester calls the age of the customer — a time when focus on the customer matters more than any other strategic imperative. Service design provides a toolset and framework that enable companies to truly understand their customers and engage with them in meaningful ways — ultimately driving profits, cost savings, and competitive differentiation.

Service Design is about designing each of the touch points of the organisation which customer interacts with. Customer Journey Maps are the foundation, based on which services can be effectively designed.

When a customer enters the hotel for check in or when a patient is admitted in an emergency department of the hospital or a customer is in the bank to withdraw cash, at each of such instances which parts of the organisation are triggered and comes into action?

It is not the front end staffs which are exposed, but the entire check in, admission and cash withdrawal services are in action and therefore exposed. How these services are designed or not designed will decide the fate of the customer experience and kind of interaction the customer will have with the front end staff.

In most of the cases,there is no end to end design of the services and that is why customer irritation takes place.

• Long queues
• Irresponsive & indifferent employee behaviour
• No replies to resolve our queries
• Call holding for long and hearing recorded message
• Scripted call center response
• Standard answer to our emails
• No confirmation of booking or order
• Doctors communication style with patients’ and their relatives
• Not acting on our instructions
• Heavy traffic
• Not providing adequate information in advance

The customer irritation list is endless. This list can be shortened and perhaps eliminated with the service design approach by the service companies. Service industry in India is booming and now has a share of 52% of GDP. This is likely to grow in the years to come. However, the growth of service sector without service designers is going to create more irritation among the customers, more of red ocean markets.

The world over Service Design is getting the attention of the trendsetting companies. Mayo Clinic has its own design practice, Capital One bank has acquired design agency Adaptive Path, IBM is building its own design studio. However, the service design is not the discipline for large organisations. Like a product design is necessary for every product manufacturing company, a service design is going to be a necessity for every service provider company.

Governments are the largest service providers to the citizen. UK Govt is focused on the principles of service design and they have service design standards for Govt services.

Designers’ services are what we need now and the future belongs to the companies which invest in Service Design to create better customer experiences. Manufacturing mindset will not work in the new service economy.

Are you sure services your company is offering will be delivered to the customer to create desired experience every time?

Sunil Gandhi

How to use colour palette – DAILY ?

“There is nothing insignificant in the world. It all depends on the point of view.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When I was watching the sunset at the Juhu beach, few others were watching the closed hotel Tulip star from the opposite side, few were watching the sea at Versova and a few others were watching the sea at Bandra side. Everyone had a different angle and the view they were getting from their angel were their view and their reality.

We will see the reality from the place we are standing.  We will make an opinion from the place we stand or places you had stood/known before.

I know about all the other three angles on the beach as I am aware about it. I had experienced these angles before and therefore when someone says he is seeing Versova I would not disagree and insist that I am seeing sun so seeing Versova from Juhu is not a reality.

Our present position coupled with our past experience – it could be our real experience or others’ experiences we have known or learned from or the knowledge we have acquired through the books enable us to make an opinion about anything. Everyone will vary in this. People’s angle, experiences, and learning will vary and so is everyone different in their thinking and action.

Colour palette has a great lesson to offer.

Color plat

All the colours and their sheds are different but all are a reality, no colour is fake or wrong. Everyone, though is different, can be classified as per the angle they are standing at. For example, everyone in BJP is different, but they all can be classified as shades of orange as their broader angle is the same saffron.  Likewise, people who we gel well, though, are different, but can be classified together as on many counts our angles are the same.

The middle class will have the same points of view as most of them are standing at the similar angle or closer to each other. This applies to every group of people. We Indian are very diverse and different, but we are closer to each other than we are closer to the Japanese or Russians. Women collectively will have a diverse angle from men as they view the world from their own angle not a physical standpoint but social or experience angle.

The point is if we wish to change the person having a very different point of view, we have to first understand his point of view and make him understand our point of view. This way we will have a common point of view, this can avoid disputes and  quarrels. This is what political parties do when they announce a common minimum program of alliance partners.

We cannot always agree with extreme points of views and cannot come with a common view every time, but that is fine, but knowing the angle of the other person/team or country will help us how to deal with him/them. But the exchange of angle and point of view’s angle can dilute the bitterness and diminish the gravity of differences.

 “When you really listen to another person from their point of view and reflect back to them that understanding, it’s like giving them emotional oxygen.” Stephen Covey

This angular lesson can be put to use in our personal life to offer superior human experience to others as well as for busbies for better employee and customer experiences.

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford

Keep colour palette in your mind to navigate the life without much discord and with peace.

Sunil Gandhi

Are jewellers protesting against 1% Central Excise or Bad Citizen Experience?

Jewellers in India were on strike for nearly six weeks. They are asking the Govt. Of India to remove 1% Excise Duty levied in the budget this year.

Today in the Parliament Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant recommended the Govt. to consider their requests and remove the duty. He went on to say that Jewellers do not mind 1 or 2% levy but they do not want this by an additional Govt. department. They have a bad experience about this department.

This is what indicates what Govts. must do to enhance the citizen experience. This is a lesson in customer experience.

What is true for jewellers is true for every customer. Customers do not mind paying extra money if they are offered a better experience or if they can avoid and do not have to undergo a bad experience.

The customer experience is so important that one of the 4 conditions Jeff Bezos have laid to enter any new business is;

…and that we have the capabilities needed to bring strong customer-facing differentiation to the marketplace.

Customer facing differentiation is about better customer experience.

Now if companies find there is a gap in the space of customer facing differentiation, they will invest in that business and therefore, competition will increase. This competition will be fought on the basis of this differentiation. Bad customer experience creating companies will find new entrants and therefore severe competition. They will experience quick erosion of the market share because the customer will quickly notice the difference in experience and they will get attracted to a better experience.

New entrants will not only get the quick market share but also command a premium because of a better experience. We have seen the success of multiplex theatres. People are paying a premium for online grocers and convenient charges to bookmyshow.com. Our jewellers are also indicating the same by foregoing the business to avoid negative experiences of one more Govt. department.

Jewellers strike is a loud and clear message to the Govt. about where they need to focus, to win hearts and minds of the people. This should trigger Govt’s better Citizen Experience drive. The UK Govt. had long back involved language experts to make the Govt. Citizen Communication/Drafting of Laws simple and easy to understand. Netherland Govt. involved service design agency to improve passport and visa services experience of the immigrants and citizen. Govts. everywhere is focussing all its energy on better citizen experience. Indian Govt’s ease of doing business and single window schemes are nothing but better citizen experience initiatives.

The Govt. is all about citizen service. Govt. must apply service design tools and principles to work on better citizen experience. Govt. should take up the projects for citizen experience on priority where it can have a maximum and far-reaching impact.

Imagine all Govt. – Citizen interactions are the incidences of happy citizen experiences.

2019 (Next General Election) is far, but this Govt or for that matter any Govt that gets re-elected that happens only on the basis of Govt’s citizen experience improving track record or hope of improving citizen experience. Achchhe Din propagated by the Prime Minister is all about better Citizen Experience. Earlier the Govt understand this the better it is not only for them but also for the citizen of India.

Jewellers are ready to pay, but why do they not want an involvement of an additional Govt. department and for that can close the business for so many days is not only food for thought for all the Govts. and bureaucrats but also for CXOs.

Our PM,  Narendra Modi is known for converting problems into opportunities, this strike is another problem waiting to be converted into an opportunity.  This will also help him in his mission (Our dream) of Achchhe Din.

More on Citizen and customer experience – The Bread is Moving.

Sunil Gandhi

Treating Angina (chest pain) with Volini !!

Customer Experience is extremely important, but alas; companies talk about it, but hardly do anything to improve the same.

Today, Snigdha Sengupta has written in the Mint newspaper about the Oyo Experience. Sadly, this is the scenario in most service sector companies. Be it a bank or insurance of hospitals or hotels. Just go and read reviews at mothshut.com or customer complaints.com Government is the major service providers to the citizen, but we citizen don’t expect much from the Govt as we have learnt to live with citizen apathy.

The BIG question is why companies fail miserably on customer experience aspects?

If you have an Angina (chest pain) due to a heart problem and you apply Move or Volini, does the pain goes away? It will not.

But why do we apply Move or Volini? Because reasons could be many:

1) No time and different priority (Most CXOs have different priorities than CX).

2) No knowledge that the Angina could be due to a heart problem  (Most CXOs have no clue about the reasons for CX Failure).

3) Think let me manage the present, will address the larger problem later (Most CXOs busy in managing daily fire fighting).

4) No knowledge that a heart attack can lead to death (Most CXOs not aware CX failure can severely damage the company performance and even it can go out of business).

5) Don’t know how to treat the Angina (Most CXOs not aware how to better CX).

6) I don’t care (Most CXOs neither cares for CX nor read customer reviews/feedback).

7) My strong brain will compensate for the heart shortfall (Most CXOs think other competency like brand persona / company reputation will take care of any shortfall in CX).

8) My goal to remain fit will take care of my all fitness problems. (Big mission statements are hardly executed).

9) The notion that we are too fit to suffer from heart problems. (Most CXOs believe they are big enough that they need not worry about CX).

10) Discussing about the Angina will solve the problem. (Most CXOs discuss a lot at the meeting about the CX but hardly any ground level action).

Even companies don’t realise failure of their CX as they don’t measure CX. They measure ROI and ROCE and IRR. They have no clue that all these three ratios are the result of better CX or to sustain better ratios CX is the key.

Most companies suffer from illusion and cannot connect the dots between better CX and its impact on financial performance and brand. Unless companies are on a mission mode to create better CX, they will continue to live with this illusion.

However, there are many companies who do not have any clue about how to deal with CX. How to improve CX and how to make it a top priority? My book on the subject The Bread is Moving can be a good beginning to know, learn and implement CX initiatives.

Sunil Gandhi

Product & Service is dead

If an enterprise wants to fulfil the customers need with ease and delight, enterprises should know what the need is, what will add to ease while fulfilling the need and what will be icing on the cake i.e. delight.

Customers take a journey to fulfil his need. For example, if we look at the journey of a home buyer;

1) First, he will look for the project, either in the newspaper or on the website.

2) Then he will call the company or call center,

3) Thereafter he will book his visit appointment,

4) Then he actually visits the site,

5) He meets a sales person there,

6) He will see show flat,

7) Asks about the surrounding area and location,

8) Inquire about price and possession schedule and leaves.

This was a journey of a potential buyer. Now when the potential buyer becomes a buyer his journey would be;

1) Family visits to the site

2) Paying booking advance at the builder’s office

3) Stamp duty, registration payment

4) Home Loan application

5) During the construction period, a few site visits

6) Reminders from builders for instalment payments

7) Final possession

8) Go online on social media sites to share the experience

Broadly, this is the journey home buyers undertake while buying a home.

Now if a company wants to improve customer experience, breaking down of this entire customer journey is very important. For every industry knowing customer journey are very critical aspects to better customer experience.

Customer Journey maps – Example – Patient ExperiencePatient Journey Map

(Source – Bridgeable)

Starbucks measure their in-store customer journey in about twenty steps. They measure store location and appearance to store toilet cleanliness and everything in between like queue at cash counter to welcome by staff to a decor of the store.

When the company is working on to better their customer experience, the weakest link can not only spoils the entire experience but even can negate the sales altogether or repeat purchase. Imagine a shabby toilet in an otherwise good restaurant. Though we do not go to restaurant for toilet experience, but that experience matters. Imagine a builder site with a signboard and potential buyers could find it with great difficulty. His buying interest will almost die by the time he is in front of sales executive.

Similarly, in an online world which is the omni-channel world, customers seldom travel in a straight line. He visits a website then he will move to call center for an inquiry, then he will move to social media for customer reviews and then he may call someone for a home visit. Every customer not only will take a different a journey but entry and exit points are also not certain.

Why to map customer journeys?

The simple answer, in order to improve the customer experience, knows how customer not only moves on a buying map but what he feels along with it.

Journey mapping will make the enterprises aware that there is a form to be filled before the emergency patient is admitted to the hospital. This will bring to the light how doctor talks with the patients impact customer experience, this will even enlighten the enterprise that patient discharge procedure is too lengthy and there is a need to engage the patient and their relatives during that time. This will make the hospitals and banks and for that matter every enterprise knows how irritating or emotionally draining experience they are providing to their customers.

Customer Journey Mapping can help the companies in;

1) Knowing existing touch points and experience in each of the touch points.

2) It can give end to end view of the customer movement which can help in,

3) Improve the experience by reducing the pain points and enhancing the need fulfillment mechanism with ease and possible delight

4) Most important the entire organisation which is usually divided into silos, becomes aware about the customer journey and experience how their action or inaction impact the experience.

Journey maps can even help an enterprise in knowing people, process, channel, operation, technology involved at each step of the journey.

Focusing only on features of an insurance policy is not enough. How it is sold, agent sales training – soft skills and product knowledge, claim settlement procedures, call center experience, clarity of policy documents everything counts.

How to map a customer experience journey

1) Decide the major journeys

2) Apply existing knowledge and get additional info/research to map the journeys

3) Map the existing journey. Moments of truth, pain points, customers thinking and feeling at each touch point. REMEMBER: Emotional experience is very important to map to improve the wholesome customer experience.

4) Map it with what the journey/touch points is expected to achieve

5) Identify area of improvements

6) Define future ideal journey maps from the existing journey insights

7) Develop a plan (short-term, medium term and long term) to execute the ideal journey maps.

Customer Experience is a competitive advantage, today, winning brands owes their success not just for the quality and value of what they sell, but by the superiority of the journeys they create.

Yes, customer journey in its entirety is the product. Entrepreneurs have to expand their view of the products and services in the experience and sharing world we are in. Product and service design entails designing of customer experience and customer journey designs are core to customer experience design.

Imagine, chef and cook are making excellent food, but the restaurant where it is served, location where it is located, approach road, the soft skills of waiters, interior design, menu, home delivery service everything is pathetic and not designed keeping customers need, ease and delight in mind. Mere food quality will fail to make the enterprise successful.

Do you have your customer journey maps in front of you?

More about customer experience in the book The Bread is moving.   

Sunil Gandhi

One suicide, one tweet and ease of doing business

Real estate developers in Mumbai are facing the real crisis. Most of the developers are under heavy debt. Project approval delays are well-known. With some 28 plus approvals from various Govt. authorities, one can imagine the time it takes and money involved.

On top of this sluggish market since last few years and heavy overheads. It is survival at stakes situation for many of the small and mid-size developers. When the market can’t absorb the cost and cost is high, the company fails. Here it is a question of an entire industry. We have seen suicide by a well-known developer in Thane yesterday – courtesy; prolonged time for Govt. approvals and heavy debt.

The subject of discussion is not real estate industry, but ease of doing business or rather how it is extremely important, making it easy for entrepreneurs to do business for speedier economic development. Definition of entrepreneurs does not mean only start up, but already stated too.

On one hand, we are struggling with low economic growth and poverty and on the other we have so many hurdles and impediment for wealth creators i.e. entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, most of these impediments are man-made. Be it outdated laws, excess of laws, unclear policies, excess approvals, delay in decision making, corruption and what not.

We are not growing, but we can’t let it free. Government and industry want growth, but enabling infrastructure is in doldrums. Mr. Finance minister every now and then makes statement India can grow double digit but how, when, action taken, ground level changes????

India fares 142 in ease of doing business. The picture is not so good at a company level. Companies which want ease of going business from Govt are equally culprit for making it difficult for their customers to deal with it.

Report on the economic impact of doing business found;

  • In Mexico one study found that a program that simplified municipal licensing led to a 5% increase in the number of registered businesses and a 2.2% increase in wage employment, while competition from new entrants lowered prices by 0.6% and the income of incumbent businesses by 3.2%.25 Other research found that the same licensing reform directly led to a 4% increase in new start-ups and that the program was more effective in municipalities with less corruption and cheaper additional registration procedures.
  • In India the progressive elimination of the “license raj” led to a 6% increase in new firm registrations, and highly productive firms entering the market saw larger increases in real output than less productive firms.27 Simpler entry regulation and labor market flexibility were found to be complementary. States with more flexible employment regulations saw a 25% larger decrease in informal firms and 17.8% larger gains in real output than states with less flexible labor regulations.28 The same licensing reform led to an aggregate productivity improvement of around 22% for firms affected by the reform.
  • In Colombia new firm registrations increased by 5.2% after the creation of a one-stop shop for businesses.
  • In Portugal, the introduction of a one-stop shop for businesses led to a 17% increase in new firm registrations and 7 new jobs for every 100,000 inhabitants compared with economies that did not implement the reform.

Recently, when Modi Govt completed nine months in office Mr. Deepak Parekh, Chairman, HDFC commented his displeasure about the ease of doing business initiatives. Interestingly Mr. Suhel Seth tweeted about this comment of Mr. Deepak Parekh. In response to Mr. Seth’s tweet what people have responded speaks many things:


In my book The Bread is Moving I have stated;

The above comment by Mr. Deepak Parekh and response by the Tweeple indicate a few things:

  • Ease of doing business is important
  • Ease of doing business is equally important at company level for its customers
  • Most entrepreneurs are not aware about the status of the ease of its customers
  • When any business leaders speak on any matter, she must be prepared for the backlash
  • Immediate response to negative comments about the brand is necessary by the company in a social world we now live in

This happens when a country and a company is not focusing on citizen and customers while designing its processes and systems. While designing any system or process customer centricity must be the focus. Failing in this will result in unpleasant experience and delay in work.

Ease equals to speed. Speed equals to faster results and outcomes. However, enormous vested interest, outdated norms, and work culture has made doing business a nightmare in India. The present Govt is trying to dismantle many outdated laws. World ease of doing business ranking has improved by 15 points.

There is an interesting book called The Effortless Experience which talks about making the experience of the customers effortless. It has a measurement matrix which measures customer effort score.

“You need to give your customers fewer reasons to be disloyal, and the best way to make that happen is to reduce customer effort.”

― Matthew DixonThe Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty

Making it easy is a business driver. Countries make it for its entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs make it for their customers. 96% of high effort customers become disloyal and 67% of the high effort customers become detractors.  The high effort is stressful and can be a loss making a proposition in competing markets.  A country will lose investments and a company loses customers.

We have seen social media impact of high efforts in the picture above. Every brand is exposed to social media and customers are very vocal on social media. Making it easy should be the top priority for everyone. Use technology or single window time-bound approvals, dismantle outdated laws and norms or reduce the number of punches while dealing with call centers.

Do whatever, but EASE is the way. Whether it’s a real estate industry or license for vegetable vendor high efforts equals to slower economic growth. When customer experience is so important for loyalty, focussing on EASE of doing business can have substantial bottom-line impact.

Want to focus on battering customer experience, focus on ease of doing business and effortless experience. Want to focus on the growth of an economy or a business focus on ease of doing business and effortless experience, want to improve business bottom-line and GDP, focus on ease of doing business and effortless experience.

India knows its world ranking on ease of doing business index. What is your company’s customer effort score?

Want to know more about the ease of doing business and building effortless experience read the ebook The Bread is moving.

Sunil Gandhi