Two weeks in two hours

On Tuesday afternoon, I attempted the impossible - I tried to shrink a two week process into two hours. And it worked.. ish.. No, I was not experimenting in a physics lab - I was giving a workshop for the TalentGate cohort currently in London from Finland.

TalentGate runs an FEC-recruitment program (Further Educated with Companies) for people working in sales and marketing roles in different companies. I was allocated a two-hour spot to talk to the group about branding and customer experience but rather than talk at them for two hours, I decided I would make them work.

We started with a brief overview of the importance of multichannel customer experiences and a couple of case studies before asking them to roll their sleeves up and think about THEIR customers.

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First, we tried to get to the nub of who their key customer is and what their goal is when they approach the company. This was quite an interesting task due to the large variety of organisations present - we had everyone from local church groups to luxury lighting manufacturers, right down to digital consultancies. 

Key points people found hard:

  • When the organisation was a membership organisation or a government/ local authority, it was difficult for the participants to identify their customer
  • Several participants struggled with changing their thinking around why a customer comes to them, assuming that it was because they wanted the best quality X
  • Most focused on internal capabilities
  • For B2B companies, it was difficult for them to imagine their customers existing on any other social media platform except LinkedIn
  • Where there were no direct competitors, people struggled to think of other brands their customers might be engaging with

When I asked what they had been most surprised about when doing this, the message was loud and clear - it was how difficult this simple task actually was.

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Next, we tackled the customer journey in the leanest possible way, trying to understand the very basics of the customer journey from how they become aware of the company to how they compare the company to others and what happens after they have purchased the service/ product.

Key feedback points:

  • Assessing emotional states was quite tricky
  • The template was hard to use without an example journey
  • Most participants had not considered the opportunities and challenges across more than 2 or three of the journey steps
  • Several mentioned that there didn't seem to be much focus on the aftersales journey and remarketing for customer retention was not high on their agenda currently

When we discussed the surprising factors here, the general feeling was that there were more steps in the journey than they would naturally have considered. From agency-folk, what I also heard was that, whilst they often did similar exercises for clients, they rarely worked on their own flows and I can certainly echo that.

What next?

Well, for one, we've made the workshop materials available as a download here

Oh, and no, you can't really shrink two weeks into two hours but hopefully the workshop gave all of the participants a chance to look at their organisation from a customer-focus and inspired them to delve deeper into understanding their audience better.