Good service is one of those experiences most of us recognize when we get it. Much of the time though, a good service experience is as much a result of how learnable the provider makes its business processes, the context of the service, as it is the products and services themselves. I discussed this a couple of years ago in a post on the importance of a dialogue strategy for customer experience management. A dialogue strategy builds on the assumption that companies learn more from customers when customers learn from them. More recently I noted that,
The increasing maturity and diffusion of social media over the ensuing years makes it clear that a dialogue strategy provides a coherent framework for communications, whether addressing collaboration, innovation, marketing, sales, support, or branding. The key to the process is understanding customers, attracting them, engaging them, and learning from them to improve products and services, thereby strengthening your brand…
Strategists increasingly recognize that listening to customers, engaging them in dialogue, and acting on what is learned lies at the heart of experience design’s relevance to brands, customers, and social media.
These insights are relevant to the current shift in focus for experience design, from primarily emphasizing the design of products to also emphasizing the design of services, as exemplified in Peter Merholtz’s recent series in Harvard Business online. Okay, you may ask, how does this all relate to eLearning and learnability?
Convergence of eLearning Design and Experience Design
Experience design and eLearning design are converging in their concern for how customers experience the business processes of companies and, in particular, whether the solutions companies use to manage the problems customers experience in purchasing or using products and services are easily learned. Much of the time, customer learning occurs online, in the form of FAQ lists, customer communities, social networks, blogs, twitter, or other social software/media. Increasingly, learning resources are provided to customers on mobile phones.
However, the importance of multi-channel touchpoints to the learnability of a company’s business processes remains, and that is where experience design comes into the picture. How many times have you gone searching for a solution to a problem you are experiencing with a company’s product or service? How many times did you locate an online learning resource intended to help you solve the problem? When you were able to locate a learning resource, were you asked to rate its usefulness in solving the problem or question that led you there in the first place? Have you ever used a learning resource where you were asked whether you would refer someone else with a similar problem to use that content?
The touchpoints supporting customers in purchasing or using products and services increase in effectiveness when their design is aligned. The online tutorial providing an overview of how to use a mobile phone’s Navigation software can also provide the instructional content for call center support as well as marketing support for retail sales representatives. Each one is simply a different way to enable companies to achieve business goals.
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Posted by Larry R. Irons