What’s the one thing you can master that will win you more happy customers? Identify the things that customers want or need to get done, notice the context they’re typically in, and design an experience that will make it enjoyable for them to get those things done. We call these Customer Scenarios.
Most customer-centric executives have an innate ability to identify customer-critical scenarios. For example, many retailers design streamlined experiences for the “grab and go” customers. “I just ran out of something and I need it fast.” Staples rearranged its stores to put the printer supplies right at the front so that people who just ran out of ink or toner can run in and get what they need. They worked with manufacturers to ensure that you can quickly find the supplies you need for your particular printer. The paper is right next to the ink and toner. Staples also streamlined the rebate process to make it easy for customers to get a good deal. Staples’ “That was Easy” branding is all about making it easy for customers to get things done.
There are entire industries designed to support particular customer scenarios, like planning and taking a trip (travel agencies and aggregators), investing for retirement (brokerage and mutual funds), and launching a new product (PR firms).
We’ve been using customer scenarios in our consulting practice for over 20 years. We’ve been teaching others how to engage with customers to co-design them for almost as long. Yet we often assume that people know what we mean by customer scenarios and why they’re an important basic tool for any customer-centric executive.