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Journey won 8 awards including Game Of The Year at the DICE conference this week, an accolade which was well deserved for a number of reasons. You control a solitary figure and guide it through a personal story, along the way meeting the occasional lone figure who is controlled by another over the net. But there is no interaction save the ability to ‘sing’ a note and run/ jump. You don’t even get to see an avatar name, they are briefly just part of your journey to the end of the game.
Now what the hell has this got to do with processes and customers you might think. Well, let’s just dig a little deeper. The game manages to convey and elicit an emotional response from you towards the character you control and others you meet. You are woven in the story, essentially a linear process, and despite never hearing or seeing just who you’re interacting with sharing that process actually brings an empathic context.
And here’s the real issue behind concepts like customer service, Forrester’s Customer Experience Management and all the other methods claiming to elicit delight from the consumer: none are empathic, none bring emotional context, and all just place the customer in the middle of a process but never a journey.
Read the email received from a 15 year old player at the top of this article. When did anyone ever send something like that when they were forced through an IVR led process to toneless customer service agent at the other end ? Customers have names, faces, records, a voice, in fact everything that is missing from Journey and yet what they experience from organization’s process is almost completely the reverse. In fact there is more content and stimuli received during a process because of (so-called) human interaction but what happens in reality is that all emotional context is removed because it’s a process. It’s not a journey, and it shouldn’t feel like an arduous one at that.
The customer experience is the journey
When we design processes we focus too much on the end goal, get the customer through it as quickly as possible and give them what they want. But it cuts out so much context, it carves and discards the empathy, we assume that ‘delight’ and ‘satisfaction’ means speed and efficiency.
We are wrong. The processes are wrong.
A customer’s experience should be about the journey, not the process. Perhaps then a business and its product will deserve to win awards like Journey did.