Afternoon delight

11 August 2022 Martin Cheetham

We often use the phrase ‘delighting customers’ when talking about designing experiences.

And I’ve often heard people contesting the phrase, saying they don’t want to always be delighted. For example, when they’re using a banking app, they just want to get it done easily and quickly.

That’s where I disagree. It’s 100% right that we want to get our jobs done easily and quickly. Because by doing so we’re saving time. And if you’re saving me time, you ARE delighting me.

I’ve seen numerous articles recently talking about Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD). This is an approach to developing products or services based on understanding both the customer’s specific goal or “job,” and the thought processes that would lead that customer to “hire” a product/service to complete the job.

“People don’t want a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” – Theodore Levitt

This quote forms the foundation for JTBD theory: the notion that people buy products (like drills) to get a “job” done (e.g., create a quarter-inch hole). To take it a step further, they want a quarter-inch hole to insert a screw and hang up a picture. So the objective is to decorate their home, not to buy a drill.

JTBD is an integral part of persona development and understanding your ideal customer/user. If you don’t know what they’re trying to achieve when using your product/service, then how can you streamline it to get them to their objective in the most efficient way possible?

One of the features I absolutely love about iOS is when a passcode is sent to me and it auto-fills the dialogue box without me having to switch apps or even open messages! It’s a relatively simple feature that saves me seconds each time. But it delights me. Every. Single. Time.


The three-click rule

Steve Jobs’ whole premise for the iPod was that users could reach what they wanted in three clicks. This was with only one intention in mind: saving us time. Numerous meetings were held with his development team with them pushing back and him insisting that it had to be this way. Fighting the good fight on behalf of us, he eventually got his way, regardless of the inconvenience (in terms of budget, time, and resources), and gave rise to the most popular music player of all time.

Far too many businesses work from the inside out. Starting with what’s feasible and viable for them and then working their way to their customer. It must always start with your customer. What they need and what they’re trying to achieve. Then figure out how to deliver it in a sustainable way.

In the words of the great Brian Fantana, “They’ve done studies, you know. 60 percent of the time, it works every time.” Don’t fall into the trap of streamlining your offering in service of the business’ needs and not the needs of your customers.

Empathize with your customers. Understand what they’re trying to get done, and make it as quick and easy for them as possible. You will delight them.