Personas have been talked about a lot lately. They've been touted as the big new deal. Not that I disagree, but they are really just an expansion in utilizing traditional customer segmentation. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about online interactions and customer experience and how that extends from personas.
A logical next step for personas is extending them to customer scenarios. Leigh Duncan, over at Marketing Profs, has a great post, The Power of Personas, that touches on defining customer scenarios. Besides that, her dialogue of a typical initiative meeting is sadly accurate. When you read it, I bet you're nodding your head. Who hasn't been in a meeting like that?
But I digress. Anyway, Leigh defines a customer scenario as: "These describe, in further detail, the needs, behaviors, preferences and requirements that will fuel the development of customer experience. Customer scenarios essentially describe the optimal experience the customer should have, and can be used to drive the development process - and as a reality check during testing."
For online application, this means you need to think through the whole process. You create a link for a user to download a whitepaper. Now what? There's a whole host of things you should be thinking about. Some of them are:
- Why would the user be interested in downloading the whitepaper?
- What value are they looking for or need are they trying to answer?
- What call to action will they get from the whitepaper?
- What emotion will it generate to spur them to take action?
- What happens after they download the whitepaper? What message do they get at the end of this interaction?
- What step is this in the relationship building process?
- How will you get them to move forward down that path?
This is really hard to manage in an online world because the exchange is not under your control. Not really. Think about what steps the prospect has to go through to become your customer. What are the transition points? How do you drive them? How do you create both an intellectual and an emotional bond with your prospects and customers?
A clue is that it's not only about the content. It's also about how you treat them during their online experience. It's about the experience they have - all the nuances rolled together.
- What you say on a confirmation page
- What you offer in addition to a thank you (other links of interest relating to the subject matter of the whitepaper, link to blog on related subject, link to discussion forum, FAQs, etc.)
- How you use your subscription/mailing lists - do you personalize, or send the same thing to everyone?
- What opportunities for collaboration and creating conversation exist?
- What do you do with the information you gather or the knowledge you accumulate?
- How are you asking them to take the next step? Do you ask everyone the same way?
- How do you want them to feel? (energized, excited, satisfied, more knowledgeable, curious, anticipation, motivated, validated...)
Just a few thoughts about scenario thinking for online interactions. What are you thinking?