In the vast landscape of business and technology, the concept of an ecosystem is pivotal. An ecosystem, as defined by Wikipedia, encompasses all organisms and their physical environment, highlighting their interplay. This concept is not only applicable to natural environments but also to technology and business, particularly in shaping the customer experience.
The customer experience ecosystem is a fascinating topic, extensively discussed in numerous articles. As a BA, I’ll distill this concept down to its essence, focusing on the ‘experience ecosystem’ and its relevance to human-centered designers.
A customer journey maps out the steps a customer takes to accomplish a task or ‘job to be done.’ It illuminates the touchpoints where customers interact with our business and the services we need to deliver. However, the experience ecosystem delves deeper. It considers all the players required to fulfill the steps in the customer journey, including those with multiple touchpoints.
For instance, consider a subscription fulfillment process. The customer interacts with their doctor, a prescription issuing app, and the pharmacist. When we undertake customer journey mapping or customer experience mapping, we focus on the customer’s experience with our organization or service. We may even work on cross-agency initiatives, considering the customer journey across all agencies. However, we often overlook the final goal for our customer and the secondary stakeholders and touchpoints that contribute to a truly great experience.
In the experience ecosystem, all players influencing the customer experience, both front of house and back end, need consideration. For example, in a subscription app scenario, the app developers focus on the customer’s requirements and interactions with their doctor. However, this doesn’t go far enough. To truly understand the customer journey, we need to consider the broader experience ecosystem, including interactions outside our key customer base.
In this case, the pharmacy experience is crucial to the customer journey. By incorporating the pharmacy into the customer journey, we can improve the customer’s prescription experience. This broader approach creates more opportunities for innovation and potential revenue generation, benefiting all players in the ecosystem – the app developer, the doctors, the pharmacist, and most importantly, the customer.
As human-centered designers, we need to understand that customers may not always identify the high-priority items that make their lives easier. Our role is to elucidate concepts like the experience ecosystem, helping them understand where work needs to be done to generate true value and fulfill the benefits we initially set out to achieve.