What drives you to finish a crafting project? Fixing your car? Making a meal?
Why not kinda, sorta do something? Isn't that enough?
Usually we tend to finish what we put our minds to complete
. But what drives you to finish a project to 100%? Sure, you get a sense of accomplishment, but isn't there more to accomplishment than simply finishing a task?
To better define what accomplishment means, let's consider the reverse:
- Why do you NOT finish a craft project?
- Or DON'T get your car fixed?
- Or DON'T finish a writing project?
It's because you don't see a reason to do it. You no longer care. You lost interest.
So why do we choose to accomplish some projects and tasks and not others? One could say it is due to our motivation to do it, which is based on our belief systems and emotional investments/commitments.
Sure, we do different tasks throughout a day because we feel we need to finish them. But what drives that perspective? If you are objective about your answer, you know you don't really need to do anything in a day. You don't need to make a bed. You don't need to go on social media. You don't need to work. You don't need to cook dinner.
But you do it anyway - for other reasons, purposes, and motivations. And those reasons are tied to how you see yourself. You cook dinner to eat well, be a good wife, or a good husband or parent. You make a bed so maybe people don't perceive you to be a messy person. You go to work to get a paycheck and not be embarrassed with bill collector calls. And your motivation to do these tasks drives how you feel about yourself and defines you and your self-worth.
You choose which tasks you are going to do at any moment, essentially choosing what you want to accomplish in a day - or not. You may think that others are expecting you to complete a task for them, that they are dependent on you. And that may be true. But most likely you are doing a particular task or activity for your own benefit, for your own self-image, and to feel a certain way about yourself.
We all like to feel successful and we choose to do activities and tasks that make us feel that way. We define for ourselves what success "looks like" and make choices that validate that vision.
Accomplishment - or abandonment - is related to that vision.
Feeling a sense of accomplishment is highly subjective because a company will never fully know or understand a prospect or customers' motivation to solve a problem - even if in fact, that person wants to solve it at all. You'd have to know and understand that individual's belief systems and values, and it's just not possible.
However, not all is lost. One can make assumptions based on a well-researched persona - a generalization. It provides enough information to make assumptive leaps. But these generalizations, these personas, need to be based on real people. That's the only way to truly understand them.
Learn why someone does what they do
You need to connect to your customer and learn his true motivation for accomplishing a task and get answers to these questions:
- Why does a prospect or customer need your product?
- What problem is he trying to solve?
- Why does the prospect or customer want to solve his or her problem?
- What does a prospect or customer want to feel when he or she purchases your product?
- What is happening in his or her life to make this problem a priority?
But the most important question of all: What is the person's benefit to solve that problem? Why are they trying to solve the problem in the first place?
Once you identify the motivator for purchase or use, you have greater insight into why accomplishing a certain task is important to this person.
Once you have that information, you can then help him better determine how to accomplish solving his problem.
You still need to define a baseline process to help a someone complete a task - or rather, create a Journey Map
As a company, you can define the journey for your customers and prospects, but always keep in mind that you can't make a customer follow that path. You can provide and request information to help them make a decision. You know the decisions that need to be made to make a sale, complete a transaction, or complete a task in the app from your company's side. The customer may have some additional decisions to make on their side, but your company can define a baseline set of tasks through the journey.
A journey helps the process, but it isn't the only process.
Decisions are closely related to accomplishment and the feeling of finishing an activity.
Even if you are submitting information a la Turbo Tax, you need to decide that enough information has been provided to consider a task finished or that you have enough information to complete a task.
Usually this information flow is defined by business requirements. However, that's not always the case. Sometimes, a step in a process could be divided into sub-steps based on how users perceive it.
This leads to how prospects, customers or users define accomplishment.
- Are you accomplished for today? For now?
- How much do you break down a task and decisions to consider it complete?
That's where you need user input to define great stopping points to gather additional data or simply take a breather from a long process.
The further you break down steps, the more someone will feel accomplished towards his goal
Why do we have shopping carts for ecommerce? We broke down the shopping process and turned it into tasks.
- Someone browses and determines what he would like to buy
- He may create a wishlist (decision point)
- Then he decides to buy - puts it into the cart
- Debates the cart and promos and the like (decision point)
- Then he completes info to purchase (decision point)
- Select the button to spend the money (decision point)
- Confirmation (done)
Now, for a small purchase, completing this process is simple and fast.
However, for a larger purchase, this can be stressful and have many pauses along the way. Sometimes, the site will only include the steps up to the shopping cart - especially for larger purchases where a sales person is needed to complete the transaction.
But for less expensive purchases, the flow as it exists allows someone to complete the process and feel that he accomplished something in his shopping project. He has a wish list. He narrowed it down and is ready to purchase. He purchased.
The same can be applied to completing an insurance application. Someone may start the process, have some questions to be answered through other sources and come back later to complete it. That person will want to feel that some of the application is complete and he did, in fact, accomplish something.
This is also true for functionality.
Look at Turbo Tax. Turbo Tax is successful because it breaks down figuring out your taxes into simple steps. You can leave at any time and come back. You can skip around and finish sections that you have the information to complete and leave other sections blank until later. There are percent complete indicators for each section so you always know how much you really have left to do. And it tracks how much of a refund you will get - so you know that progress as well and where you could find additional deductions.
(Back to the Emotional Investment/Commitment section...Why is Turbo Tax so popular? People are committed to submit their taxes to be a good citizen. Why do people take time to complete an insurance application? They want to reduce their risk.)
Similar to experiencing progress: timing of steps towards accomplishing a goal is related to relative value (money or time) and priority for solving the problem
The time spent inbetween decisions and steps of a process is directly proportional to the value of what's being asked of the customer and the severity of the situation at hand. What does this mean? Let's start with value.
If an item is perceived to "not cost very much" it is an easy, simple purchase. "Not cost very much" is relative to the income one makes in a year. So a widget for $3 doesn't cost very much for someone making $100K/year compared to a $20K car. Then again, a $20K car doesn't cost very much for someone who makes $200+K/year. It's all relative and about perspective.
Then there is the severity of the situation of the customer/user. If it is an urgent problem that needs repair, then most likely the purchase cycle will be fast and the customer will want to fix it right away. Even if the cost is high, if the priority of the problem to the person making the decision is very high, the decision turnaround may be fast. For example, a leaky roof will get fixed very quickly if the leak is severe - even if it costs $10K. Someone will buy a new car if he needs one to get to work - even if he needs to get a loan for $20K to do it.
This is also true for tasks in an app, except rather than costs relating to money, it's about time investment costs.
A user will take the time to learn how to use a product if he needs the result it offers. Users don't have much time to learn how to use software or how to use a feature - that's why they should be familiar to use
. A user needs to invest as little time as possible to learn anything new. He doesn't need training and can get started right away.
However, if the problem doesn't have much of a priority to be fixed, he may - or may not - take the time to learn the complex features. This is the space where unused software lives.
How this maps to the Customer Relationship Lifecycle
- Find out why someone wants your product - learn more about them, their motivations, and their problems. Conduct surveys, start a social listening program, interview customers - find ways to gather their input and voices. Learn not just the logistics for why they are purchasing. Learn about the emotional benefits they want to get from solving their problems.
- Invest in proper personas. I can't stress this enough. Get that baseline ready to create your journey.
- Create a journey map for the various pre-purchase processes and indicate all of the customer decisions required. This would be the minimum decisions for a process. Get customer input for additional decisions needed.
- Provide quizzes, checklists and other materials to help someone determine what their problems, challenges, and potential solutions really are. Just because a prospect is researching your product doesn't mean that the prospect really should buy your product.
- Learn the personal benefit for the customer to solve their problem as well as the personal benefit for everyone who would use the product.
- Provide checklists and related materials to help the prospect decide if your solution is right for him
- Provide materials that outline your capabilities and solution versus your customer
- Provide cost calculators to help determine monetary value
- Provide calculators to determine the time and cost it will take to use the product
- Ensure that you are meeting the emotional needs of the customer once he purchases the product - it was worth his investment and commitment to your company and product. This is more involved and requires customer research. But if this is done properly, it is worth it from the perspective of happy customers, repeat customers and referrals.
- Make sure that the features related to the user's motivation to fix the problem are easiest to complete
- Understand what it driving the need to solve a problem and offer the right assistance when it makes sense. This includes help, supporting content, reference materials, videos, and related items.
- If possible, keep functionality simple, clear and quick. It shouldn't take long to complete a task (meaning it should be familiar to use)
- Reduce the amount of training needed to start using and understanding a product
- Include status bars and indicators for percentage complete or what it takes to reach a goal provide input/insight into what’s happening. The user needs to know what is being asked of him and what to expect
- Product pricing - make sure it is in line with the severity and priority of the problem. A complex problem will take a while to buy - and solve - even if the price is low. Or at least, it should. Simpler problems can be solved more easily and directly. But there should be a relationship between the price, time to purchase, and the product cost
- Make sure, based on user motivation for why they want to use the product, that support is easily available. And it is available in formats that they prefer to use.
- Similar to product, keep steps simple and clear or include a status bar for solving problems or resolving logistical/operations issues
- Include checklists to help fix problems
- Communicate in the best way digitally - video, audio, or text. Communicate to the user the way he wants to receive communication
- To determine eligibility for special offers, make it clear what will earn you the rebate or other offer
- Understand the emotional motivation for someone to buy and use your product - and respond to your customers with empathy if they are failing to use it in some way
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