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Leo Poll

Leo Poll

PhD – President Akendi UK

Experience Thinking = A Remarkable Experience

I remember a phone call I received when I still worked for Philips Research from somebody who lived close to the labs. This gentleman owned a Philips Television that had stopped working. He must have thought: “Luckily I live close to Philips, I’ll give them a call and they will fix it”. He called and ended with me on the phone (not so lucky). He explained what the problem was and I replied that he got through to Philips Research and that it was perfectly possible for us to design a brand new TV for him but that we wouldn’t be able to fix his current one. I thought it was funny, he did not (I don’t anymore either).

For him, Philips was Philips and if he called then he would be helped courteously and quickly (which I did in the end, honestly). For me the request was bizarre, why would anybody call Philips Research to have a TV fixed? This highlights a classic problem that is very common especially in large organizations. I was wrong to assume that our TV owner should have studied the Philips organogram before making a call. Unfortunately, this is typical. An organization organizes itself to make it as easy as possible to operate as efficiently as possible. Having multiple units makes this worse because this quickly results in silos who do things on their own in the way that is best for them. This process optimization thinking has disastrous results for the end-user/customer experience.

Process thinking as a way of organizing a business is actually quite strange if you think about it. Take going to university, it is one student with possible one or two carers who go through the whole experience of selecting a university, joining, attended lectures, graduating and becoming an alumnus. Multiple departments deliver the service but only a few people experience the whole journey. That experience journey is far easier to map than internal processes and should be used as a blueprint that what individual departments aim to deliver a piece of, individually and together.  The company, the departments, the individuals should all think ‘how am I contributing to the end-user/customer experience’ (experience thinking) and not ‘how can I do what I do an effective and efficient as possible’ (process thinking). Think experience, not process optimization. Why? Good experiences sell, good experiences make people come back for more, good experiences result in more customers, more revenue and job satisfaction.

How Do You Do This?

  • Know your customer/user and their journeys! understand who is it that experiences your service/product/marketing efforts/support and what they need when where when and how. Knowledge should be based on fact to anecdotes (of course)
  • Collaborate! Don’t just focus on your part of the experience but also consider who you can help the experience delivery of other departments.
  • Think experience! Make sure everybody in your organization understands how they contribute to the experience directly or indirectly.
Leo Poll

Leo Poll

PhD – President Akendi UK

Since 1996, Leo has been helping organizations provide an intentional customer experience while matching technical innovations to market needs. He uses the Akendi blog to share his thoughts about the challenges of addressing business problems from an end-user perspective and finding solutions that work for real people.


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About Akendi

Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.