Anatomy Of A Customer Job (Video)

Customer Jobs Have A Specific Structure

Video Transcript

Up to this point, we’ve been using the metaphor of the “job to be done” to represent the progress that people and organizations want to make in a particular circumstance. We now reveal that the customer job actually comprises two aspects that explains more holistically what a customer job actually is. To understand the dual nature of a customer job, I find it helpful to use the analogy of a coin.

A coin has two sides, but we don’t think of these sides as separate because they are aspects of the same thing. In a similar way, there are two aspects of what we are calling a job to be done — namely purpose and action.

We all act with purpose. More specifically, we act with the intention of creating certain results, which we desire because they satisfy our needs. Without purpose we would have no reason to act.

There are three kinds of results that we intend by taking some sort of job action. First there are the goals you want to obtain or achieve, such as — find a good wedding planner, discover new music, and become a business professional. Second, there are known hazards you wish to avoid such as — identity theft or contracting the flu. You seek out certain solutions to reduce the likelihood that these hazards will occur. Third, there are the unexpected problems you never see coming that you want to resolve. For instance — your new flat screen TV breaks or losing your passport.

Achieving goals, avoiding hazards, and resolving problems are your success outcomes and they are “why” you have jobs to be done in the first place. To use our previous coin analogy, success outcomes are one side or aspect of the “job to be done” construct. Success outcomes are the purpose for taking action.

The other aspect of a customer job is the action or the “what” you must do to generate success outcomes. This action unfolds into a series of steps, called a job map, that represents the logic of what must be done to successfully complete a job. We’ll focus on job mapping in a later challenge.

Together, success outcomes and job action holistically defines the customer’s job to be done. These two aspects are like the two sides of a coin. They both reflect the same underlying construct — — namely, the job to be done.

By what means do you gauge how well a job is done? The short answer is your experience. Ah, but your experience is comprised of both job action and success outcomes. Your experience improves to the extent that you are satisfied with how you are able to execute a job. Your experience also improves to the extent that you achieve expected results — or success outcomes. So, good execution that falls short of your expected results is an overall bad experience. Likewise, bad execution that meets or even exceeds expected results is still an overall bad experience. We will thoroughly explore the customer experience in later challenges.

The idea that customer jobs reflect both purpose and action is aligned with the well-established fact that all people and businesses engage in purposeful behavior. While we can often observe customer behaviors, it is seldom obvious what motivates these behaviors.

Yet as innovators we need to understand these motivations because they are the drivers of customer choice, both today and in the future. Without understanding these motivations, innovation efforts can become hit or miss and this is the kind of innovation you want to avoid.

Your innovation efforts will be much more likely to succeed when you are guided by Jobs theory. That’s because jobs theory connects you to what is predictable every time — purposeful behavior. Understanding job purpose and job action enables you to focus your innovation efforts on creating value that customers and organizations want. And this knowledge makes all the difference between success and disappointment!