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Every product or service bought or consumed has a need, a purpose or a ‘job’ that it is ‘hired’ to fulfil. Even a milkshake has a ‘job to be done’. The ‘jobs to be done’ framework is a Service Design tool that helps uncover a customer’s functional, social, personal, and emotional needs that a product or service can fulfil.
The ‘jobs to be done’ framework:
In his book, Competing Against Luck, Clayton Christensen explains the concept of ‘jobs to be done’ with the example of a McDonald’s store that was looking to improve their milkshake sales. After testing various components of the recipe and store experience, milkshake sales remained unchanged. Christensen’s team observed the lifestyle, interactions and consumption choices of every consumer that purchased a milkshake, and discovered:
After customer interviews, Christensen’s team uncovered that people who purchased milkshakes did so to keep them occupied during a long morning commute to work, or to keep full until lunchtime.
This simple insight was a game changer. Christensen explains that the milkshake had a specific ‘job to be done’: cure boredom and provide sustenance during a mundane morning commute. It was for this reason that customers ‘hired’ a McDonald’s milkshake and from the customer’s point of view, it was a job that a bagel, banana or other alternatives could not fulfil.
“There is a job out there that arises in people’s life on occasion, that causes them to need to buy a milkshake, and we need to understand this job,” explained Christensen.
You can only understand how to improve the marketing of a product or service when you understand the job that needs to be done.
What are the benefits of jobs to be done?
Ultimately, the goal of uncovering a user’s ‘job to be done’ is to create, promote or innovative a product or service to fulfil a ‘job’ for a customer. The benefits of understanding a customer’s job to be done include:
Understanding a customer’s ‘job to done’ is extremely valuable for Service Designers to understand the true function of a product or service. Expand your toolkit and learn more about Service Design here.