Why Isn’t Customer Service on Your ‘Jobs to Be Done’ List?


"Jobs to be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation" was written to help businesses separate innovation for innovation's sake and innovation to grow your bottom line. The detailed, customer-focused framework at the center of this book utilizes customer psychology and business strategy to help businesses prioritize their innovation efforts with the best chance of gaining an increasing share of your customer's wallet.

Why Isn't Customer Service on Your 'Jobs to Be Done' List?

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Innovation is probably the number one concern of the business world as businesses battle for the most viral app, the best analytics, or to be the next “Amazon”, or next “Facebook”. That’s definitely a good thing, but this excessive focus on technology takes away attention from the bigger issue, the customer.

Jobs To Be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation is here to solve that problem. The book’s purpose is to help businesses put customers at the center of innovation. Without that focus, the authors of the book say, technology is just more useless hardware or software no one wants to use.

What is ‘Jobs To Be Done’ About?

Jobs to be Done begins with the bold claim that most of our “customer service” efforts are in vain. In the book’s view, businesses pay lip service to the customer but fail to really understand what the customer needs. Businesses get so tied up in their internal processes and trying to make the “next big thing” to feed their short-term need for profit that they forget one important thing: In order to make a profit, customers have to want to use your product (or service) first.

In other words, your business won’t sustain itself on trends, fads or trickery. In order to survive, your business needs loyalty, not just transactions. Without it, your business will not survive in a world where consumers literally have thousands of options for their needs and wants.

Jobs to be Done urges business leaders to shift away from an exclusively outside-in perspective where the focus is on making the business more comfortable (by forcing customers to wait in long lines to save on labor costs or by billing customers for fees they didn’t know they signed up for). Instead, the book wants leaders to focus on the “sweet spot” that exists between what customers want (a stress-free way to achieve a goal) and what the business wants (a profitable and growing customer base).

Getting to that “sweet spot” involves understanding what your customer wants at a deeper level. Customers don’t care about trendy marketing slogans, taglines or even the fact that your business exists. Customers just want to have a job done. Whether they want to hear music, get health insurance or catch an international air flight, your customers want a product or service delivered with as little stress as possible. Jobs to Be Done helps businesses plan their entire operation around that concept.

One of the book’s authors, Stephen Wunker is a marketing consultant, and cofounder of Yowzit (a Yelp-like site in Africa). Wunker is also managing director of New Market Advisors, a global strategy firm and was involved in the creation of the smartphone

Co-author Dr. Jessica Wattman is a consultant and Director of Social Innovation at New Market Solutions with experience in both profit and not-for-profit projects on an international scale. In addition to her professional pursuits, she speaks fluent Spanish and French.

Another co-author David Farber is an attorney and manager at New Market Solutions with expertise in revenue and growth strategies.

What Was Best About ‘Jobs To Be Done?’

Jobs to be Done offers a deeper and more radical approach to customer service that can revolutionize the industry if readers take it seriously. The book’s definition of customer service centers around the entire business. In other words, customer service isn’t just a department. It is the reason your entire business exists. Customer service isn’t just “everyone outside your company who buys from you.” It includes anyone who comes into contact with your business (employees, suppliers, partners, etc.). This expanded view of customer service provides a lot of opportunity for the book’s stated purpose — customer-focused innovation

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Jobs to be Done is written from the perspective of experts with global experience and access to clients that have large budgets. The Jobs to be Done framework these experts offer can be very helpful for any business. But it can also be a bit overwhelming to small and medium-sized businesses. To help with this issue, the authors might consider providing additional resources on how small businesses should prioritize their efforts if they don’t have the time, personnel or budget to compete with the larger businesses who have more resources to implement the ideas in this book.

Why Read ‘Jobs To Be Done?’

Jobs to be Done was definitely written at the right time because businesses are facing a two-fold pressure: disruptive innovation on one side and a customer-centered economy on the other. The authors address disruptive innovation and the Age of the Customer in one detailed framework. For any business leader that is concerned about maintaining innovation and customers, the book’s framework and overall expertise provide a guide that is easy to follow.

The concept of centering your business around customers may seem intuitive, but it is actually very revolutionary. Jobs to be Done provides an exploration of that revolution along with some guidelines for launching into the future created by this customer-focused, innovation-driven vision.

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Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.