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Getting immersive to create alignment, and empathy

By Serena Riley, LLamasoft and Janelle Mansfield, Amplified Customer Experience

Last year when LLamasoft was reviewing their list of Customer Experience related priorities, they had identified the onboarding process as a particularly high effort area for its customers.

Faced with lack of alignment and understanding, as are most companies, Serena Riley opted to tackle those challenges head on. Literally!

Creating immersive experiences can be powerful learning opportunities. More than that, they can be powerful alignment opportunities.

Imagine, getting a room full of your colleagues together from across the entire organization. Together, working through and experiencing customer pain-points in the same way they do.

Understanding. Lightbulbs. Empathy. Alignment. Motivation.

Immersive learning about the customer journey at LLamasoft

One day, not too long ago, Serena and the LLamasoft team came together in an immersive lab.

Here’s how Serena did it:

  • Leveraged the Customer Journey Map: The LLamasoft team had mapped the customer journey and identified some key areas for improvement, prioritizing the onboarding experience.

  • Engaged their audience: Given the team had a reputation for creating fun learning experiences, it wasn’t difficult to find folks to give up 60 minutes of their time to participate.

  • Designed the experience: Now that she knew she had dedicated time and commitment from her cross-functional colleagues, she had to get down to brass tacks. Designing experiences can be the most fun, but also the most difficult. There’s so much thought and creativity that goes into this design element. Serena harnessed a concept she was already familiar with; training. While this wasn’t a training exercise, it was an exercise that would require the use of computers and a lab-type environment. She considered the room set-up, machine set-up, and some of the other smaller details.

  • Immersing the team: Finally, it was here. All of Serena’s creativity, passion for customers and for creating excellent experiences would be put to the test. The participants were given similar constraints to their customers (password problems, the same instructions, dispersed support tools), and the LLamasoft team dug in. They tried, like their customers did, to onboard themselves to the product. Whenever there was a problem, a simulated trouble ticket was raised. When it was something that couldn’t be solved, it was flagged for the enhancement process. The team members felt frustrated, excited, uncertain, confused and satisfied – depending on their own unique experience of course.

  • After the final click: Serena saw a notable change in her conversations with cross-functional team members. They were empathetic, eager to tackle the top onboarding issues, and even more creative in their solutioning.

Immersive experiences allow people to feel what other people are feeling, regardless of position or authority level. It evens the playing field. It creates an environment for evolved learning and thinking.

For Serena and the team at LLamasoft, this exercise helped them get closer to their customer. Something most of us strive for.

By The Numbers:

Immersive Experience Design Time: 4hrs

Number of Lab Machines Prepared: 15

Number of Participants: 40

Number of Simulated Trouble Tickets Raised: 15

Cost of Materials to Create Experience: $25

Cost of Building Customer Understanding & Empathy: Priceless.


LLamasoft delivers the science behind supply chain’s biggest decisions. They’ve helped over 750 of the world’s most innovative companies design the supply chain they want. They put the power of advanced analytics into the hands of business leaders to support real-world supply chain decisions about how their supply chains should be working to achieve profitability, service, and growth goals. Breaking down the barriers of traditional planning and operational systems, they create a true end-to-end view of a company’s global supply chain where analysis, scenario testing and decisions are conceived and executed across strategic, tactical and operational time horizons.

Serena Riley, CCXP of LLamasoft

Who is Serena Riley, CCXP?

Serena is a customer experience and company culture expert who specializes in cultivating cultures of customer-centricity and employee-elevation. For over 15-years, she has been igniting transformation in individuals, teams and organizations while delivering happiness to customers and employees alike. Her passionate positivity and creative flair has enabled LLamasoft to design better experiences, driving solution improvements and increased engagement.

Janelle Mansfield, MBA of Amplified Customer Experience

Who is Janelle Mansfield?

Janelle is Customer Experience Evangelist, helping companies across North America evolve their CX maturity to create meaningful experiences that drive retention, and better business results. She thrives on helping her clients achieve their big goals while strategically putting their customers first.

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