In the first article of our series on Experience Design, I discussed Customer Experience and its perception in a technical working environment. In this blog post, I will focus on how companies can adopt a customer-centred approach to design a well-rounded UX strategy that will lead to an exceptional customer experience. The design processes we follow at FAIR are driven by this mindset. We work with the customer every step of the way to deliver the right solution.
Before exploring strategy, however, it is important to understand the difference between User Experience and Customer Experience.
Customer Experience Encompasses User Experience
User Experience, or UX, focuses on the end user having a quality interaction and meaningful experience with a service or a product. This could apply to a website with easy navigation to help the customer find the information they need or a product or service that helps them complete a specific task.
Customer Experience, or CX, encompasses all of these interactions and is a holistic perception a customer has of a business or brand across multiple touchpoints within their customer journey. This can include physical and digital interactions.
Adopting a Customer-Centred Approach
Before attempting to work on design, businesses first need to be curious and step into their customers’ shoes to gain deep insights into their needs and behaviour. This helps understand the right problem to solve from the outset. Once sufficient data is gathered to identify the challenges faced by the customer, the design phase can commence to address them successfully. A customer-centred approach should aim to fulfil the needs of the customers instead of catering to their wants.
A methodology that is well-known within Experience Design is the Double Diamond process.
Phases of the Double Diamond Design Process
The Double Diamond design process comprises four stages to create a practical and visually appealing design governed by the customer’s needs: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver. I will briefly discuss each step taken towards creating a customer-centred design.
Discover: As the diagram above elaborates, the process of designing starts with discovering what the customers need or more precisely, the problem that the design will solve. This stage calls for the design team to collaborate and research the requirements of the customers as well as their behavioural patterns and how they interact with a product or service.
This phase includes not just desk research but also techniques such as 1:1 interviews, surveys, workshops and observation of real customers.
Define: Once the problem or challenge is identified, design teams analyse the data and synthesise insights gathered during the discovery phase. A strategy is formulated based on that analysis and the process of brainstorming to find the best solution to address the challenges faced by the customer begins.
Develop: At this stage, the team has a thorough understanding of the challenges the customers are facing so it can now move on to brainstorming to find the right design to address them. Drawing up customer journey maps, storyboards and service blueprints helps the team visualise the ideas proposed.
This phase also includes creating prototypes and involving the end-user to test how they interact with the solution.
Deliver: The last stage is delivering the final design to the customer — but the journey doesn’t really end here. Businesses should continuously ask their customers for their feedback to iterate on the areas that can be improved.
SAP’s Design Thinking method is somewhat similar to the Double Diamond; however, it Explores the opportunities to create a design before discovering the problem. The second and third phases of the SAP method, Discover and Design, are the same as the Double Diamond. After analysing the customers’ requirements and developing a prototype of the design based on the research, comes the Delivery stage, when the solution is tested and deployment starts.
The last stage of the SAP Design Thinking process is Run and Scale. This is when the final solution is implemented and is ready to scale. The method starts with Design Thinking and ends with Architecture Thinking.
Stages of SAP Design Thinking Process
Designing an Effective UX Strategy
To create a human-centred design, businesses need to find the right balance between fulfilling customer needs and meeting set goals. A practical design should be desirable, viable, feasible and scalable so that it can contribute to improving customer experience while staying aligned with the company’s targets and resources.
The Factors Considered while Working on an Effective Design Strategy
While designing an effective UX strategy, businesses must understand that it will not just have an impact on a single product or service. It is the foundation of a company’s customer experience. A good design should be functional, have a clear objective and lead to the success of a technical project’s deployment.
A good approach would be to think beyond technology. To create a human-centred design that adds value for the customer, the business must consider its organisational structure, its capabilities and transformation operational model.
A successful UX strategy will always be influenced by the needs of the customer, hence the importance of adopting a customer-first mindset.
It’s also important to understand that improving design is an ongoing process. One of the most important aspects of formulating an effective UX strategy is bringing the customer on the journey. A business can only design the right solution for its customers if it keeps them involved at every stage.