How to create better business outcomes through CX design


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Design everything from the customer back or customers won’t come back for anything

Get your CX design right and the link with better business outcomes should be visible from space.  Crafted and managed design directly impacts customer behaviour, loyalty, lifetime value, retention and, consequently, the bottom line. In this article I walk you through four questions to help you understand how you’ve come in being customer-led, and crucially design-led, to help you create impactful interactions and experiences, and drive adoption of your products and services. The focus here is on digital experiences.

CX design as a strategic business driver

CX design is a company-wide endeavour to create meaningful, valuable and enjoyable experiences at multiple touchpoints of the customer journey. It’s a strategic framework that influences how customers perceive and interact with a business. Great customer experiences driven by cutting-edge technology is table stakes in B2B and B2C. It’s the enabler of stand-out experiences.  That’s on paper.  The strike rate tells a different story.

Billions are being poured into digital products. These projects require energy, time and money. But, for most businesses success rates can make for difficult reading. Estimates from Harvard Business School put the failure rate for products (digital and physical) as high as 95%.  Remember Google Glass, Google+, Apple Newton, Microsoft Zune, the Windows Phone? No company is immune.

7 questions to assess your strategy

 Look inside the organisation, before you look outside.

 Are we truly customer centric?

Everything below will help you answer the big over-arching question on customer centricity. CX leaders foster a culture within the organisation that places the customer at the centre of decision-making. They understand that customer relationships drive sales. Sales don’t drive customer relationships.

Understand your CX maturity – do you have a clear understanding of your current level of CX maturity? If you don’t have an internal model, there are many CX maturity assessments that you can use.

Be clear on beliefs, values and ideas – are your beliefs, values and ideas rooted in an unshakeable commitment to drive to create a great customer experience? Does everybody across the organisation embody these beliefs and values?

Prime your leadership – strong leadership is needed is need to energise your team about the benefits of being customer-led. Leaders create, model and sustain any change. Highlight the benefits of employees internalising a customer-centric mindset, leading to better service delivery and positive customer experiences.

It’s impossible to build a customer-centric culture without organisation-wide collaboration.

Do we collaborate as a cross-functional team?

Collaborative businesses create customer-winning, and customer-keeping propositions.

A partnership between your Chief Design Officer, Chief Experience Office and other senior leaders can have a significant impact on the quality of your CX. The partnership

is critical to creating a seamless and consistent customer and employee experience

across all touchpoints.

And yet …

The statistics are worrying on the prevalence of siloed thinking and its impact on CX. You’re probably fed up with hearing about silos.  But they’re still a real barrier for collaboration, communication and data sharing. Dimension Data found that 54% of organisations report their customer experience operations are managed in silos. Only 33% of customer experience professionals say they can actively communicate and collaborate across teams to drive improved CX.

The launch of an app requires cross-business collaboration. Your design team – obviously, your customer service team to respond to enquiries and solve issues. Messaging from your marketing team is crucial here. You need to give people who are locked into their current technology, or reluctant to upgrade, a compelling reason to buy-into new digital products, or an enhancement.

Yet Salesforce found that while 76% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments, 54% felt like sales, service, and marketing teams didn’t share information. If you’re not sharing data and insights, customers have a disjointed experienced. You’ll also have disjointed metrics that make it difficult to connect to a specific business outcome. See question 4 below.

Customers don’t care about how you organise your business. They just want to feel like they’re interacting with one cohesive organisation. Regardless of the department, channel, or person they interact with. Siloed mentalities are the nemesis here. Silos are a cultural and leadership issue. To break down silos you need to change mindsets. This starts at the top.

Do we have a unified, real-time view of our customers?

As we mentioned earlier, most digital projects fail because nobody wanted it. The wrong questions are asked. Products and services are often designed and launched without empathy for what the customer needs and wants. As a leader, customer understanding is critical to your evolving product road map and delivery to increase adoption.

Technology is making it effortless to build a 360-degree view of your customers wants, needs, and preferences

Conduct user research, including surveys, interviews, and usability testing, to gain insights into their motivations and pain points.
Voice of the customer is embedded in your CX tools and technology, digital products, and online. This is the centre of gravity for creating digital products and services that customers care about.

When was the last time you updated your customer personas?

Here are a few questions to think about:

What do users want to achieve and how does your offering help them reach their goals?
What are their current, and future needs? What are their pain points?
What are the emotional triggers that make your users want to buy into, or reject, your products?

How can you adapt your design and marketing activities to tap into the specific needs and wants  increase adoption and usage, and boost loyalty?

Do we know enough about the psychology of design​?

Aesthetics and functionality are important. But they’re not enough. You need to understand the psychology of design and how people perceive and interact with digital experiences. This encompasses various principles that influence user behaviour, emotions, and decision-making. CX leaders understand how mind models influence user behaviour, and how effective design aligns with these models.

Here are some key points to think about:

Emotional design: recognise the role of emotions in user experience. Design elements can evoke specific emotions, influencing how users perceive and interact with a product or environment. Consider factors like colour psychology, imagery, and tone of voice.

Cognitive load and usability: minimise cognitive load by organising information logically and presenting it in digestible format for your customers. Avoid overwhelming users with too much information at once. Utilise familiar patterns and conventions to enhance usability.

Visual hierarchy and attention: utilise visual elements like colour, contrast, typography, and layout to guide users’ attention and emphasise important information. Understanding how the human eye processes information can help create effective visual hierarchies.

Feedback and affordances: provide clear feedback to users about their actions to create a sense of control and confidence. Utilise affordances, which are visual or sensory cues that suggest how an object or interface should be used. This helps users understand how to interact with a design intuitively.

What else?

Inclusive design: focus on creating products and environments that are accessible and usable by people of all abilities and backgrounds. This involves considering factors like usability for individuals with disabilities, as well as addressing cultural and linguistic diversity.

Neurodesign: incorporate insights from neuroscience to better understand how the brain processes visual information and how design can influence perception, emotions, and decision-making.

Ethics: think about ethical responsibilities: data privacy, user consent, and the potential impact of design on mental well-being.

Behavioural economics: apply principles from behavioural economics to design, such as nudges and choice architecture, to influence user behaviour and decision-making.

Are we still measuring CX in silos?

Many business still measure and benchmark CX within the imaginary walls of their department. Start with a holistic business goal and work backwards to define the metrics you want to track and measure. Holistic metrics give you for actionable insights for every stakeholder in the CX effort. A shared goal and shared metrics makes it easy to draw a straight line between your initiative and business results.

A final thought …

CX design is not a one-time effort but a continuous process of refinement. Monitor customer feedback, conduct usability testing, and analyse metrics to iteratively enhance CX.

In conclusion

The synergy between CX design and positive business outcomes is evident. Cross-functional collaboration means better experiences and results. Instilling a customer-centric ethos empowers teams to design exceptional products and services. Effective design, deeply rooted in customer understanding and psychology sets the stage for stand out experiences.

Ultimately, the success of CX design is measured in the tangible impact on business metrics. Customer retention rates, lifetime value, and referral rates all surge with well-designed CX. This, in turn, translates into increased revenue and profitability. The marriage of design excellence and cutting-edge technology empowers businesses to not only meet but exceed customer expectations, driving sustained growth and competitive advantage in today’s dynamic market landscape.

Ricardo Saltz Gulko
Ricardo Saltz Gulko is the founder of Eglobalis and the European Customer Experience Organization. He is a global strategist specializing in B2B enterprises, with a focus on Customer Experience, Professional Services, Design and Innovation, as well as data-driven services. Ricardo empowers major global enterprises to generate new revenue and enhance market competitiveness through the delivery of exceptional global CX, and he employs design to drive adoption and growth. The end results of his work include high growth, increased retention, loyalty, innovation ignition, adoption and growth.


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