How to Deliver a Differentiated Customer Experience with a Great Product Experience

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Want to call yourself a true customer-centric organization? With the significant rise of digital technologies in the workplace, companies today need to create holistic, intuitive, and connected experiences that meet their customers where they are to foster high trust and loyalty.

Highly successful, customer-centric organizations employ a playbook that integrates not only a smart strategy, but also design-led products. As a product leader learning from customers day-in and out, I know the importance of having a tech stack that increases your operational efficiency, helps differentiate you from competitors, and creates a better experience for the internal teams and external customers using them.

Let’s break down the DNA of great products so you can build confidence in the evaluation and buying decision process in service of your organization.

Adopt products clearly grounded in Voice of Customer

The best products reflect actively listening to customer desires, plus a healthy balance of aligning with industry best practices while staying the course of the company’s business strategy.

To fully embrace active listening, invest in user-centered design and research to understand your customer, validating your solutions early and often. Qualitative and quantitative insights are important to explore; evaluate customer support tickets, user goals, product data, churn surveys, and community forums. Great products deeply understand the customer journey and points of frustration to help users make informed and effective decisions.

They also meet specific needs, introducing nuance and expression at the right time when it adds clarity and value to the user experience. They reduce a customer’s cognitive load by maintaining and sometimes enhancing patterns ingrained in their daily workflows. Well-designed products don’t introduce new patterns for new pattern sake, adding unnecessary friction.

Take Loom, for instance. The platform is simple and discoverable directly from the Chrome navigation bar for doing everything from recording a product demo for a customer to sharing a video within your company, all in a couple clicks. Loom built and prioritized features daily based on voice of customer feedback, most notably learning that video could solve team remote communication challenges.

The next generation of workers has set the bar for products even higher too: 91% of decision-makers will need to provide more advanced digital experiences to meet the needs of millennials and Gen Z, who make up approximately half of the workforce. A generation that has grown up with smartphones, social media, and tablets at their fingertips come with the expectation that all products meet the bar of consumer apps. Regardless if it’s a team member or a customer using it, clunky software won’t hold up as attention wanes and the competition provides product-led learning, simplicity, and intuitive user experiences.

Look for simplicity to solve complexity

Great products add ease to your day by solving problems, not creating more. A Harvard Business Review studied 20 teams across three Fortune 500 companies and found that they lost an astounding five working weeks to “the toggling tax,” the time and effort wasted jumping between different applications. Sales and customer success professionals know the feeling of bouncing between your CRM, lead gen software, scheduling platform, and revenue intelligence tool – all to keep a customer relationship moving forward.

Customer-focused leaders want their team and customers to have tools that effortlessly embed into a team or customer’s existing day-to-day workflow, leading to better performance. Perhaps unsurprisingly, “the right tools to do their jobs” was a top takeaway in Gartner’s 2023 Digital Workplace Experience Survey exploring the top 10 things digital workers want and need at work. Look for those that free your team from having to be in a product to use the product. Look for tools with intentional onboarding, helping the user achieve the most value based on their role, intent, and where they are in their customer journey.

When meeting with customers, the web browser extension from Calendly is an example of intentional design, surfacing the right information at the right time, without breaking workflows. Extension users on both sides see value: the customer success manager saves time by booking a follow-up meeting almost instantly while still talking to a customer from wherever they’re working online; meanwhile the customer has a better experience with the company by getting to focus on more important topics, not scheduling a future conversation.

When a product’s design fits seamlessly into the user’s daily workflow, you build confidence, earn trust, and get to faster decision-making with your customer. Great products offer simplicity of use and pack powerful functionality behind-the-scenes so you can be more productive and refocus time towards the customer.

Wrapping up

As you think about how to best serve your customers – start by thinking about how to best serve your team. Companies that place the product experience at the forefront of the customer experience realize faster onboarding, enduring adoption, and greater business impact. The products you surface are a part of the experience you provide and can make the difference.

Jess Clark
Jess Clark is the Head of User Experience at Calendly, where she’s committed to creating effortless, valuable experiences that inspire customers to love meetings. She leads the company’s product design, content design, and UX research teams in designing and prototyping product experiences to help teams schedule more productive and impactful external meetings. Previously, Jess spent 12 years at LinkedIn, where she most recently served as the Director of Product Design.

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