Inspiring CX change


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As the famous Henry Ford saying goes, “If you had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse”. While he was able to design an ingeniously human centred product (the automobile!), he was also able to inspire hope of greater “efficiency, sanitation, and safety” than horse-dependent travel.1

We often spend lots of time nurturing ideas and improvements in our wombs of human centred design. The question is, do we also conscientiously prepare for the journey after the ‘baby’ arrives?

In a previous article on Change Management – for Customers, I referenced Lewin’s model of change management, which consists of three key stages: unfreeze, change, refreeze. I once again reflect on how we can apply these learnings to inspire customers to change.


In the case of Henry Ford, the American people were starting to view horses as a less than ideal mode of transportation. It was causing problems with sanitation, where New York’s horses daily left in their wake 60,000 gallons of urine and 2.5 million pounds of manure.1 Undoubtedly, the people saw, felt, and smelled the need for change!

Is the change we are introducing meeting a customer need, or simply something we think is a good idea?


1. Customer journey mapping
Customer journey mapping is essential to understand and address the impact of changes on the customer journey. With changes, special attention should be paid to nerve points, which are “moments in the customer journey where customers are more sensitive and/or feel nervous, and are thus more susceptible to negative emotions such as anger and irritation”, as stated in the book From Oblivious to Obsessed.

Such negative emotions could increase customers’ resistance to change, and this pitfall can be avoided through customer journey mapping.

2. Measuring and monitoring
Success outcomes (and corresponding key metrics) should be tracked and monitored closely as the changes are implemented. The data provides us with a pulse of how customers are responding to the changes, and point us to potential areas for further investigation and iteration.


What does potty training have to do with inspiring change? Everything! We don’t wake up one day, decide to remove the diaper from our toddler, and expect a lovely dry day! Instead we have elaborate game plans. We whip out potty training books armed with sparkly reward stickers; potties serenade toddlers with celebratory tunes with every success.

We introduce changes to young children with careful guidance, enjoyable education, and celebration. It should be no different when we introduce changes to the customer experience.

Figma, a collaborative interface design tool, sure understands this. Changes are introduced at a palatable pace, in a human, intriguing, and fun manner. Below is one example that greeted me when I logged in one day.

Picture credit: screenshot from

I did a quick poll among other Figma users I knew, and suffice to say that the click through rate was close to 100%. How’s that for successful and enjoyable change inspiration?

In conclusion, I’d like to leave us all with this thought: How might we inspire change, and help our customers to stop ‘riding horses’?

1 Brad Smith, Carol Ann Browne. The Day the Horse Lost Its Job. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from

Joan Yong
Joan Yong is a seasoned customer experience professional and co-author of the foundational customer experience book, “From Oblivious to Obsessed: Eight Obsessions Every Organisation Must Embrace To Build Customer Loyalty In Asia”. She has a demonstrated track record in management consulting, market research, and experience design across industries, including retail, F&B, financial, public sector, attractions, and travel. Her personal motto is to make the world a better place, one experience at a time.


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