Top CX Design Challenges in 2021

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Customer experience design challenges in 2021 remind us of the overall challenges that face organizations in a year marked by changing expectations and demands. Top customer experience design challenges include finding and coordinating the right people, navigating complexities like who you are designing for, and transforming ideas into actual experiences. Sound familiar?

If you are like the many organizations we speak with, these challenges, and more, feel like they are interfering with your objectives to create intuitive CX design and seamless customer experiences across channels. The question, of course, is how do we solve these experience design challenges.

Let’s start by unpacking each of the experience design challenges your organization is likely to face. Once we understand how they arise, we can better see the impact they have on your experience design. Then, we can dig into solutions to resolve them and help you design the experiences your customers deserve: the experiences that truly reflect your brand identity and honor the commitment of your brand’s mission, vision, and values.

CX Design Challenge 1: Getting Everyone Together

We all know collaboration is key for creativity and good design. But getting everyone together is not always as easy as we would like it to be. In fact, getting the right people together is one of the biggest customer experience design challenges we see.

This begs the question, who does “everyone” include? And who are the “right people?” That’s simple. In order to create impactful customer experience design, you need to include multiple players across the organization who understand the dynamics of customer needs, product capabilities, and a range of mitigating factors. Start forming your customer design team by finding individuals in the organization who understand customer experience design holistically and believe in it wholeheartedly.

Individuals who do not understand all the dimensions of CX design (including design principles, and the impact of design on customer behaviors), often downplay the complexity and effort that good design requires. Because they fail to allow for complexities, these are the same individuals who do not show up for meetings. Or they question why you need to involve so many stakeholders across the organization in your customer experience design process.

CX Design Solution 1: Educate to Align

Since customer experience requires buy-in from the whole organization, start by educating the whole organization. Before you set up a meeting, lobby for participation from the right people. Meet with them 1:1 and tell your story. It will help you get their support for the bigger meetings. It requires more of your  time to do that, but it really pays off.

When you invite people to come to the table to discuss customer experience design, make sure you communicate what is in it for each party. And how their interests are part of the overall design. You can also cover that in your 1:1s ahead of time.

Customer Experience Design Challenge 2: Complexity

When you engage in customer experience design, you quickly find that there is an overwhelming volume of permutations of every experience. Meeting the needs of different personas is challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. Even in the design phase. Stagnation happens when the “what ifs” for which you are designing threaten to consume you. When this happens, you don’t end up designing for anyone.

Simply put, overcomplexity happens when you try to satisfy every possible customer at once. By creating multiple personas for every customer who could ever utilize your product or service, you fail to design an experience that works seamlessly or intuitively for any one of your customers.

Solution 2: Simplify and Focus

Rather than trying to meet all possible needs of all potential customers, identify a small set of target personas. Once you identify those personas, do your research. Develop a practical understanding of what your brand’s target personas need and want. Understand their challenges and their preferences. Do not try to meet the expectations of customers you do not know. Build personas first, then embark on customer experience design.

Customer Experience Design Challenge 3: Feasibility

At the end of the day, customer experience design is just that, design. Like all good design, it requires creativity, innovative thinking, and, more often than not, risk taking.  Just make sure you analyze it. Account for institutional capabilities, cost, and project viability. Don’t let aspirational thinking price you out of good design.

Challenges arise when, in the quest to create innovative, creative experiences, customer experience design teams forget to stay grounded in the needs of the customers, as well as organizational capabilities and budgets. So, make sure while you are designing the experiences your customers dream you have the ability to make those dreams come true.

CX Design Solution 3: Lead the Transformation

To have a real impact on the actual experience of your customers, take your design project one step farther. Make the business case by speaking with your peers across the organization. Engage with the operation to validate your costs as well as your revenue management teams to get your revenue projections blessed by them. Consult with your finance team along the way so they can argue for you when you are not in the room. At the end of the day, all good design needs funding. Good designers are recognized for the projects that see the light of day, not the projects that could have been.

Bring your Design to Life

Remember the design solutions we have covered. Gather the right people. Communicate the need for and the value of your customer experience design project. Then, take the lead. Guide conversations, develop relevant target personas, and turn your creativity into actionable design. Finally, propel the transformation by moving your idea from a concept you discuss with your team to a business case your CFO would approve and experience your customers embrace.

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