I have been a passionate advocate of Customer Experience Design for many years. As a process; as an approach to changing your customer service; as much as an ethos - the idea of consciously and thoughtfully thinking though how you are going to design the experience that your customer have with your organisation - be it public sector, private sector, large or small - is one I feel passionate about.
I have designed organisations and processes around a set of key Customer Experience Design principles; as well as been on the receiver of other people executing a customer experience scenario.
Every single day of our lives, we are both consumers and providers of customer experience. You fill your car up with fuel; buy groceries at a store; go shopping in a mall or shopping centre; go out for dinner / cinema / brunch; or interact with any other human being or via technology [web sites, portals, or online purchase / complaint / ordering systems] and you are a consumer of Customer Experience Design.
Think for just a moment on the last purchase or engagement experience you had. Do you even remember it? If you do, was it positive or negative or just plain bland. Yes, I’ll challenge anyone, that we seek to please through bland and “sameness” of service, rather than seeking to be different.
if you are in the product, produce, or service business, this applies to you. Hang on one minute, I would even go so far as to say, tell me a job that does not involve Customer Experience Design. I find it hard to think of one. But please feel lt to suggest some.
So, what is Customer Experience Design?
Customer Experience Design or CED, is the explicit processes, tools, technology, people and approach you use, to place your customers at the heart of your business, to deliver the experience YOU want to deliver to YOUR customers, that delivers value to your customers, employees and if successful, shareholders.
I stress the words YOU and YOUR as this is a reflection of your organization's feelings, emotional connection to and way you want to interact with your customers. It is all about you.
you can not and must not seek to emulate, copy or fudge your customer experience design principles. Annette Franz stated it really clearly by saying:
“.....are you more focused on what your competitors or other companies are doing than on your own business, customer and customer experience strategy? I feel like some companies are dumbing down their customers and the customer experience.“
I completely agree. Companies are not looking at they own capabilities and seeing where excellence in their own organisations is. Rather, they are recycling the same excellent examples where previous thought leading organisations have developed their own Customer Experience narrative. I doubt any of those companies deliberately set out to be the exemplar, rather they said:
“what do we need to do to be different; to stand out; to be the leaders in our field; to be the best we can possibly be; to be the company our customers never want to leave?”
Perhaps it is these types of questions you need to focus on instead?
Thanks again to Annette Franz for the post that inspired these thoughts.
I leave you with this quote….
“Companies that were paying attention understood they were witnessing the birth of the “self-directed consumer”, because the internet and all the other tools for the flat world had created a means for every consumer to customize exactly the price, experience, and service he or she wanted.” ― Thomas L. Friedman