The Principles of Service Design Thinking - Building Better Services
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Customer experience (CX) design is the process design teams follow to optimize customer experiences at all touchpoints before, during and after conversion. They leverage customer-centered strategies to delight customers at each step of the conversion journey and nurture strong customer-brand relationships.
Discover why CX is important and what good CX design involves.
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”
— Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple & user experience guru
A common misconception is that CX design is user experience (UX) design. While both are concerned with the overall experience of using a product or service, CX design refers to a further dimension. When an organization focuses on CX design, it usually wants to optimize the experience users have in interacting with it as a brand. This experience isa journey that includes many touchpoints, from initial awareness and research to conversion and retention. When your design team works in CX design, you must optimize those touchpoints so that customers perceive the brand more favorably and the brand distinguishes itself as customer-centered. That’s why organizations must focus on areas such as advertising campaigns, customer service and consistency and adopt a customer-centric viewpoint. A brand may have a superior product but still fail if it doesn’t reach users at their various stages of encountering it.
Customers develop their perceptions of products and services across many touchpoints and channels. Think of a brand you’ve engaged with. How many ways can you encounter it? How did you discover it? How do you feel about it? There are many factors behind how customers make contact with brands and perceive them over time. These vary from person to person. For instance, a brand that releases an app which helps people buy train tickets can reach many types of customers through various types of advertising. Some of these commuters, tourists and casual local users will buy their tickets in advance, others in a rush. What about their phones’ signal strength? How easily might they get confused in their context? With CX design, a brand reaches deep into customers’ minds across many situations. So, organizations influence CX, but can’t control it directly. That’s why brands need a strategyon how to engage customers to make them feel highly valued. To do that, you have to meet or exceed their needs consistently. You must acknowledge thatcustomers are informed individuals. In several clicks, they’ll do extensive research. You should anticipate their mindset/needs/desires in a variety of contexts. You should also appreciate:
What customers spend depends on their impression and experience of a brand. They can leave and seek a competitor at any touchpoint, and leave bad feedback.
Customers should feel in control of their own relationship with a brand. This is the all-important sense of agency where customers feel they’re part of a conversation with a brand—i.e., that the brand speaks to them, cares about what they care about and has tailored solutions just for them. Here, you should understand a major pitfall to avoid: Regardless of the transaction-based reality of the brand-customer relationship, if customers feel your brand is just selling them something, they will lose not only that sense of agency but also trust.
The right level of intimacy in the customer experience depends on the brand/industry. Customers seek solutions to various human problems – what’s appropriate in some contexts (e.g., personalized marketing) isn’t in others. When you consider how your brand fits in customers’ day-to-day lives, decide where they might perceive involvement as interference.
CX design is measurable (e.g., via satisfaction reports) but also subjective. Customers’ situations will vary as widely as their idiosyncrasies, and that means a potentially enormous range of opinions about how well they perceive your brand seems to care about them—and how your brand’s values match what they care about as consumers. Customer journey maps can help you examine customer touchpoints, understand a brand’s CX and expose gaps. The dynamics between customers and brands vary according to the type of organization, product, etc. and length of journey involved. They can be intricate.
When you do CX design well, your organization can build or maintain a strong brand presence because customers feel involved, enabled and (above all) valued. So, always look on customers as discriminating individuals who demand exceptional experiences, not groups of loyal consumers on the other end of a transaction.
The Interaction Design Foundation offers courses examining what goes into delivering brand promises consistently and impressively to customers: User Research – Methods and Best Practices and Emotional Design — How to Make Products People Will Love.
UX Magazine discusses the growing relevance of CX design.
This insightful blog addresses CX design’s far-reaching scope (including tips).
Here’s the entire UX literature on Customer Experience Design by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:
Take a deep dive into Customer Experience Design with our course User Experience: The Beginner’s Guide .
If you’ve heard the term user experience design and been overwhelmed by all the jargon, then you’re not alone. In fact, most practicing UX designers struggle to explain what they do!
“[User experience] is used by people to say, ‘I’m a user experience designer, I design websites,’ or ‘I design apps.’ […] and they think the experience is that simple device, the website, or the app, or who knows what. No! It’s everything — it’s the way you experience the world, it’s the way you experience your life, it’s the way you experience the service. Or, yeah, an app or a computer system. But it’s a system that’s everything.”
— Don Norman, pioneer and inventor of the term “user experience,” in an interview with NNGroup
As indicated by Don Norman, User Experience is an umbrella term that covers several areas. When you work with user experience, it’s crucial to understand what those areas are so that you know how best to apply the tools available to you.
In this course, you will gain an introduction to the breadth of UX design and understand why it matters. You’ll also learn the roles and responsibilities of a UX designer, how to confidently talk about UX and practical methods that you can apply to your work immediately.
You will learn to identify the overlaps and differences between different fields and adapt your existing skills to UX design. Once you understand the lay of the land, you’ll be able to chart your journey into a career in UX design. You’ll hear from practicing UX designers from within the IxDF community — people who come from diverse backgrounds, have taught themselves design, learned on the job, and are enjoying successful careers.
If you are new to the Interaction Design Foundation, this course is a great place to start because it brings together materials from many of our other courses. This provides you with both an excellent introduction to user experience and a preview of the courses we have to offer to help you develop your future career. After each lesson, we will introduce you to the courses you can take if a specific topic has caught your attention. That way, you’ll find it easy to continue your learning journey.
In the first lesson, you’ll learn what user experience design is and what a UX designer does. You’ll also learn about the importance of portfolios and what hiring managers look for in them.
In the second lesson, you’ll learn how to think like a UX designer. This lesson also introduces you to the very first exercise for you to dip your toes into the cool waters of user experience.
In the third and the fourth lessons, you’ll learn about the most common UX design tools and methods. You’ll also practice each of the methods through tailor-made exercises that walk you through the different stages of the design process.
In the final lesson, you’ll step outside the classroom and into the real world. You’ll understand the role of a UX designer within an organization and what it takes to overcome common challenges at the workplace. You’ll also learn how to leverage your existing skills to successfully transition to and thrive in a new career in UX.
You’ll be taught by some of the world’s leading experts. The experts we’ve handpicked for you are:
Alan Dix, Director of the Computational Foundry at Swansea University, author of Statistics for HCI: Making Sense of Quantitative Data
Ann Blandford, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at University College London
Frank Spillers, Service Designer, Founder and CEO of Experience Dynamics
Laura Klein, Product Management Expert, Principal at Users Know, Author of Build Better Products and UX for Lean Startups
Michal Malewicz, Designer and Creative Director / CEO of Hype4 Mobile
Mike Rohde, Experience and Interface Designer, Author of The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking
Szymon Adamiak, Software Engineer and Co-founder of Hype4 Mobile
William Hudson, User Experience Strategist and Founder of Syntagm
Throughout the course, we’ll supply you with lots of templates and step-by-step guides so you can start applying what you learn in your everyday practice.
You’ll find a series of exercises that will help you get hands-on experience with the methods you learn. Whether you’re a newcomer to design considering a career switch, an experienced practitioner looking to brush up on the basics, or work closely with designers and are curious to know what your colleagues are up to, you will benefit from the learning materials and practical exercises in this course.
You can also learn with your fellow course-takers and use the discussion forums to get feedback and inspire other people who are learning alongside you. You and your fellow course-takers have a huge knowledge and experience base between you, so we think you should take advantage of it whenever possible.
You earn a verifiable and industry-trusted Course Certificate once you’ve completed the course. You can highlight it on your resume, LinkedIn profile or website.
We believe in Open Access and the democratization of knowledge. Unfortunately, world class educational materials such as this page are normally hidden behind paywalls or in expensive textbooks.