Customer Experience Design
What is Customer Experience Design?
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.
“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
CX Design is about Building Strong Bridges between Customers and Brands
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 is a 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.
Make sure your CX Design revolves around the Customers
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 strategy on 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 that customers 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.
Learn More about Customer Experience Design
The Interaction Design Foundation offers courses examining what goes into delivering brand promises consistently and impressively to customers: https://www.interaction-design.org/courses/user-research-methods-and-best-practices and https://www.interaction-design.org/courses/emotional-design-how-to-make-products-people-will-love
UX Magazine discusses the growing relevance of CX design: https://uxmag.com/articles/customer-experience-is-the-future-of-design
This insightful blog addresses CX design’s far-reaching scope (including tips): https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-experience-design