It was October 2022 when the CX Book of Knowledge by CXPA was released, giving us all a great opportunity to be inspired, learn, and re-learn from other CX professionals' best practices, tools, and methods into the five core CX competency areas.
In this blog post, I will give you a glimpse into one of the book’s sections as it highlights the importance of Experience Design and Innovation in CX and examines how and what we can do to bring value and profit to our business.
The role of Design and Innovation in CX
Customer Experience and Experience Design are interconnected since there is a need for empathizing, planning, and implementing strategic solutions in every aspect of CX management, including systems, procedures, protocols, products, and services. Experience Design is a human-centered methodology that is being used by brands to empathize with their customers, understand their needs, and address complex (wicked) problems by developing feasible, desirable, and viable solutions for them while working in cross-functional teams. The accelerating pace of changes makes it imperative for the brands to develop a design culture for employees that encourages failure as a natural learning step as part of innovation which means “to renew”, “to improve” or “replace” a domain, a product, or a service and create new value.
The role of Design and Innovation has been expanded in recent years, as we now consider that everyone in a company is responsible for its implementation by working collaboratively and cross-functionally in a design-friendly environment, contributing their ideas, and creating prototypes that fulfill the company’s vision. Design thinking is an approach, which brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren't trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges and create innovative customer experiences.
The strategy of Design and Design Thinking
Design Thinking is more than a toolkit or a methodology; it is a mindset. To create something meaningful we have to follow some ground rules that are similar to every other design system, such as having a clear purpose on why we develop specific solutions that follow consistently the brand language and identity, using the new components effectively across all the interactions and experiences, and documenting.
Hence, how can CX professionals use Design Thinking practically to overcome their complex challenges? The most important thing to remember is that Design Thinking is an iterative process based on two core creative problems solving concepts: divergent and convergent thinking. In divergent thinking exercises, individuals consider all of the possibilities and bring a variety of solutions to the table, and in convergent thinking, individuals consider and weigh alternatives in order to select the most suitable options that will become tangible prototypes. There are 5 steps with plenty of tools to help us navigate the problem-solving approach. We begin empathizing more with our end users, creating their persona, learning their fears, desires, and needs, and framing our challenge in a specific statement. In the ideation step that follows we use the team’s collective intelligence to brainstorm solutions; we avoid judgment and we welcome even the craziest ideas. After prioritizing the best solutions based on how feasible, viable, and desirable are for our end user we begin to prototype, choosing the best way (wireframes, storytelling, material prototypes, etc.). Here, is a crucial part that we shouldn’t miss, getting feedback from our customers. We either fix, add, or eliminate features from our prototypes and we start the process to produce the final product/service.
The Value of Adopting the Design Culture
Bringing and maintaining this mindset in day-to-day business is not an easy task. To enable the shift to Experience Design, Customer Experience Management helps the organization to learn, by building new skills and highlighting the impact of improved services and solutions.
Every CX professional should be able to recognize where their company stands in terms of Customer and Experience Design Maturity and identify the steps they have to take to differentiate from the competition, as Amazon, Zappos, Google, Marriott, Apple, Microsoft, and Nike did.
Summarizing, I suggest focusing on these critical indicators of success that are mentioned in this practical book section:
- Define, understand and communicate the value of Customer Experience Management and Design by getting the leadership’s buy-in, mapping every customer’s touchpoint with the brand, keeping everyone accountable, and staying agile.
- Apply tactical ways, considering strategy, structure, employee engagement, processes, and metrics, to immerse people in design and innovation, and create a culture of learning and curiosity.
- Understand and try to use any new tool and methodology that could lead you to a deep understanding of the customers and their challenges, such as Root Cause Analysis, Fishbone Analysis, Plan-do-check-act, Lean/Kaizen, and Six Sigma.
CXPA members can access the entire CXPA CX Book of Knowledge online. Digital and print versions of the book are also available at www.CXBookstore.com.
Thomina Voziki is a Learning Experience Designer at Krataion Consulting in Athens, Greece. She is also a member of the CXPA Diversity Advancement Committee and a 2022 CXPA Emerging Leader Award winner.