Designing Great Customer Experiences Using Design Thinking
By Cyprian Wong, Head of User Experience and Design, UBS Wealth Management
Globally, businesses are adopting design thinking as a way to create more innovative and customer focused products and services. Research shows that design led organisations have out performed S&P counter parts by more than 200 percent over the last 10 years. It is clearly the right direction to take.
It’s worth while to note that design thinking isn’t limited to digital products or solutions. In a way, every thing that we engage with and experience has been designed by some one. In the same way an experience or service can be poorly designed, a good customer experience can be designed.
Customer experience is the end-to-end journey with the business, not just the key touch points or critical moments when customers interact with the business. It comprises of the tangible and the intangible, and is often cumulative and influenced by the customer’s environment and circumstances.
Customer experience extends beyond apps, websites or digital. It’s the whole package and can at times include some thing completely unrelated. Design thinking, with its focus on the customer and innovative solutions, can play a key role in designing good customer experiences.
A leading technology company is renowned for their beautiful and innovative products. This company goes to great lengths to provide the best experience to customers. For example, it invests hundreds of man hours in packaging, as they want customers to feel a certain emotion when opening their products. They have taken the mundane (packaging) and transformed it into an experience (unboxing). A premium car manufacturer invested hundreds of engineering hours to find the perfect sound for a closing car door, so customers feel safe and protected inside the car. They have taken the act of closing the car door and transformed it into an experience. Design thinking helps these businesses, and many more, create some thing amazing from some thing ordinary, contributing to the experience.
With design thinking, businesses can create products, services and experiences that go beyond the superficial “look and feel” to products that work and that meet customers’ needs. These products will prove their value with every use and will have an emotional connection with customers. This is ultimately what customer experience is and has a measurable impact on customer satisfaction, retention and brand value.
However, embedding design thinking into any business needs to be done properly to have the desired impact. There must also be a level of design thinking mastery across the various levels within the departments. Businesses with a mature understanding of design thinking across levels and business units can turn any business challenge into a design challenge, and tackling it in a collaborative and innovative way.
It takes time for any design thinking initiative to show results. It also requires significant investment in time, training and talent. It is a gradual transformation process and isn’t without pain. However, there will be clear returns on the investment as design thinking gains traction and maturity in a business.