Are you co-designing your customer experience?
Customer experience (CX) has taken the world by storm, and rightly so. Customers have more choice, are more connected, more empowered and more conscious than ever, largely thanks to advances in consumer technology and the internet. Organisations have been scrambling to service customers and meet their ever evolving expectations. Many of us may have developed and adopted a CX mindset, but how are we ensuring we deliver on expectations?
One key trend we see time and again is a passing flirtation with design. Whether you explore a design thinking approach or go deeper by working behind the scenes through a service design or customer experience design framework, delivering great customer experiences with your new found design power means maintaining co-design. It always starts with all good intent - and there’s no doubt any exposure to a design mindset is better than none - but if your intent is to truly improve your customer experience it all comes back to designing with your customers - not for them - on an ongoing basis.
Any level of design practices embedded within an organisation will help you start with the customer, and the closer you can get to their lived experience the better. Researching customers and gathering evidence needs to be more than a linear process, it’s the establishment of iterations of co-design that informs not only the insights and opportunities, but sticks with the customers to ensure solutions are co-created.
Many successful companies today won’t commit resources without partnering with their communities. Stand out examples include Nike, who have demonstrated their co-design credentials and success time and time again, and IKEA who continually co-create with their community.
We understand the reality that it isn’t always easy or even possible for organisations to engage customers as partners in developing new products, services and experiences. It requires time, resources, permission and most of all aligned intent. But there’s little excuse anymore for analysing data at a distance, developing insights in isolation and investing in changes before validating their impact. Organisations that don’t engage customers at best risk falling short of their expectations, and at worst risk their reputation and revenue streams. You can’t fly blind.
So how do you create great customer experiences? As the goal of most organisations today, it doesn’t need to be a hollow declaration, so by:
- embedding a mature design framework across operational functions of an organisation;
- developing design practitioner and leader capabilities throughout, and;
- organising and orienting production resources to include customer validation at every step
you’ll invariably get closer to not only your customers' experience expectations and intent, but their custom itself. They can always be served elsewhere.
So in summary, we recommend baking in co-design to develop your customer experience. Embrace the ambiguity and idiosyncrasies of your customers, and find yourself the right level of design support both externally and internally. After all, the customer is king - right?
If you’d like to know about how we are approaching co-design, take a look at how we redesigned the Fortitude Valley housing service centre by engaging a variety of stakeholders to create a welcoming and safe environment.