The relationship between your CX and your customer is linked, one informs the other, and feedback is an absolute necessity.

When working through your CX, the end result should be to leave your customer feeling that the interaction was nothing short of Effortless. Easy undemanding customer experience should be aspirational for a brand, the customer interaction with the brand should be easy, if it is, they will leave happy.

Auditing the Customer Experience with Guiding Principles

The design and delivery of CX can get complex, especially when dealing with larger service organizations, and products with many brand touchpoints. To manage our experience across all these touchpoints we want to employ a series of guiding principles that help us audit our brand’s customer experience, identify problems, remove bloat, and focus on efficiency as they’ll help us streamline and optimize our brand experience.

Our Customer Experience should be:

  • as simple as possible. Reduce steps, train, empower.
  • our agile customer experience and service design are the pillars of continuous improvement.
  • flows, activities, screens that fail to add value for the customer should be removed.
  • the customer is always first, and our process needs to reflect this, and their needs.
  • all flow and process variations should be removed unless tied to a concrete customer need.
  • the MoSCoW method (or similar) should be applied to all service elements.
  • we must map and follow the customer journey, augment it based on feedback.
    – process breaks are to be kept at a minimum.
    – bottlenecks should be mapped and solved for.
    – KPIs for processes only measure things that matter.

Keeping these in mind, we approach a CX transformation or new development in much the same way

How to define good customer experience and service design — step by step.

Vision — Work through your brand’s value proposition. Speak with internal stakeholders who will be driving the CX in your organization and look to understand their pain points. Listen to your customers, what matters to them and to whom, and from this extrapolate opportunities to improve CX within specific brand touchpoints. The voice of the customer is typically in-person interviews, surveys, social media feedback, forums, et al digital tools.

Mapping — Using your findings outline a strategy and map the ideal CX inside of a Visual Information Architecture (VIA) document. This will helps you define a portfolio of actions to deliver on the vision. Focus on functional alignment and work with cross-functional teams to build a road map from the VIA. Then utilize — Journey mapping — to create a flow that taps into the emotional state of the target user, identifying typical areas of anxiety, or discontent, then solving to alleviate those feelings with positive experiences.

Interactivity — Integrate the CX designs into the service (user) experience. If you’re running a professional services organization, run mock experiences to test your assumptions. If your business is a digital product, build tappable or clickable prototypes. At each iteration of your CX integration, test them, learn what works and where it needs improvement. Identify any additional areas of customer (user) stress, and add those into our journey map. Define your KPIs.

Test and learn — Utilizing feedback from test groups, or real-world clients update the CX, in professional services, delivery teams need to be informed of all changes. In digital products, this will also mean updating the UX along with the User Interface (UI). In delivering 100+ products, I find that 2-week agile sprints work well. At the end of each sprint, conduct litmus tests then provide recommendations for the subsequent sprint based on the results of these tests. Accepted elements should be moved into Engineering and QA.

ONLY IN DIGITAL PRODUCTS | Engineering should be planned around subsequent two-week sprints, beginning with a plan that identifies the tasks targeted for execution during that sprint. This prevents bottlenecks, ensures deliverables are well managed and allows us to make any adjustments should they present themselves. Quality assurance is done concurrently with engineering and tight feedback loops are used to address bugs on an as-they-appear basis. This winds up creating a 2-week update/release cycle that continuously improves the product and gives marketing something to share and keep you relevant.

Monitor / Augment — Customer Experience programs — to be effective — require hard metrics, constant monitoring, and constant improvement — primarily data-driven. Utilize a combination of customer feedback and stakeholder insight to get a sense of how your customer experience is performing, and implement tools like Net Promoter (NPS) to track performance. Be patient this is an incremental process.

Service design needs to obtain insight from the customer — this insight will helkp you funnel it back into the customer experience.

Buy-in and active management of the customer experience from internal stakeholders are instrumental in building a culture of customer-centric processes. A bottom-up approach can only be successful if it takes into account top-down activities as well, and gets the whole organization behind driving a successful customer experience culture. Executives should set customer experience goals, and those employees who interface with customers need to make the right choices when interfacing with the same customers, ensuring each customer interaction, no matter how difficult it seems, effortless for the customer.

Remember that CX is a continuous process. People remember experiences, not brands. Be sure to track and improve on your CX and ask questions. “How are customer priorities changing?”, “Where can we look to ease customer — product interaction?” , “Are we capitalizing on current technologies to drive better experiences to our customers?” Questions like these will help drive continuous improvement in your customer experience and services at the organization.

Please take this as only an intro on how to define good customer experience in Service Design. I’d appreciate any comments, insights, or feedback, from you and look forward to reading it, and of course please always feel free to reach out to us at Originate.com.