Four Indicators: Is Your Customer Experience An Afterthought?

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It’s 2022, but there are still an alarming number of companies that focus on everything but customer experience (CX). Whether unaware of — or actively opposed to — user-centric solutions, it’s most likely that decision-makers believe the myths about design. What are the systemic issues behind this lack of focus, you ask? I believe we could point to numerous factors, including the devaluation of research, poor synthesis skills, a nonexistent design process, and a failure to measure success.

  • Research is undervalued, resulting in problematic, ideas-first approaches that largely ignore what customers say or expect. If your products repeatedly miss the mark or cause company social media to blow up with negative responses, at least there are indicators that things are going wrong. Many companies ignore the signs, however, or don’t experience volcanic market responses that scream “course correction.” As a result, these companies suffer a sort of “slow death” and think nothing is wrong. Antiquated, sometimes ego-driven approaches to designing products ignore user-centricity. Decision-makers fail when treating designers and other CX professionals like afterthoughts, button-makers, or annoyances who work at their behest. Instead, decision-makers should elevate their collaboration skills and better understand the customer-centricity at the center of CX/user experience disciplines.
  • Synthesis skills are underdeveloped, severely impacting the data companies collect. Every company should employ research practices at every point in the design framework. This is true regardless of industry. Mixed methods that represent qualitative and quantitative research practices executed in a balanced approach are the best way to test and learn. Synthesizing this data as diverse, multidisciplinary teams allows us to design great experiences. Teams can’t synthesize what they don’t collect. With the availability of remote user testing platforms, the barriers to collecting data are fading rapidly.
  • Design frameworks are not leveraged and impact team and company strategy. If you’re making decisions about what users experience, you’re designing. Thinking design frameworks are just for design is a dangerous assumption. Design frameworks facilitate the creation of a shared language that puts the user at the center of ideas and solutions. If we operate within our area of expertise with no intention of learning to speak a shared language, our lack of alignment will show in our customers’ experience.
  • Measurement is never a topic beyond metrics that feed bonuses. Measurement helps us plan, iterate, and judge success in both the short and long term. Mixed methods are the tools for measurement, but methods can only be used if we are clear about what we want to learn. Journey measurement frameworks can help you get organized and aligned around the data you want to collect, as well as decide on the methods you should employ.

Remember, customers want delightful experiences, not a place in your operational process. Without well-synthesized, mixed-method data, you won’t be able to define or design for delight.

The original article by AJ Joplin, Forrester's senior analyst, is here.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends. Image credit: iStockphoto/Rawpixel