Blog Insight

Your Thinking Is Too Small

I got a glimpse of a growing trend over five years ago. I was in the middle of a GLG collaborative workshop with a group of key client stakeholders, trying to design a user experience flow associated with a complex e-commerce pathway. The more we focused on tactical and granular requirements for supporting a stellar user experience, the more questions were raised about the required back end and business process capabilities.

Our workshop quickly morphed from a user experience design session into a broader customer experience strategy session. We focused on answering three questions surrounding the fundamental tenets of the design thinking movement:

- What are the ultimate business goals that drive the organization?
- What adjustments need to be made to the technology platforms?
- What sort of change management is needed to support the customer experience?

Focusing on Business Value

Our conversations evolved into a free-flowing discussion of the best way to balance business goals, customer needs, and technology requirements. This allowed us to move beyond user interface design, creative expression, and messaging, and include essential conversations about customer analytics, internal staff workflows, and technology platform fit/gap analyses.

Most clients limit questions to finite campaigns or projects. But a great partner agency should work with and, on occasion, challenge clients to identify ways to maximize business value by nurturing long-term customer relationships. The nature of this inquiry must help clients crystallize their objectives, understand what counts as success, and shine a light on the necessary changes that must occur within their organization.

Experience Design and Service Design

One compelling model that has emerged in recent years relies on the distinction (and interrelationships) between an experience design layer and a service design layer. When working with an organization to specify its experience design layer, we engage in research and insights focusing on brand strategy, target audiences, the competitive space, the industry category, etc. Our aim is to propose customer-facing experiences that match customers' needs and compel them to convert. As this layer is specified, it will raise questions that need to be answered within the service design layer of an organization. This requires us to partner with our clients to explore, evaluate, and recommend adjustments to organizational factors that will drive their success. Some examples of questions associated with service design inquiries include:

- What technology is in place to fuel the customer experience? What changes need to occur?
- What current skill sets and workflows are in place to support the customer experience? What training or adjustments need to occur?
- Are there data analytics systems and practices in place to generate those metrics needed to track key performance indicators (KPIs)?
- How do we best partner with you to drive the necessary organizational change within your culture?

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

Designing the ideal customer experience requires strategic planning that moves beyond granular or short-term initiatives and considers the longer-term value generated by experience and service design choices. The ultimate goal is to increase the lifetime value (LTV) of your customer base by providing both compelling reasons for your customers to engage with you over time and a rational organizational structure designed to support this customer journey.

Or to quote from Gartner, one of our strategic and research partners: “CX and LTV are like PB and J."