If you want to build a business that lasts, the most important element of your business that you need to invest in is your customer service. Providing excellent customer experience is necessary if you want to establish a brand that is worth a customer’s trust.
The way you treat your customer the moment they come through your door can help you gain a new loyal customer, or lose one. So if you want to build a customer experience that is worth five stars, you should consider integrating “design thinking” into your process.
What is Design Thinking?
Design thinking is a problem solving procedure that is geared towards improving a product or service for the benefit of the consumer. When it comes to enhancing customer experience, design thinking can be used to help you and your team gain a better understanding of your customers, challenge assumptions, analyze problems and come up with innovative solutions that you can run and test to get the best outcome possible.
5 Stages of Design Thinking
Through design thinking, you can elevate the overall experience that you can provide to your customers: from the acquisition phase, through retention and sale, and up until the loyalty phase. To help you implement design thinking in assessing and improving your customer experience, you should first understand the five stages of design thinking.
Stage 1. Empathize
To have a clear understanding of what problem you need to solve, you must first gain useful insights on who your customers are and what they actually need. Empathy plays a crucial role in this stage as you will need to see yourself as the customer and have a better sense of what can help based on the actual situation a customer is in.
To do this, you can conduct customer surveys to learn more about what they are looking for. It will also be helpful if you immerse yourself into the same environment and gain a more personal understanding of what your customers are experiencing. Additionally, you can also consult experts in the industry to gain a high level perspective of the problem.
Stage 2. Define
Once you have acquired some actionable insights on what the problem is, you can proceed to defining a problem statement based on the actual data you have gathered. During this stage, you use all the information you have acquired to define the problem you want to solve. This will allow you to build a concept where all of your efforts throughout the next phases will be based on.
When defining the problem, it’s a good practice to define it in a human-centered manner. The data you have gathered can say “40% of customers have difficulty getting through phone customer support”.
To make it human-centered, you define your problem differently so that the focus is on what is needed to solve the problem: “Customers need quick and easy access to customer support channels to help resolve their problem.”
Stage 3. Ideate
Once you have clearly defined the problem that needs solving, you and your team are ready to proceed to ideation. This is the part where you come up with ideas on how you can solve the problem. Ideation can be approached in many ways, depending on what technique you and your team are more comfortable with. You can try:
No matter what technique you decide to choose, see to it that you make the most of the opportunity to challenge assumptions and list out all the possible solutions that you can test in order to derive the best solution to the problem you have defined.
Stage 4. Prototype
Once you have a collection of ideas, it’s time for you and your team to identify which of these ideas are worth implementing. During the prototype stage, you will need to come up with a scaled down approach to test out your solution. The aim here is to investigate how your prototype solution, once turned into a product or feature, can solve the customer problem you have defined. In this experimental phase, the goal is to test all the products to narrow down which ones are worth improving, testing out further and then eventually running full scale.
By the end of this test, your team will have a better idea of the limitations and problems each product may have. This stage will also give you a clearer understanding of how real customers would behave upon interacting with it.
Stage 5. Test
Once you have identified which solutions are worth testing further, this is the time when you give it a dry run. During the testing stage, you will learn what works and what doesn’t. By gaining insights on how your solution performs, you can come up with ways on how to improve your prototype and iterate until you come up with the best product, service or feature that will provide you customers with a great experience.
5 Ways Design Thinking Can Help Improve Customer Experience
Now that you understand how design thinking works, you can move forward with implementing it in your own business. Want to know how design thinking can elevate your customers’ experience? Here’s how.
1. Create Valuable Interactions
Customers never forget valuable interactions. If it’s anything that’s genuine, helpful and useful, they will always remember it and view it as a great customer experience. Additionally, customers will also rave about great interactions, which can also benefit your business more. If you provide them with a noteworthy customer experience, they’d be more than willing to share it with their circle and promote your brand further. Word of mouth is always a great way to gain free marketing!
2. Understand the Customers’ Mindset
By empathizing with your customers, you get to come up with solutions that solve the actual problem. Instead of designing a product or service based on what skills and capacity your business has, you get to move the focus away from your business and lean towards what your customers actually need. This helps you come up with something that your customers will willingly pay for and promote.
3. Provide User-friendly Experience
Accessibility is a crucial factor when it comes to customer experience. It’s important that you give your customers the support that they need anytime they need it and in the easiest, most efficient manner possible. Making them jump through hoops to get through to your support channels will not help you get on their good side. If you want to build a customer-centered brand, see to it that you provide them with user-friendly experience all across their journey as your customers.
4. Drop Outdated Assumptions
Through design thinking, you can let go of any preconceived notions of how or what your customers’ journey should be like. By getting to the bottom of things, you gain actionable insights that allow you to transform your customer experience to something that is well suited to their needs. By having a clear understanding of your client’s motivations, you can come up with a more personalized approach to solving their problem.
5. See Problems From a Different Perspective
By looking at a problem from a different angle, you get to see something that you might have never yet seen from your previous perspective. By being open to different perspectives of a problem, you get to come up with a better understanding of what you need to solve. From there, you can design a solution that will actually give the results your customers are expecting to get.
Discover How Design Thinking Can Empower Your Brand
Design thinking can help boost your brand in more ways than one. If you want to give it a try but are not sure how to implement it more efficiently, contact us at TKKIE. We provide assistance in handling discovery workshops that will help you improve your operations and enhance the quality of your customer experience.