In today's hyper-competitive business environment, delivering an outstanding customer experience (CX) is no longer optional—it's a necessity. Impactful experiences don’t just happen—excellent CX is designed.
Customer experience design is the process of creating and shaping interactions and experiences that customers have with a product, service, or brand. It's a crucial part of a company's CX strategy that starts with understanding customer needs, preferences, and expectations. It then uses that information to build a seamless, enjoyable, and meaningful experience that meets those needs.
However, not all organizations understand how to use CX design to boost customer interactions across the full omnichannel experience. In this article, we examine customer experience design and nail down six ways that companies can optimize touchpoints through CX design.
What is Customer Experience Design?
Customer experience design is the process of designing and optimizing the customer experience across all touchpoints and customer interactions. It involves understanding customer needs, trends, challenges, and expectations to design experiences that exceed customer expectations.
The best CX designs combine both inside-out and outside-in approaches. That means the CX specialist should be weaving the customer’s needs, wants, and values into design. It also means they need to line up the customer’s needs with the direction of the business, so that the design also helps promote the organization’s broader goals.
6 Ways Companies Can Optimize Touchpoints with CX Design
Here are six ways companies can optimize touchpoints and craft a future state experience that elevates CX:
1. Map Out the Customer Journey
Customer journey mapping is an early step that can inform CX design decisions. This step lays out the terrain for organizations so that business leaders know what moments and touchpoints to focus on. During customer journey mapping, CX specialists dive deep into each touchpoint and instance where the customer interacts with the brand—from initial awareness to post-purchase follow-ups—and lays out a visual breakdown of the customer’s experience.
As an example: In the telecommunications industry, the customer journey may begin with a customer researching different service providers online or visiting a retail store. The customer journey continues through the purchase process, installation, and customer support. These are important stops along the customer journey, and any moments of friction within any of these key moments can slow down and frustrate customers.
2. Conduct Thorough Research
Gathering customer feedback and listening to the voice of the customer (VoC) is an essential step in optimizing touchpoints with CX design. Customer feedback can reveal valuable insights into the customer’s needs, preferences, and expectations, as well as areas for improvement. Here are a few ways to gather feedback:
This customer data provides the raw materials to build current state mapping, future state plans, and the designs that materialize those visions.
3. Identify Pain Points
Once the customer journey is plotted out, CX designers need to identify pain points in the customer journey, such as long wait times, confusing instructions, or unclear messaging. To be effective, this needs to include a deep dive into all of the organization’s digital and in-person touchpoints.
Top-tier CX specialists dig up these pain points through customer interviews, one-on-one meetings with corporate leaders, and ideation workshops. The goal here is to crawl into the skin of the customer, identify the challenges they trip over throughout the buyers’ journey, and predict potential pain points that can be solved with better design.
4. Use Data and Analytics to See Opportunities
Data and analytics can help businesses see how customers interact with the brand—and they can shine light on areas for improvement. For instance, analytics can provide insights into which touchpoints are being used most, how long customers spend on each touchpoint, and where customers drop off in the customer journey. With that information in hand, CX specialists can identify moments of truth and high-impact opportunities to design experiences that land high ROI for the company.
5. Personalize the Experience
Another critical step towards crafting a captivating CX design is building personalized experiences. With personalization, CX specialists tailor the customer experience to each individual customer's needs and preferences. This tactic can help businesses build stronger relationships with customers and increase customer loyalty.
6. Iterate and Test
Customer trends, needs, and preferences are constantly shifting. That’s why effective CX design includes ongoing testing and consistent fine-tuning. It's important to regularly test touchpoints and gather feedback from customers to identify areas for improvement. A/B testing, NPS, and customer surveys are just a few examples of testing tools that organizations can use to refine and improve their CX designs.
How CX Design Fits into a CX Strategy
CX design is the glue that binds an organization’s entire CX strategy. While the CX strategy provides a blueprint, CX design paves the paths customers will travel along to reach the company’s future state goals.
To hit future state plans, CX designs should feed off of all of the customer viewpoints, needs, challenges, and opportunities that surfaced within current state research. The best designs will align those findings with both the organization’s north star vision and its broader CX strategy—and thus push the company’s goals forward.
Draw In Loyal Customers with Seamless CX Designs
By incorporating CX design into their CX strategy, businesses can deliver an outstanding customer experience and build strong relationships with customers. Folding CX strategy into designs can help businesses smooth out friction points, reduce customer churn, increase customer satisfaction, and build out a wider base of loyal supporters.
Ready to start elevating your company’s customer experiences? Andrew Reise Consulting’s team of CX specialists can help your business identify customer pain points, see opportunities, and design experiences that drive long-term growth. Request a consultation to get started.