What Is Customer Experience Design?
Want to engage your customers and build loyalty? Discover how to leverage customer experience design to surprise and delight your customers today.
With ample data and a complete understanding of your customers, you can do more than deliver stellar products and services. You can provide your target audience members with top-tier, holistic, emotionally resonating customer experiences from start to finish. Thanks to a high-quality customer experience design, your brand’s customers will be more loyal and more satisfied than ever.
You can only reach that level with excellent customer experience design in today’s business ecosystem. Today, let’s break down what customer experience design is, how it works, and how you can practice it for your upcoming CX goals.
Customer Experience Design Explained
Put simply, customer experience design (also called CX design) is the practice of adapting and positively shaping each individual interaction a customer has with your brand.
Customer interactions include but are not limited to:
- When a customer becomes aware of your brand for the first time, like when they see an advertisement or walk into your store
- When a customer considers making a purchase
- When a customer reads a product description
- When a customer puts a product into a shopping cart
- When a customer makes a purchase
- When a customer asks your customer support personnel a question
- When a customer makes a return
- And more
All of these elements combine to create something called the “customer journey.” In essence, it’s the step-by-step process through which a customer interacts with your brand from beginning to end.
Your customers’ journeys are critical. If they have positive, emotionally resonating journeys, they will be more likely to develop loyalty to your brand, plus shop there much more often. All of that is highly beneficial for your business, particularly in this competitive business environment.
Therefore, it’s in your best interest to focus on CX design. Good CX design means making every step of a customer’s journey smooth, streamlined, intuitive, and enjoyable. That can involve a lot of different types of work, plus focusing on different elements of your brand’s CX.
The CX design process involves optimizing journeys for customer engagement, proper customer feedback, and accessible customer support. A positive brand experience should optimize for customer satisfaction in as many areas as possible.
How Does Customer Experience Design Work?
In general, customer experience design first takes a long, hard look at your CX journey. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer and ask yourself: would you enjoy shopping at your business? Would you enjoy watching your advertisements, browsing your store, making a purchase, etc.?
As you ask yourself these questions, you’ll be better equipped to come up with ideas to make the experience even better. Customer experience design also works by asking customers directly what they would improve or what they need to change in order to get them to shop at your business.
In a broad sense, CX design involves:
- Making it easier for customers to shop at your brand, whether that’s through redoing your product pages, revamping your checkout process, or something else entirely.
- Making it more fun to interact with your brand by implementing a customer loyalty program, games, and other marketing tactics and by looking at customer touchpoints.
- Making your marketing more compelling and engaging to your customers on an emotional level, which can involve creating new omnichannel advertisements, launching a social media campaign, etc. Customer-centric marketing is a key part of any CX strategy.
- Ensuring that your customer experience team does a great job of answering customer questions and handling customer issues ASAP.
Bottom line: with CX design, your goal should be to make things easier and more enjoyable for your customers. Your design team should look into using world-class digital experiences and other tools to provide a better customer experience everywhere it can.
Is CX the Same as UX?
CX design is closely related to UX design. But there is a big difference between them.
UX or user experience emphasizes a customer’s interaction with one product or service. For example, you might have a tech company and develop a variety of applications for your clients. As you develop one of those apps, you focus on UX, as you want to know whether a potential customer will have a good time using that app from start to finish.
CX is distinguished from UX because it focuses on comprehensive, holistic customer interactions with your brand as a whole, not just how a customer interacts with one product.
For instance, UX might focus on whether a customer enjoys using a given app. CX looks at whether that same customer will enjoy interacting with your brand in the first place, so it tracks a broader range of customer feelings.
UX design focuses much more on navigability and usability metrics, as well as whether or not a given product or service solves customer pain points.
CX design is a little more robust and comprehensive. There’s more effort put toward how your brand feels, the message that it gives to customers, and whether your customers experience any roadblocks or hurdles in their journey from discovery to purchasing.
How To Improve Customer Experience Design
Given the importance of customer experience design, it’s a good idea to know how to improve it right away. Fortunately, there are five major steps and methodologies you can employ starting today to improve your CX design.
1. Learn from Your Customers
First and foremost, be prepared to learn extensively from your customers. In fact, your customers are those best equipped to tell you exactly how you can improve and iterate on your customer experience design.
Why? Those customers, after all, are the ones who will experience the customer journeys you plan and layout for them. Therefore, you should gather as much information from your customers as possible. Ask them questions through surveys, pay attention to where they spend time on your website or in your business, and analyze their behavior as in-depth as you can.
For instance, if your customer sends in a complaint saying that the checkout process takes too long, believe them! You can use that information in your CX design philosophies, such as by streamlining the checkout process or removing the number of information fields that a customer needs to fill out before they can make a purchase.
2. Gather More Data
Next, gather as much data as you can, preferably by analyzing your website or retail store activities and by using CRM or customer relationship management software.
Gathering tons of data is key because it tells you:
- Where your customers spend their time
- What products and services are most popular
- What are the pain points your customers’ experience
- And so on
Say that you analyze your web traffic and the amount of time that people spend on particular web pages. After a careful analysis, you gather enough data to prove conclusively that certain products are more popular in part because of page layout and design.
Some pages, put simply, don’t have good CX design integrated. They’re clunky, slow loading, and difficult to navigate through. All of this results in slower purchases for those products, even though the products themselves are high-quality. Armed with this information, you can then take steps to improve those product pages ASAP.
Alternatively, imagine that you gather tons of data and discover that your churn rate is high, despite your marketing bringing in tons of new customers every week. Churn rate can be defined as the percentage of customers who opt not to continue doing business with you. This information tells you that your CX design needs to take into account long-term customer retention, not just short-term customer purchases.
All in all, information is power, especially when it comes to good CX design. Keep that in mind as you gather data points on your target audience members!
3. Create Customer Personas
Customer personas — sometimes called audience avatars or customer avatars — are averaged, generalized ideas of your target audience members. You should already know who your target audience members are in terms of their base demographic attributes, like sex, age, average salary, general interests, etc.
You can go even further with this to further target your marketing and ensure that your CX design incorporates those customers’ desires by default.
Say that you run a business and your primary audience group is Millennial shoppers aged between 25 and 45. Those Millennials love to shop at eco-friendly brands, and they don’t enjoy websites or online stores that have big, bombastic layouts of aesthetics.
To sell your eco-friendly products to this target demographic, you might engage in CX design strategies like:
- Revamping your website’s layout so that it’s more minimalist and easier to navigate through.
- Putting copy or claims as to your eco-friendliness at the forefront or on your landing page to communicate this to your audience quickly.
- Highlighting the fact that while you offer free shipping, you work to minimize your carbon footprint in a variety of ways.
All of this impacts the customer experience, as these steps are elements or touch points through which your customers will interact with your brand. The more comfortable you can make your audience members, the better.
To summarize, making customer personas will help you better understand your customers and what exactly they want. Then you can simply take whatever steps you need in order to make your CX as good for them as possible.
4. Make Customer Journey Maps
It may also be a wise idea to make and iterate on customer journey maps.
Customer journey maps are layouts or series of steps where you outline each point in which a prospective customer will interact with your brand. These “touchpoints” include things like viewing an advertisement, visiting your site, adding a product to a shopping cart, etc.
When you map out a customer’s journey, putting yourself in their shoes will give you a better perspective of what the customer will experience when they interact with your brand for the first time and how they’ll interact with you later.
This can be invaluable as you try to anticipate what they need and anticipate hurdles or pain points they may encounter in their shopping experiences.
Make as many customer journey maps as you can. In fact, you should make a customer journey map for every hypothetical sequence of steps a customer might make, such as:
- A customer coming to your brand from a PPC ad
- A customer coming to your brand from a referral
- A customer making a purchase via a social media ad
- And so on
5. Focus on Usability and Authenticity
Lastly, and above all else, try to focus on usability and authenticity in your CX design elements.
These days, modern shoppers want to know that brands understand them in real-world, “true” ways. To that end, make sure that your customers can interact with your brand and make purchases quickly, easily, and with a minimum of effort.
Stay away from corporate lingo or speech that highlights your business focuses. Instead, try to highlight what makes your brand the best choice for your target audience members in terms of what you share or your similar interests.
Team Up With Awesome CX Today
Customer experience design means looking at every step of a customer journey, then taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure that experience is personalized, satisfying, and authentic from start to finish. Stellar customer experience design will lead to major brand benefits, ranging from boosted loyalty to increased revenue and more.
Good news — you don’t have to attempt new customer experience design methods by yourself. Awesome CX can help right from the start. Our knowledgeable staff members can provide many different services, including back-end support and customer call center services.
Send us a note today to see how we can revamp and reinvigorate your brand’s CX.
Customer Experience | Tech Target
Understanding Customer Experience | Harvard Business Review