At its core, design is about value creation. In the world of Customer Experience, value-driven design requires CX professionals to use empathy to imagine a future customer experience that is easy, fast, and seamless.
The specific CX design can be building a new lobby, changing an existing customer-facing process that takes too long, or simplifying an internal procedure that prevents employees from solving customers’ problems quickly. Due to its importance, CX design is also one of the six disciplines that the CCXP Exam covers. Every CX professional must feel accountable and responsible for CX design. It is our job to design customer-centric experiences and to prove the ROI of that design.
All of this can feel overwhelming. How can one person solve all of these structural problems in a creative way? Where do you even begin?
What do you want the customer to do?
Begin with the process. Look at the current process, envision the future process, and identify the gaps. In the case of the JetBlue lobby, before we even began building T5, we met with industrial engineers to go over the mechanics of the space. Our objective: “We want movement. No queues.” Airports and airlines share that goal. But it is too generic a statement to foster an immediate design solution.
Answer the following questions at this first phase of the CX design process: “Why is there no movement today? Why are people waiting on line?”
Next, use the 5 whys technique to really understand what to address in your design (in the case of the lobby, we looked at what we needed to do to create movement). In order to create the customer-centric design to meet the “create movement” goal, we needed to address a number of existing issues. There were long lines at the “Bag Drop” position. And, often, the Express Bag Drop line was even longer than the Full Service line that offered more services. All of this left customers and crewmembers feeling frustrated.
Design Solves Problems by Meeting Needs
The original plan to address the bad customer experience was to introduce self-tagging kiosks in the lobby. The thought was, if customers could print their own bag tags, the lines would disappear. At first look, this sounded logical.
But then, we all remembered the great book “The Goal” . The Goal teaches to look for the bottleneck of any operation and to chase it all the way down/out of the system. Instead of building the business case only for kiosks, I kept thinking about the end-to-end journey of the customer. Not surprisingly, when we asked our 5 Whys, we quickly found the root cause that we needed to solve with the future CX design.
Kiosks were not enough. We had to go farther.
We never truly had Bag Drop positions. Functionally, there was nothing different between the Bag Drop position and the Full Service position. Customers would go to the fast lane and clog it with questions or needs that required crewmembers to act as a full service desk, holding the line for up to 15 minutes per customer.
As a CX Designer, we solved that by stripping the full service functionality from the Bag Drop position. We removed the computers to signal to customers that those positions have limited abilities to assist. As it turned out, this was not enough. Customers still expected to get the “Full Service” experience at Bag Drop.
Use Design to Change Behavior
We responded by removing the physical barrier between the customer and the crewmemeber – the podiums. The result was a completely different environment for crewmembers to operate in. We not only disabled them from ever functioning again as full service desks, we also SHOWED the customers that these are different positions. In so doing, we made customers behave differently through design.
Featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, the new design empowered them to deliver a personal, helpful and simple experience by removing the physical barrier between the crewmembers and the customers. In the end, this created an open environment that ignites conversations.
Creative thinking, process mindset and empathy are the key ingredients to building CX journeys that differentiate your business and make your customers come back for more. People do exactly what you design them to do. The good news is, as the customer experience designer, you are in charge. There is no such thing as overthinking design. Keep imagining all the things that can go wrong and then amend your design accordingly. Enjoy the art of CX design!
Featured Image Courtesy of Cosmopolitan Magazine
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