Using Design Thinking to Differentiate Your Customer Experience

Companies maintain relationship with its customers through interaction. The outcome of this interaction as part of maintaining the customer relationship over the course of time yields into customer experience.  Depending on how efficiently a company maintains the relationship with its customers, the outcome of the relationship could either be positive or negative.  There is no company on earth that expects a negative outcome out of its interaction with customers. Companies across the globe adopt various techniques and strategies in order to enrich the experience of its customers.

Why do companies need to maintain relationship with customer?  There are umpteen number of reasons for business to maintain relationship with customer.  Business grows by retaining the existing customer and reaching out to prospective customers.  In order to retain existing customers, business needs to maintain a good relation with its customers.  The fact that selling your product to existing customers is far easier than selling it to new customers gives more strong reason to maintain a good relation with existing customers.  Let’s get into some facts about the importance of business maintaining a good customer relationship with existing customers.

Existing customers promote business:  Existing customers already had an experience with the product.  They wouldn’t want to switch to the product from a different company unless they have a really strong reason such as great quality and or less price.  Hence, it is easier selling a product to them. Through word of mouth, they can also promote the business if they are kept happy.

New customers are costly to acquire:  It requires a lot of persuasion and money to get the buy in of new customers.  Even after getting their buy in, they may not be ready to spend as much as the existing customers are spending.

Strategy to effectively manage customer relationship:  Now that we understand the importance of maintaining customer relationship, let’s discuss how a business can maintain a good relationship with its customers and what benefits the company can expect by adopting customer relationship management strategy.  When we discuss about customer relationship management strategy, Design Thinking Strategy tops the list. By the sound of it, Design Thinking may appear as something related to designers and one would wonder how can a strategy related to designers be used in the effective management of customer relationship.  It is partially true that Design Thinking is something related to designers. However, it can be applied in varied fields to get desired results. So, let’s delve deeper into Design Thinking, its applicability in customer relationship management and also the benefits it can yield. A free help desk software also helps manage customer relationship effectively.

Design Thinking:  Design Thinking is a solution based approach.  The idea of Design Thinking took birth in the year 1950.  But its application and popularity has been increasing in the recent past.  Traditionally, product designers have been involved at the later stages of product development at which stage they were to ensure the product is fit functionally apart from the aesthetic appealing part.  However, business across the globe slowly realized the importance of including design as a productive asset in all the organizational policies and procedures. Business was able to gain competitive edge by adopting this strategy.  The process of Design Thinking has various stages that are part of it.

Stages of Design Thinking: Design Thinking gives high importance to customer and his expectations.  True to that, the first stage in Design Thinking is Empathize. In this phase, business needs to uncover the told and untold requirements of customer.  Business can adopt various techniques to achieve the objective of knowing the requirements. A question may arise when we say ‘untold requirements’. After all, we are business is developing a product to meet customer requirements.  Why would he leave some requirements untold? Intentionally, no customer would leave some requirements untold from business. However, some customers may have inhibitions or a may they the requirements do not come to their mind at the time of interaction.  Hence, business needs to conduct interviews and engage with customers to gain a thorough insight of customer’s requirements. Once, business has all the requirements listed then business would move to the define phase where the objective is to analyze the information gathered and come up with a core problem leading to building a problem statement.  Now that the requirements are gathered and the problem is known, it is time for business to think out of the box and come up with an idea. This stage of creating ideas is the Ideate phase. Finally, the identified problem has a solution and business can build a prototype of the solution. Once the prototype is built, business can test the prototype.

How relevant is Design Thinking approach in creating a differentiating customer experience?

The entire process of Design Thinking is customer centric and customer experience exists in each and every business.  There are multiple success stories across the globe wherein companies are able to create a differentiating customer experience and thereby gaining edge over their competitors.  Uber is a transportation network company based out of California. It addressed the main concerns of both the drivers and customers. Drivers were uncomfortable with taking risk of fare-dodgers who would use the service but do not pay after the ride.  Customers were worried about safety and the same time they were anxious about the arrival of taxi. Applying Design Thinking approach, it was able to address the above concerns and transform itself into a US $6.5 billion company.

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