This article is part of a series on the theme of customer experience. See the first article, "Integrating CX into your organisation, part 1: Willingness to learn and change".
Round peg and square hole don’t work
Think about this—you have a project with multiple stakeholders across multiple time zones and a launch date that is highly aggressive. It should be evident you need an experienced, skillful project manager to get your project across the line.
Now what if I suggest that you don't actually need a project manager, and in fact you could divide the skill requirements up among other team members—your producer, your designers, your engineers, etc. The chances are you’d think I was naïve or crazy. If you’ve tried to do this within your organisation you know what the result is—either the project will fail or if you do get it done—corners will be cut and the quality won’t be what it should be. CX design is no different.
CX needs a home
A smartphone app company once hired me as a consultant to design the UX of a new game they were producing. When assessing the company they seemed very keen on customer-centric design, and had allocated budget and headcount for a CX designer. The CEO was adamant about bringing me in to integrate CX design their development process. The project seemed interesting so I agree to work with them.
After a few days I learned of one major challenge—there was just no space for CX in this particular organisation. The roles a CX designer typically fills were either being attempted by other team members or they weren’t being done at all. Yet when I attempted to bridge this gap it was clear they weren’t willing to change. They believed in the importance of CX, but weren’t willing to let go of the wheel. They wanted someone to visit for a few hours—not move in with them. The end result: after multiple attempts to change the culture without success I moved on. I was a CX consultant without a home.
Think of incorporating CX design into your organisation like having a new person start to live with you. They’re not a temporary house guest. They’re a new part of your life, and in order to have a fruitful relationship with them you need to understand each other’s perspectives, and work together towards the best possible outcome. This means exploring new approaches and ways of thinking you may not be comfortable with. Using the living room as a starting point, work together to create an environment that both of you can use. Through the process you will learn about each other and may come up with a revised version that is better than before.
Without proper thought put into how to integrate CX design into your company things will not work. I advise you to work together with your team and welcome CX to be a part of all your processes. Learn from each other, take the best of what CX design has to offer and make it yours.
To help with this it’s important to understand that CX design is not just UI design. It is an experience-, test-result- and data-driven, process-based way of thinking that can be used to make your products better. It includes research & analysis, documentation, prototyping, testing & reporting. It is the embodiment of understanding customers’ wants and business needs, and the best hope of bridging the gap between the two.
Jeremy Thomson is UX Director at Geometry Global Japan.