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Academy Xi Blog

What’s so right (and wrong) about Customer Experience (CX)?

By Academy Xi

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How to Deliver a Great Customer Experience (CX)

At its heart, CX revolves around asking: “How do customers feel about my brand or product?” Digital creatives and businesses need to foster a culture that delivers unique value within their CX. This minimises any potential for a customer to leave their brand for a competitor.

One way to deliver exceptional CX is through a product’s user experience. According to the notable Behavioural Psychologist Daniel Kahneman, the ‘Peak-End’ rule suggests that people judge an experience by the most intense point and the endpoint of the interaction. This is because the human brain is hardwired to recall the highlight and the last point of any memory.

For example, when a customer walks into an Apple store, the peak of their experience may be the purchase of an item or the assistance they received from a staff member at the Genius Bar.

The ‘peak-end’ experience is amplified by the endpoint of their experience, which may also involve being greeted on their way out of the store.

Why CX Fails

Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to CX. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid when improving a client’s CX:

  • Failure to identify the goal of CX

CX is a marathon, not a sprint. Each experience isn’t the responsibility of singular marketing, product, or digital team, it requires a company-wide culture of continuous improvement.

Organisations must work collaboratively to identify the core goal of a CX strategy that is aligned across the business.

As Charbel Zeaiter, Co-Founder of Academy Xi says, “One of the most dangerous mistakes that any CX, UX, Service Designer – or any designer, in fact, can make – is being focused on only the customer.”

“The reality is that the role of a designer is to bridge user and business needs. No business = no user anyway! In fact, I don’t like the word “User” because it’s cold and disconnected from what our responsibility is: to design for all people.”

  • Failing to Measure the Effectiveness of CX

Whether it’s top management or an individual’s experience, failure to measure your customers’ interactions with your brand is equally dangerous as launching a product without conducting any research. To ensure your CX strategy is effective, you must be able to measure, and action the feedback you receive. 

Some methods to measure your company’s CX include:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Customer Effort Score
  • Customer Churn Rate
  • First Response and Average Handling Time
  • Slow adoption and change

For CX strategies to remain relevant and useful, they must be nimble to change. The importance of measuring your company’s CX effectiveness must coincide with the ability to make changes upon qualitative and quantitative customer feedback.

  • Capturing only part of the customer experience

Too often, companies fall into the trap of measuring only parts of the CX. Considering elements such as website functionality or after purchase support are fine, but failure to consider and understand the entire end-to-end customer experience risks oversimplifying your CX.

  • Poor User Experience Design

CX and User Experience (UX) Design work hand-in-hand to determine a customer’s ideal experience with your product or service.

At the end of last year, research indicated that up to 52 percent of people will not return to a non-mobile friendly website, especially if it was visited on their mobile device. The attention span of customers is getting shorter and a poorly designed website will discourage customers from engaging or re-engaging with your product.

Having Strong UX Delivers a Great CX

UX Design is the subset of a customer’s overall CX and involves understanding a user’s experience with a specific product — whether it’s a website, app, or software. By focusing on the feasibility, viability, and usability of a product, UX bridges the gap between aesthetically pleasing designs and the customers’ experience of those designs.

UX Design has become such a crucial part of CX because it focuses on delivering value based on the human psyche. UX explores more than just knowing what the user wants and expects, it uses empathy to accommodate customers’ emotions and needs.

Going beyond just the product’s features and executing customer suggestions, the goal of UX Design is to provide the best solution to the most number of users within the product’s target audience.

Utilising user research and data, a UX Designer creates personas of their audience to identify their goals, motivations, needs, and behaviours. These personas add a human touch to research and identify groups of users who engage with your product or service.

UX Design Principles ensure a user’s choice is seamless. 

Whether it’s helping users to navigate to the right button on a website or the ability to make a fast decision, the principles of UX Design allow you to create experiences that delight and fulfill core business goals.

To illustrate the importance of UX as a subset of overall CX, let’s explore two examples:

  • Bad UX, Good CX: You decide to purchase a game in the app store. Upon purchase, you find the layout and navigation of the game is hard to understand. Fortunately, the app developers provided contact details and you’re able to receive useful step-by-step support. The game’s poor navigation is an example of bad UX, however, the app developers ability to provide excellent customer support is good CX.
  • Good UX, Bad CX: It’s been awhile since you’ve travelled overseas and you decide to organise a trip online. You register, book, and purchase plane tickets on a website from an airline that you’ve never travelled with before. The process is straightforward and seamless. However, on the day of your trip, you arrive at the airport and it’s a disaster. The check-in queue is long and you struggle to navigate from each checkpoint due to the airline’s poor directions and signage. Your experience with the ticket purchase demonstrates good UX but your experience at the airport is a primary example of bad CX.

Ultimately, both UX and CX are user-centric processes that prioritise the human experience above all elements and take into account the user and their circumstances. Good UX Design is essential for any business’ overall CX approach. The right design can bridge the gap between a business’ goals and objectives.

Discover new ways to improve your CX with an industry-recognised course in UX Design at Academy Xi.

Academy Xi Blog

Discovering the role of empathy in business

By Academy Xi

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Businesses are realising the importance of empathy. 

Businesses are tuning into the importance of truly understanding their customers, anticipating their needs, and meeting them. Much like a toddler who suddenly gains empathy, the ability to look at situations from another’s perspectives, businesses are gaining user insights, enabling them to really put themselves in their customer’s shoes.

Empathetic Management

To effectively conduct user-research strategies, develop needed changes, and then implement these changes; a Product Manager is so incredibly valuable. Understanding the entire product roadmap, managing user inputs and ensuring multiple stakeholders’ interests are taken into account; a product manager‘s most valuable trait is to understand the drivers and incentives of customers and internal stakeholders.  When pitching changes and co-ordinating changes across teams, product managers put themselves in other’s shoes.

Similar to Service Designers and User-Experience Designers, Product Managers keep customer experience at the fore. Product managers take it a step further, by using empathy within a company to justify decisions and understanding how to best manage teams and best improve a customer’s experience. Holly Joshi explains product management as ‘the strategic mindset at the centre of business activity’.

Building better products

When improving the product, empathy needs to be front-and-centre. With entire teams dedicated to improving customer experience and analysing where and how changes should be made (think Service Design and User Experience Design), companies that rapidly iterate and adapt to change are better set-up to stay relevant; responding to changing consumer behaviour and wants. Often customers THINK they know what they want, but dig a bit deeper and you’ll find they aren’t always aware of their true motivators. As part of user-research, designers need to go past these surface desires and drill down into the real motivators of their customers.

User-centric design

The biggest design mistake is designing for yourself. User-centric design isn’t exactly new – in fact, all design should be user-centric by default. The underlying goodness of design, creating useful, thoughtful, beautiful things, at some point got lost; we saw a common misconception emerge, that design=aesthetic . At the core of user-centric design is empathy; taking the time to understand the user, and design for their needs to create things that are actually useful. In the context of design, empathy is not simply imagining how a user thinks and feels – this ultimately relies on assumptions and thus your own personal experience largely influences the outcome. Empathy, in the context of design, is an understanding based on thorough, pointed, user-research.

A healthy work-environment

A study of over 600 companies showed that those in the top quartile in organisation health, registered two times higher in financial performance. Empathetic leaders, happy employees and a healthy work environment all make for a higher-performing company. Though empathy is intrinsic, it doesn’t always show at work; measures of performance, reward systems and overall culture don’t reward individuals for empathy. To cultivate an empathetic workplace, leaders need to be role-models to the rest of the company, and actively try to implement human connection in their business

Takeaway:

There are quantifiable results supporting the importance of empathy. Businesses that don’t think about their customers and their employees will get left behind. Though financial incentives are fuelling this push, it’s still a step in the right direction; we hope to see a mass cultural shift towards empathy. Embedded in a business’ work environment and team culture, used to create better products, and to coordinate valuable changes to a business’ entire product offering; empathy creates better businesses.


Learn Product Management, User Experience Design or Service Design to gain the skills necessary for embedding empathy in your business.

Academy Xi Blog

Take a step into the world of UX Design

By Academy Xi

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If you took one step today and doubled it everyday for 30 days, how far would you walk?

The answer is: one billion and seventy three million metres: or the equivalent of walking around the world 26 times!

This is an example of Moore’s Law, a law which predicts foreseeable trends in technology. The law suggests that computing power doubles approximately every 18 months, resulting in exponential growth. As technology disrupts our lives faster than ever before, designing experiences that are user friendly and human-centred has become a key priority for many businesses.

User Experience Design (UX) is recognised by employers and businesses as an important, strategic role in the delivery of successful digital products. Whether it’s a mobile app or a website, UX has become one of the rock star roles of Digital Design.

Sofia Thompson, a UX Lead Change Agent, explains that designing user friendly and human-centred experiences is achieved through “conducting ample research via workshops, focus groups, interviews, and surveys to understand the needs and wants of the end user.”

Sofia believes that simplifying content will be a major trend this year, with filtration and search engine optimisation vital in preventing users from information overwhelm. 

Information overwhelm occurs when a user is presented with a multitude of choices, creating a paradox of choice. This could be a number of call-to-action (CTA) buttons on a website, or even a menu containing too many food options. What do you do when you’re confronted with an overload of possibilities?

UX is about making these choices simple for the user, actively curating the journey they take in pressing the right button on the website, or the ability to make a fast decision when ordering a meal.

Previously, Sofia conducted usability testing with Bunnings Warehouse. In looking at the homeware giant’s search engine optimisation, Sofia found that generating automatic key words and check boxes would help users narrow down their product searches. This removed the complexity of searching through thousands of store products and ultimately narrowed down the user’s choice to a manageable array of relevant options.

Another UX trend on the rise that’s also relieving customer pain points is  voice-user interfaces (VUI). With VUI, the process of users filling out online forms can be improved, replacing manual labour with hands-free, voice activation. This enhances the ease and speed of the user’s experience and also the website’s overall accessibility.

Keeping up-to-date with these latest trends has a significant impact on the role of a UX Designer. Sofia believes, “UX Designers must have the ability to forecast the effort and time the project will require well ahead of a build.”

“Validating the latest learnings through the build, measure, and learn process enables evaluation of good and bad design,” Sofia adds. “Being able to rationalise good versus bad design is critical to the role.”

In the world of UX, diverse opportunities exist for designers, including: research, information architecture, prototyping, and usability testing. Movements within technology help evolve a UX Designer’s creative problem solving capabilities.

The ability to tell a great story and having a quality folio of work is key to being a successful UX Designer. Sofia recommends the best way to develop UX competencies is to learn them from people who are experts in the industry. These experts have a wealth of success and failures that they’re ready to share. “Adopting the ability to critically analyse and rationalise good design enables the successful execution of a well-defined solution.”

Launch your future in User Experience Design with expert career tips here.

Academy Xi Blog

International Women’s Day

By Academy Xi

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This International Women’s Day 2021, we honour our leading ladies of the Xi Tribe. Making up almost 50% of the team – we lead with inclusion and equality first. 

Thank you to the Xi Women – Inma, Kerry, Kritika, Lei, Leola, Marina, Olivia, Patsy, Ranji, Sharna, Syakirah, Tiffany and Vivian. We are grateful for all of you, and also shout out the amazing Xi men who work alongside us everyday.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme of “Women in Leadership” is something which we asked the tribe to reflect on. Have a read through our responses below.

“Who are the leading women / woman in your life?”

DAN

The leading women in my life are: 

  • My Mum – for teaching me that all my problems can be solved after a good night’s rest. 
  • My Wife – for teaching me that I can’t control what people do but I can control how I react to people. 

The incredible women I work with: 

  • Lei – That leadership is a choice and not a rank. 
  • Marina – That listening is more powerful than speaking

NICK

A few leading women in my life I don’t interact with directly, but I believe are impacting the wider world profoundly. There is a new breed of world leader, women who lead with heightened empathy for their people.

At Academy Xi we teach students to design and lead using empathy as a tool, and I believe leaders such as Jacinda Ardern and Angela Merkel personify this. Their ‘less confrontation / more listening’ approach is important because it works. Role models like them (and the lack of success of their opposites) could be the start of a shift in leadership style the world over.

LEI

I feel very fortunate to have grown up within the filipino culture which is marked by strong matriachical roots. Within my own family we have a history of women (my grandmothers, my mum, my aunts) who not only ran households but ran their own businesses or actively participated in the workforce. Their example taught me very early on in life about resilience and leadership.

As I reflect on this year’s IWD theme “Women in Leadership” I fully appreciate the significance of sharing the stories of the leading women in my family with my two young daughters. After all, you can’t be what you can’t see. 

SHARNA

The leading women in my life are my two grandmothers.

On my mother’s side is my very ‘young-at-heart’ and spritely grandmother. She is always on the go, preparing food, Skyping family all over the world on her iPad and rarely sits down to take a break. I can barely keep up!  

On my father’s side is my grandmother who just turned an impressive 102. She took up painting as a hobby only in the last 12 years and has a beautiful collection of artwork to show for it. She has also kept up her singing skills from her younger years.

I find it inspiring that both my grandmothers have never stopped learning and developing their skills – whether that be in the realm of new technology or creative hobbies. I believe this type of mindset is what keeps us happy and ‘young’. 

PATZY

The leading woman in my life is my own coach. She stretches me beyond measure. When we do uncomfortable things, we grow. 

MATT

In the business setting, our Chief People Officer, Lei Iglesia plays a critical role in ensuring that our most important asset(s) – our people – work in a safe, supportive and productive environment. Lei’s ability to ensure that communication and information is regularly flowing around the business is unmatched, and sets the tone as to what a great leader looks like – showing genuine empathy; offering trusted advice and support; and being bloody great at her job!

Without Lei’s leadership, the Executive team just wouldn’t be the same, and the wider business wouldn’t run so smoothly. Lei is a trusted colleague, an integral member of the Exec team, and a fantastic leader!

BEN

I’m so fortunate to have so many amazing women in my life. My mother Lynne, of course, the woman who has battled it all, raised three beautiful children. A brave person who has explored the world, seeking truth within the unknown. She has always been the person that has supported me to follow my dreams, to be true to myself, and has held a tremendous amount of trust for me. I wouldn’t have achieved what I have without her support.

My eldest sister Laura and niece Ella, until she made me an uncle, I did not truly understand what it meant to be a mother and the challenges/rewards that come with it. Motherhood is underrated by those who haven’t been exposed to it as an adult.

My sister has inspired me to raise my children like her, and my eagerness to bring a powerful, intelligent, curious baby girl like Ella into this world. Empowering her with all that I can provide.

My youngest sister Jacki who left her corporate career in the UK to follow her passion, to pursue what truly matters. I’ve been blown away by her wisdom and courage to face her fears, step out of her comfort zone and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. Her elevate worldview and perspective holds a level of maturity that is way beyond her years.

My close friend and pseudo-sister Saskia is someone that I have always admired. Some whose extroverted charisma can get any job or task done. She’s a mum who is not afraid of any challenge and can skillfully balance multiple things at once with absolute finesse. Being a mother does not slow her down or stop her from life, if anything it has made her stronger and more resilient.

OLIVIA

I have always gravitated towards female friendships. Interestingly, the older I get, the stronger and more steadfast a lot of these friendships become. There are a couple of fantastic women around me who carve their own path. They take risks when things aren’t obvious or clear. 

One good friend moved to New York with her husband when he landed a job over there. Far from being a ‘trailing spouse’, she has started her own business, podcast and worked remotely for the better part of the last two years. She saw the opportunity and grabbed it. 

Another close friend recently stood up to some workplace harassment when it would have been much easier to remain silent. She decided to speak up despite her concerns around what it would do to her career. She is brave, resilient and her company listened. What a remarkable example to set for the other women around her.

And then there is my Mum. Staunch feminist, attended university during the progressive 60s, attended rallies. She then decided to boost her own career in her 50s by deciding to move overseas for a new role and career promotion. Now in her 70s and into retirement, she is still leading a pretty daring life.

KRITIKA

I can’t imagine life without my mum, Jasvinder Kaur, hands down the most inspiring woman in my life. Her actions always speak louder than words. She might not say “I love you” often, but she proves it every single day, and has been the glue that has held our family together during some tough times. Always going above and beyond for those she loves, being a rock that we can all lean on and smashing ceilings at work – she’s the best and motivates me to be the best and happiest version of myself too. 

AIVAN

All the women in my family have experienced so many things, good and bad, to be where they are right now. They’re not perfect but nor am I—and I think that’s what makes them amazing—the imperfections that tell you the years of hard work, perseverance, and freedom that brought them to good places in their lifetime. I haven’t been home in almost four years, and I miss them a lot.

SYAKIRAH

Greatful to have so many women-spirations in my life. But to narrow down one, it has to be Halimah Yacob. She is the first Female, Malay-Muslim, Hijabi PRESIDENT OF SINGAPORE. That’s right. She is the current president of one of the most populous, advanced and thriving nation in the world. What inspires me is how she has been breaking the glass ceiling since she started her career. She became the first Malay-Muslim woman to become a Member of Parliament (MP), she was also the first female to hold the position of Speaker of Parliament.

Undoubtedly her success being the minority of minorities (female + mother + Malay + Muslim + Hijabi) have not come without criticism. When she first took office as a MP, she was asked “Who would take care of your children?”. She responded gracefully to her male counterparts pointing out that none of the male MPs were asked the same question, then stating that taking care of children is not solely a woman’s responsibility, it should be shared equally between husband and wife! #legend

All these while being a strong advocate for mental health issues and establishing two rehab centres.

VIVIAN

The woman who I look up to each day, the woman who I call my hero, and my bestfriend is my Mom.  Growing up, my mum has been a fighter – and have  persevered in the most difficult of situations. But even so, she never lost sight of hope nor did she lose faith in the power of kindness. For the greater good, she has been selfless and taught me to think of the world greater than myself – ultimately, to help those in need  &  understand the importance of empathy.

Also – to never underestimate the impact of giving, however big or small; whether it would be the old & fragile,  those with disabilities, children without a home, or even pets who are abandoned. She inspires me to be my best self and to serve goodness to the greater community – in whichever way I can because at the end of the day, in her own words “you never know, you can start the change for someone else’s life

LEOLA

I’m blessed to have so many amazing women who have played integral roles in my life. But there is one woman who I’ve always looked up to since I was a child – Elma Fleming.

I run a charity with Elma (and others), and I met her when I was about 11 years old. She is mainly known for her work in the crisis centre of Wayside Chapel. Recently Elma was appointed Order of Australia and continues to provide services for the vulnerable through her charity Streethearts. 

I’ve seen the homeless run to hug her in the street as well as her walk in between 2 very large men to break up a fight in the middle of the road – and might I add Elma is a petite lady in her 70’s. She is truly leading by example and is an important role model in my life.

STEVE

I have literally hundreds of leading women in my life – from family & friends to my extended family of aunties, cousins and nieces in my ancestral village, to my personal, professional, academic, artistic, spiritual and martial arts networks. Hundreds! 

But I’ll shout out here to the Australian philosopher & critical theorist Elizabeth (“Liz”) Groscz, who way back when taught me as a very inexperienced and green undergrad: she blew my mind, challenged my thinking, and exposed me to a whole new universe of ideas and discourse. The intellectual rigour, depth, discipline, critical thinking as well as openness and compassion she brought to learning was transformational, and has stayed with me ever since. I’ve never, ever forgotten it & continue to build and evolve from those lessons.

To paraphrase one of her books: “To refuse to seek answers but pose questions as paradoxes can make us more capable of bearing up to continuous effort to go against the relentless forces of sameness, more inventive in the kinds of subversion we seek, and more joyous in the kinds of struggle we choose to be called into