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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

What exactly is Customer Centricity?

By Academy Xi

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Who owns Customer-Centricity (and why it’s a challenge for organisations to get right).

There are a number of debates happening inside organisations around Customer-Centricity. Read on to learn more about:

  • Is customer centricity a business strategy or a mindset? Our opinion: when it is done well, it is both.
  • Is it the exclusive domain of Human-Centered Designers? We don’t think so, although it riffs heavily off these practices.
  • Where does Customer Centricity start and marketing end? The two are drawing ever closer together.
  • Does it flourish when executive teams buy into it? Yes, but it performs best when it moves beyond being a ‘top-down’ directive and individuals can take ownership.

As a concept, customer centricity isn’t hard to get your head around. Most of us will bring to mind the idea of keeping the customer at the centre of everything. It is often discussed in the contexts of digital transformation, customer lifetime value and corporate ‘customer culture’. Bringing customer centricity to life, however, seems to be a sticking point for many businesses. 

With 70% of customers basing their purchasing decision on how they feel they are being treated by a brand (McKinsey), customer centricity is clearly important for businesses. If there is a question to ask to determine your organisation’s status quo, it is: How “close” do your employees feel to your customers? 

Business strategy or a mindset? 

When it is done well, customer centricity is both. To set an organisation up for success, customer centricity needs to be planned for, talked about and resourced. Like anything strategic, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Many would argue however that the horse (mindset) needs to come before the cart (tools and processes). A truly customer centric organisational culture is one where each person aligns themselves with providing a great customer experience. This flows from strategic goals down to the day-to-day ‘business as usual’.

Is it a design discipline?

If you talk to human-centred designers, they will gravitate toward the idea of what we call structural customer centricity. This relates to how a company’s systems and processes are designed. If they were built with the customer’s needs in mind, then that is a structural customer centricity. This is often called customer experience (CX). From a customer’s perspective, CX pervades their every interaction with that brand. Watch our webinar “Customer Experience Unpacked” to learn more.

Is it a new lens through which to view Digital Marketing?

If you speak to a marketer, however, they will likely focus on understanding their customers, gauging their lifetime value to the company, and making the buying process as frictionless as possible. Customers want to be understood as more than an email address or part of an audience segment. The ability to know where a customer is at in their journey with your brand allows you to deliver the goods: the right message at the right time in the right way. This is another example of structural customer-centricity. Check out our recent blog ‘3 practical steps for driving CX success as a Digital Marketer’.

Is it the domain of frontline staff?

To put forward another interpretation, if you are a frontline staff member who speaks to customers, you will focus on the idea of being personally customer centric. This relates to what you personally can do to put your customer’s needs first. Customer-facing teams also have an important role to play when it comes to the way information flows through a business. They hear it all first hand: what are customers thinking, which competitors are they assessing you against and what are their pain points.

Should it be an executive-led culture change?

Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable compared to those that are not focused on the customer (Deloitte and Touche). With such potential gain to the bottom line, it’s no surprise that executive teams are leaning in to customer centricity. When redefining any element of corporate culture, it pays to ensure that the leadership is behind it and lead by example.

How We See It

When customer centricity really starts to pay dividends for a business is when it is adopted organisation-wide. Executive leadership, strategy, design, marketing, customer service and client-facing teams all combine to leave your customer with an impression of your business. Everyone owns it. Customer centricity is as much a top-down initiative as much as it is a bottom-up way of working. And unsurprisingly, things work more smoothly when they are connected by a broader mission.

As always, it comes down to people. Do your teams have the mindset, toolkit and corporate culture needed to live and breathe customer centricity? Do they carve out time to talk about what customer-centricity actually looks like to them? Do they have access to concrete tools for being customer-centric themselves? Giving your people the resources and space they need to practice will help you set a solid foundation from which it’s possible to grow a truly customer-centered business. 

Want to talk about building a more customer-centric way of working? Check out our customer centricity training options and drop us a line.