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The Complete Guide to Designing Digital CX

Just want to start reading? Jump to Chapter 1: Defining Digital Customer Experience

Why CX Needs Designing

Over the last ten or so years, organisations of all types have been attempting to operate in a way which is more consumer-centric. The rise of CRM software, the era of mobile and of "big data", Agile delivery and so on promised to create a world in which organisations could create a personalised, tailored experience. Knowing everything possible about a consumer would deliver greater levels of customer acquisition, retention and revenue, in a world where increasingly numbers have stagnated.

This requirement for a better relationship with customers is still very much top-of-mind at the C-suite level in organisations around the world. Every global survey of CEO, CMO, CIO, and CDO leaders consistently places the customer relationship as one of the top three most important components of business longevity. And yet customer satisfaction scores remain frustratingly low for most organisations. So why is this?

Our view is that the digital initiatives of the past (and even often of the present) are problematic, because they view the organisation as the primary agent in the relationship. Organisations have still yet to truly embrace a view of the world where the user comes first, ahead of the organisation itself. After all, as Bill Bernbach said, "it’s not a principle until it costs you money". You’re not serious about customer experience until you’re willing to put the end users ahead of everything else.

Going back as far as the 90's, the aim in many organisations has been to create a one-to-one, personalised relationship with individual consumers. And yet, the very premise of this puts the organisation first. It assumes that the object of the exercise should be to have a relationship where the organisation can talk in a personalised way to the consumer, in a way that the consumer will be happy with.

The flaw, when it's expressed this way, is obvious. Generally, people have no desire to have a relationship with your brand; they just want you to do two things:

  1. Meet a need or needs they want addressing. The more you can do to make that process effortless, fluid and pleasant, the better.
  2. Talk to them in a meaningful way, so they like and trust your brand and are happy giving you money.

You don’t need personalised blockchain-enabled VR nonsense for this. You just need strong brand messaging, a product or service which addresses a consumer need, and to deliver on your promises.

It’s worth remembering at this point that the results of CX programs, digital or otherwise, affect lagging indicators. If you improve your eco-credentials in how you manufacture a TV, you’re not going to sell more immediately, because people don’t buy TVs frequently. But over time, you can significantly outperform your competition.

This is the thorny issue that organisations struggle with - they aim to be focused on consumers, but think of people as consumers to be cultivated, and measure results on tiny timescales. ROMI (return on marketing investment) measured on a weekly or monthly basis gives different numbers to when measured in years.

This guide serves to help you understand how to go about changing how your organisation uses digital technologies, with the aim of better serving the needs of the people you interact with. It’s what we call Digital Customer Experience Design, or DCXD for short, and it's at the heart of how we approach SEO; PPC; content creation; reporting and everything else.

We’ve produced this with insight from meta-analysis on dozens of studies covering hundreds of thousands of consumers, and analysis of interviews with hundreds of C-suite individuals at major organisations around the world, combined with our own expertise and experience.