One of the tenets of great Customer Experience is to listen to your customers.
As more and more businesses recognize that they need to pay greater attention to the quality of the customer experience one of the inevitable tools in the CX quiver is the customer survey. The survey demonstrates that the brand is listening to its customers and keen to gather their feedback to improve the services they provide. The only problem these days is that every other brand that a consumer interacts with is seeking to capture the Voice of that Consumer and the poor consumer is suffering from survey overload. I know this because I am one of those consumers.
Over the years I have been asked to explain the value of personas. After all, they are not cheap to create, especially when you do it right. When I say right, I mean supported at the very least by contextual research into the circumstances of the target audience followed by a thorough analysis of that context that results in great information design deliverables capturing the essence of the personas. This qualitative form of persona can also be enhanced by subsequent quantitative research, which may provide accurate insights into the relative size, value, and desires of personas, acting more as market segmentation and supporting business strategy. This balanced qualitative/quantitative approach
One of the early and simplest aspirations of those in the design community who feel that design can and should play a role in the formation and realization of business strategy is that design not simply be used in a tactical, ad hoc fashion…later in the process of bringing a product to market…just to add aesthetics and make something look good. Over the years there have been enough market success stories to allow for this expanded role. Many companies would even describe themselves as design-driven. This has expanded the role of the designer and design strategist.
However, when design has succeeded in making its way up the strategy ladder to have a more front-end role, communication between business strategists and design strategists has not always been the smoothest. Separate left and right brains have not always easily been able to produce a shared creativity. The language is not the same. The thinking is not the same.
I have always advocated that the best-case scenario driving innovation by design is the designer as design thinker who can move up the process to become a business thinker and naturally integrate the two. Why? Because the designer cannot just designthink but can also designdo and is in a great position to translate the strategy into action by producing a design. I like the designer as strategic designer!
Designers partnering in business strategy formation bring many fresh tools, techniques, and perspectives to the process. From methods for gathering information, forming insights, generating ideas, imagining concepts, validating concepts, and articulating a design vision that can make ideas real, design strategists (or strategic designers) bring unique value every step of the way.
One of the most powerful tools at the disposal of the strategy team is the collection of all of the strategic intelligence that realizes the strategy into a single visualization that quickly communicates the forces driving the strategy. From the digital business perspective visualizations often reflect strategies for single or multi-channel products, services, and experiences. The end result may be a completely new web site, a specific set of web-based services for a target market, or a multi-site strategy reflecting a diverse marketing campaign embracing social networks and other discrete touchpoints.
Visualizations can be all-encompassing, covering a full range of inputs that typically include over-arching corporate strategy, brand positioning, competitive positioning, and target consumers as well as outputs such as strategic drivers, principal ideas and concepts translated into prioritized products and services, and brand and design principles to apply when tackling implementation. On the other hand, visualizations can also focus on one contributor to the strategy information stream. A good example is the quantitative and qualitative research driving the establishment of market segmentation and creation of target customer personas.