Customer Experience And Offline Journey - By Delta News Hub (Salt Lake City - Ticket Counter) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], Via Wikimedia Commons Salt_Lake_City_-_Ticket_Counter_(28301627663)

Defining Customer Experience for UX Designers

I first heard about a Customer Experience professional was when the agency I was working for hired a Customer Experience Director. At the time, the industry was still trying to define User Experience. Names of roles were diverse like UX designer, UI Designer, Visual Designer, Interaction Designer, and Motion Designer. The concept of Customer Experience expert helped open my perspective to how far we can look beyond the digital experience.

Here are four elements of Customer Experience that have helped me improve my understanding of the broader customer journey.

Customer Experience and UX

Understanding the bigger picture through customer experience

1. Marketing and Customer Experience

A lot of designers that I work with will make a funny face when I mention marketing. Historically, designers in product often never work directly with marketing, but our experiences intersect with product launches, new releases, and support. The truth is that the companies with the best reputations with their customers think about marketing and specifically the brand long before a product launch. These companies strategically plan and design the experience of how and when customers interact with the brand.

2. Offline Customer Journey

While a lot of our focus tends to be on digital interactions, UX designers should anticipate for places in the customer journey that occur offline. Customer interactions with a brand and a product will often happen in analog experiences long before landing on a product page.

Designers may understand glimpses of this in areas such as conferences where potential customers will interact with representatives. However, there are experiences out of the designer’s control where customers will review and reflect on a brand experience. One common example is comparing the visual design of airline marketing materials to the actual experience of flying.

side by side Delta marketing with long lines

In this example, a lot of companies write off the act of enforcing rules and regulations on customers as a part of air travel. However, there are companies that have made it a part of their culture to improve their experience where they can through all of their representatives at places such as check-in, the gate, pilots, and interactions.

3. Metrics to track for Customer Experience

UX designers track metrics in views, click paths, drop-offs, downloads, instances, heat maps, and NPS to name a few. To expand our view into a broader customer journey, we should include other methods and systems. By just spending a little time with my marketing team in past companies, I got a view of the World of customer engagement.

A lot of metrics we use to measure engagement within our product can work with tracking engagement outside of the product with customers and potential customers.

Read more about customer engagement here.

4. Roles for UX designers

UX designers can identify where Customer Experience and UX intersect and rely on each other. We can think about how our principles for UX can apply to Customer Experience. While designer for support on IBM Cloud Platform, we looked at the offline and online customer journey to list out these action items.

  • Track customer feedback through online forums, chats, and tickets
  • Find commonalities with individual support requests to surface pain points
  • Help customers solve their own problems to save time

Closing

Researching customer experience has helped me understand the challenges around brand and user base for its products. As UX designers, we often rest on the idea of making a ‘beautify’ user experience will attract and retain customers. This is only a part of the story.

Learn more about the complexities of design and systems.
Image Source: Creative Commons.

Matt Eng

UX Research Team Lead at IBM Design. Based in Austin,TX. Worked with clients such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ogilvy, RBC, Deloitte, Whirlpool, Polycom, Symantec, and Pebble. Matt teaches, mentors, and speaks about design, creativity, and fostering stronger connections within teams.

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