Smooth sailing – designing businesses to deliver value

"Improving experience starts with every customer interaction. Your customers see you as a one entity." -Jiri Brezovsky

This is a quote from his post about the importance of improving the overall experience, rather than creating beautiful UI. It’s a brilliant and valid point, one which we at Red Badger live by.

Even though a beautiful design, a high quality piece of software or sky-high conversion rates may seem like the ultimate goal of running a business, especially on a day to day basis, there is one crucial bit that shouldn't be overlooked. That is to deliver value. 

I just want you to get the job done

As a customer, I don’t care about how well your metrics are doing, whether or not you’ve met your sales goals or when the next software update is due. 

I only care if I can get what I want from you or not. How much do I need to give [time, money, effort] vs. how much I get out of it. 

In the end, if I want to get my hands on a new computer I want to decide which one is for me, where and how to buy it, and how to set it up and who to get in touch when something goes wrong. All of that should be easy peasy, but is rarely so. 

The times they are a-changin’

Businesses have complex structures, they exist on multiple channels, partner with numerous 3rd parties and carry ways of working from the day they were established. 

A business runs with the help of multiple ‘departments’ ranging from marketing, sales, merchandising, customer services, online, suppliers, logistics. There’s also a big board of stakeholders to please with the outcomes.

“The problem [with designing in silos] is that customers don’t just care about individual touchpoints. They experience services in totality and base their judgement on how well everything works together to provide them with value” -Andy Polaine et al.

Each and every department has different targets and end-goals. They are usually focused on just one channel or a single touchpoint of the customers overall experience of a customer. The problem arises when the links between these individual touchpoints are left unattended, when they don’t appear on the targets because they are not tangible enough to make it to the boardroom. As a consequence, your customer’s experience with your business ends up being nothing but a broken, inconsistent and painful journey. 

When you think about it there is only one simple relationship to focus on, whether you’re in the boardroom, at the shop floor or in the office developing the website; and that is the one between you and your customers. 

 Love thy customer

When it comes to deciding whether or not to come back, or to ‘recommend the service to their friends’ customers will not think about one interaction in isolation. They will think about how easy it was to use the website, how the staff treated them on the shop floor, they will consider the call they received by customer service team when their package was late all together. Overall their decision will depend on how easy it was to reach their end goal, the whole reason why they chose to get in touch with your business in the first place. 

Keeping the bigger picture in mind at all times will allow you to have meaningful conversations when you’re collecting requirements. It also will give you a reason to talk to each other, regardless of your position in the business. 

Stop and ask why how who

Before you get in your productive autopilot mode, stop and have a think about what the greater goal is.

-Why are you doing what you're doing?

-How might you make it better for the person at the other end?

-Who else might have an effect of the delightful experience you’re trying to create? 

Go speak to your colleagues, your stakeholders, customers. Involve as many parties as you can. Make sure you, as a business, are giving the same message, have the same tone and same level of delightfulness for your customers throughout their journey with you. 

Then and only then will your efforts count for something. Don’t forget, your profit, sales, conversion rates can only improve if you love your customer, try to make their journey with you as happy and valuable as possible because your customer will love you back. (and will most likely recommend you to a friend, if that's what you're after)

further reading

servicedesigntools.org has plenty of methods you can use to think about your business offer as a whole. I would recommend checking them out. Or have a read through Andy Polaine's book Service Design, it is delightful and one of the best you can find around. 

let's spread the love together

If you crave consistency in experiences and want to help businesses create value with beautifully designed high quality software get in touch. It doesn't matter where you're coming from, as long as your intentions are well:) 

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Sinem Erdemli

UX Designer

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