Designing for Better Customer Experience
You have definitely heard of User Experience, but have you heard about Customer Experience? These terms are sometimes interchangeable, but it’s a good idea to know what exactly makes them different. In simple terms, you can say that User Experience is a part of Customer Experience. After all, isn’t a user, a customer? Well, yes and no. A user “uses” an app, website or product but they don’t become a “customer” until they actually buy something.
Customer Experience relates to all the touchpoints which a customer has with a company. From the first ever time they found out about it, to the customer service reps they talk to when they have a question, even to the social media managers answering their tweets with questions in the middle of the night.
The Customer Journey Map
The first role of the designer when they start with Customer Experience Design (CXD) for a brand, is to visualize the Customer Journey Map. This is a tool which helps pinpoint the touchpoints and channels which the customer has with the brand.
Making a visual Customer Journey Map is like creating a framework or concept map. There needs to be a clear flow of what happens at every point of connection. At this early stage, the designer can help a team visualize the whole process. Not only the web developing team but also the marketing and customer service teams.
What designers need to know
When working with a Customer Experience Design team, the graphic designer plays an important role. Of the many aspects involved in CXD, the visuals are high up on the ladder. You can’t have a good Customer Experience if things don’t look right. The way things looks look influences the way things work.
The graphic designer has to make sure that visual branding is clear and precise at every step of the way. A customer needs to feel familiar with a brand. A graphic designer’s job is to create and follow the brand style guide when designing all material that has to do with the CX of the company.
Every interaction will also need a visual and these need to be easy to be accessible and easy to understand. Always remember that the role of a graphic designer in Customer Experience Design is to keep the customer visually happy and engaged. Your visuals should be usable, useful, desirable, valuable, accessible, credible, and findable.
For this reason is very important use high resources quality, backgrounds, vectors, flyers or banners.
Customer Experience Touchpoints and Channels
A customer interacts with a brand at different moments. These are called touchpoints. A touchpoint is a moment where a customer has a connection with the brand. It can be achieved in many different ways. Some of these can be controlled with the design while others cannot. For example, a touchpoint can be when a customer sees someone wearing a pair of shoes they like and ask the wearer what the brand is. Another example is when a customer reads a product review or sees a product being used somewhere. Other touchpoints are when a customer receives a promotional email from a brand or sees an ad for it on Facebook.
The designer can control the Facebook ads and promotional emails, but they cannot fully control how a product is reviewed or used by someone out in the real world.
A good way to direct the way a touchpoint goes out into the world is to create a visual media kit for followers and influencers. The brand’s website should have a media section with logos, some branded text, and photos. Bloggers and influencers can use these in their own publications which are in turn potential touchpoints.
A channel is a direct continuation from a touchpoint in which a customer can take action with the brand. For example, by clicking call to action, subscribing to a newsletter, buying a product. An email funnel is a continuation of touchpoints and channels.
Channels are a constant in Customer Experience. They are like the connectors between the steps of a customer journey map. A designer’s role with channels is very important because they can be fully designed from start to finish. These are designed with a purpose, to keep the customer happy and get them to covert.
One of the most important customer experience channels is the customer service system of a brand. The way a brand responds to a customer’s complaints and questions is key to the good customer experience.
Becoming a CX Designer
If you are a graphic designer looking to get into Customer Experience design, there are some things you should get acquainted with. First of all, you need to take some courses on User Experience Design and Customer Experience Design.
There are plenty of these on sites like Skillshare and Lynda. If you are the kind of designer that likes to build the stuff, then you can also take courses on User Interface Design which is the backbone of Customer Experience Design. You can also get some free ebooks from the Interaction Design Institute.
Over to you
Now that you know the role of the graphic designer in the realm of Customer Experience Design, are you more interested in it? Let us know in the comments what you think.