​How to leverage design thinking for a better customer experience

Forrester principal analyst reveals the power of design thinking to unlock greater marketing potential

  • The key architectural steps behind effective design thinking
View all images

Great strides in technology and connectivity have seen customers expecting faster, more personalised services. In response to this, design thinking has become increasingly more important as a way of meeting those demands.

Speaking at the Forrester CX Marketing Event in Sydney, Forrester principal analyst, Ryan Hart stresses brands should start thinking more strategically, particularly as millennials become a key customer segment.

“These customers are born into a world of Google, touchscreens, multiple devices and information at their fingertips,” he said. “Right now, we’re looking at 30 per cent of the working population and by 2020, it will be up to 50 per cent and by 2025, it will be the majority, at 75 per cent.”

According to Hart, the pace of acceleration when it comes to innovation is happening so fast, we can hardly keep up. As a result, we need a type of framework to find ways to meet these changing expectations quicker – and that is where design thinking comes into play.

“GE is a great example,” he said. “In 2010, GE did an internal audit and found out that it was releasing hundreds of products across multiple business lines every year, but had zero consistent user experience strategy and was losing touch with its customers.

“When you look at GE’s old DNA, it was very much about how do we make money and it was built on a highly siloed, very traditional manufacturing model. Now for them to pivot and add design thinking into the DNA equation was a big step, but the effects were felt immediately. In fact in the first year, the company realised $15 million could be saved on development costs alone.”

Back in 2012, IBM also took onto design thinking and hired thousands of design thinkers to shift its game.

“Big banks, consulting companies, even Facebook have all realised that to embed this design thinking capability as a core competency within an organisation, there is a need to have the right talent with the right skillsets,” Hart said.


The key architectural steps behind effective design thinking
The key architectural steps behind effective design thinking


For Hart, the design thinking process needs to be open, flexible and nimble and exploration of what the customer needs and what they expect from your brand.

“Empathy is key to this process, and that’s about putting yourself in your customer’s shoes,” he explained. “This involves going out and meeting your customers, observing them and talking to them. But you need to understand both the observable and non-observable needs and often, expectations are part of the non-observable.”

One brand that understands its customers by observing them and then puts those lessons into practice is Starbucks, Hart said.

“Starbucks is very methodical, and the brand understood people don’t go there for the coffee, they go there for the experience,” he said. “They even made their round so a coffee drinker on their own doesn’t feel alone, they feel more at home and welcome.”

A design thinking hub needs to have a space where you can evaluate customer observations, ideas, insights, and then hypothesise accordingly, Hart continued.

“An innovation lab might look messy, with sticky notes, storyboards and markers,” he said. “But it is in that chaos where you’ll come up with the most incredible ideas. You need to embrace that chaos. You need to keep experimenting to find that superior customer experience.”

(suggested boxout)

Key takeaways for effective design thinking:

  • Check yourself before you wreck yourself
  • Commit to design thinking for key projects
  • Give yourself space for design thinking
  • Embed and democratise as a core competency

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

How can organisations debias their decisions?

​People whose personal details and experiences signal they come from racially diverse backgrounds are less likely than anglo or Caucasian candidates to make it through the first cut in recruitment processes. Even if the organisation says it values diversity.

Dr Karen Morley

Author, commentator

​ Coronavirus is rapidly changing customer behaviour: Is your marketing team adapting quickly enough?

The impact of coronavirus is far reaching with the true impact on the economy and businesses is unknown. While there are a few categories and brands experiencing growth, for the most part the crisis is wreaking havoc for large and small operators across many sectors including entertainment, tourism, retail, fitness, services and the list goes on.

Teresa Sperti

Founder, Arktic Fox

Why COVID-19 makes it more important than ever to move at the speed of the consumer

There is no doubt the challenges we are facing as businesses, advertisers and audiences with COVID-19 are all unprecedented. But with this comes an opportunity to take stock and re-evaluate current strategies, plans and processes to drive efficiencies and relevance in today's market.

Emma Macey

General manager, SuperNova Media

Great article. Well said!Https://www.virtualtradesho...Virtual conference

Curtis Okeefe

Can virtual events fill the digital conference gap?

Read more

Why these voice assistants are so popular nowadays? Maybe I should get one too? I am really curious.

Jill Kim

Aussie brands jump on voice-interaction bandwagon following Amazon Alexa's local launch

Read more

We encourage you to share your thoughts on your favorite social platform. Digital Marketing Consultant HyderabadDigital Marketing Analyst...

Chaitanya Nandigam

CMO interview: Charting a new customer course at a NFP fintech

Read more

Extremely insightful and well written. Thanks for the great article!

Nicole Brodie Nahum

Why COVID-19 makes it more important than ever to move at the speed of the consumer

Read more

Blockchain is one of the fastest growing technology in today's digital era. Industries like banking and finance are already using blockch...

Aniket Singh

Can blockchain deliver on its big advertising promises?

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in