How to Approach Customer Experience Design Like an Architect

by Chris McLean, on Apr 6, 2021 3:14:39 PM

Have you ever seen a Frank Lloyd Wright house? The homes he’s designed are world famous creations –with eight of them now inscribed as UNESCO world heritage sites. Outside of his unique designs, what’s always amazed me was his ability to convert those designs into actual, real-life structures. After all, what’s the point of breath-taking design, if it has not or cannot be built?

Of course, Frank Lloyd Wright was not the only architect to do this. In fact, the way in which any talented architect can make their vision a reality is through a very well-known and mature step-by-step process called the Architectural Design Process. We believe that in the new COVID (soon to be post-COVID we hope) world, customer experience (CX) needs to adopt the same step-by-step rigor.

Frank Lloyd Wright Designed Houses

According to a recent Gartner study, 81% of marketers expect to compete mostly (or entirely) based on customer experience. Yet, your organization will not have a sound marketing strategy unless it ensures the customer experience design is personalized, implemented accordingly, and can show return on investment. Service Design Thinking – the codified approach to designing the customer experience – works wonders at achieving the design. What’s missing, however, is an end-to-end process that captures all of the necessary steps towards implementing such an effective customer experience. Accelare’s Purpose Driven Customer Experience (PDCX) uses a process involving specific stages, steps, and artifacts, similar to the architectural design process to combine the concepts of Service Design Thinking, behavioral economics, and Accelare’s Strategy to Execution methodology.

PDCX Maturity Assessment banner (1)

What is the Purpose Driven Customer Experience Design Process?

In the construction world, for designing houses, architects oversee how the structure is designed and ensure the design is met. The architect’s role is broken down into a multi-step process called the Architectural Design Process. Essentially, the architect will start by laying out the general idea of what the homeowner wants, followed up by more detailed designs of the home and ensuring the construction of the house is meeting the design.

An Architect’s Take on Customer Experience Design

3 Steps to Designing Customer Experience

To become the Frank Lloyd Wright of your organization, you will follow a comparable method. The Customer Experience design follows a similar multi-stepped process broken down into 3 stages:

  1. Customer Journey Mapping

    In the Customer Journey Mapping stage, you will work with the business owner
    to outline what they want the service to do. In order to do this effectively, you will need to outline:

    - Who you are targeting
    - What are the actions you want them to take
    - How you are going to get them to conduct each action

    Start the customer journey mapping by working with the business owner to gather a complete list of the features needed as part of the service offering - this will help establish the vision for the service. Next, create detailed customer personas capturing the psychographic traits of how your customers think, what motivates them, and what their values and attitudes are. Using a customer journey map, define the touch points, or high-level phases of your interaction with the customers. Last, while thinking about the ways you need to can get the customer over their cognitive biases, define the desired actions you want them to take at each touchpoint.

  2. Service Blueprint Design

    The Service Blueprint Design stage looks to develop a detailed design of the service. Much like an architect would work with engineers and experts of different disciplines to develop the detailed design, so should you. Start by using the customer personas to document what the customer is thinking, feeling, doing, and saying for each of the desired customer actions. Now you can work with subject matter experts (SMEs) across the organization to build service blueprints.

    Example of Service Blueprint Design

    These service blueprints, much like swim-lane diagrams, should lay out the entire journey and display what you, the customer and any systems are doing along the way. Afterwards, using your service blueprints, look at the design with your team and identify any needed capabilities to meet your design. Ask yourself: are there implications to any piece of software or websites or a new role that you will need to hire, onboard, and develop training materials for? Any of these tasks should be identified as a project.

  3. Implementation Readiness

    The Implementation Readiness stage will ensure you actually execute your customer experience design. Here you will help build the project teams and develop necessary artifacts for implementation. We use the Strategy-to-Execution (S2E) methodology to ensure a successful project rollout. This includes creating Projects on a Page (PoP’s), working with the project team to build the necessary documents for implementation such as Standard Operating Procedures, business requirement documents, training materials, etc.

    You will also want to be ready to assist with any outstanding questions from the teams. We recommend that you conduct a series of end-to-end tests of the process(es) using the service blueprint as a guide and conduct walk throughs to make sure there are no gaps, everything is built to spec and ready to go for implementation.          

Much like how I admire the beauty of a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece, your customers can now enjoy the interaction they have with your organization – which alleviates their fears, addresses their cognitive biases, and reassures them at every touchpoint. Going forward, you will want to establish metrics to make sure the customer experience design is working as desired and providing a return on investment. You can do this by setting up KPI’s, OKR’s and other measurements of success. Continuously gather customer feedback and data on the customer personas to keep your designs up to date.

What's your organization’s Purpose Driven Customer Experience maturity?

Purpose Driven Customer Experience creates a level of structure around the customer experience that leverages proven concepts from the fields of behavioral economics, service design, and Accelare’s Strategy-to-Execution implementation methodology to bring a level of precision and discipline that any organization can benefit from.

Purpose Driven Customer Experience Maturity AssessmentThe Purpose Driven Customer Experience Assessment

If you would like to assess your organization’s readiness to engage in Purpose Driven CX, please click here for our assessment where you can quickly rank your Customer Experience program on a 1-5 scale against fifteen assessment questions that cover the five key domains within Purpose Driven CX (see Figure 5).

Frank Lloyd Wright Image Sources

1)  Frank Lloyd Wright house in Minnesota dismantled and moved to Pennsylvania

2)  Frank Lloyd Wright’s Beautiful Houses, Structures & Buildings

3)  Frank Lloyd Wright home architect designed for son sells for $7.25 million

4) See the 8 Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings Just Named World Heritage Sites

Topics:Digital TransformationCustomer Experience


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