Table of Contents
- What is Customer-Focused Design
- Advantages of Customer-Focused Design
- 7 Rules for Creating Customer-Focused Design
- Key Takeaways
Businesses around the world are solution-centric. And the solutions they design are focused on the needs, wants, and expectations of their customers or the audience they cater to. Making the clients happy and content with your services and products is your primary goal as a business. And customer satisfaction can only be achieved with a customer-focused design. No matter how crucial your other business goals are as a brand, the customer has the only key that can actually unlock your success.
Nowadays, more and more companies and brands are turning towards the customer-centric design approach. Amazon and Zappos are excellent examples of customer-driven design, which is being used in the hiring, marketing, packaging, and other important processes, directed towards providing value to its customers.
What is Customer-Focused Design?
Customer-focused design refers to the process of conducting business by focusing on the customer’s needs. This involves providing the customer with a positive experience both before and after the sale/purchase.
This drives repetition in business and enhances the customers’ loyalty towards a brand, eventually leading to business growth. In simpler terms, a customer-centric approach is a process whereby a brand/business builds its products and services based on the customer base’s wants, needs, and challenges.
Advantages of Customer-Focused Design
Businesses today are no more dependent on just the quality of their products and services. To stay in the market and have consistent profits, a business needs to enhance and constantly improve the experience they provide to their customers.
Customer-focused design principles act as anchors for guiding businesses to successfully tap into their customers’ changing habits and preferences and adapt accordingly. There are several advantages of adopting a customer-focused design approach. They are as follows:
- In the age of social media and virtual reality, brands need to maintain a good relationship with their customers, as they can impact their reputation online. The better the customer’s experience, the more they recommend a particular service or a product to the people they know, thus resulting in better customer acquisitions.
- A customer who has enjoyed a satisfactory experience with a brand is highly likely to return, thereby turning prospects into customers for life.
- Applying customer-centric design principles also leads to better customer engagement.
- A customer looks for trust and reliability when approaching a brand to solve their problems. And once this trust is established, customers are more likely to share their problems and issues directly with the business. Hence, the brand can handle the flaws in its services and rectify them early with this knowledge. A customer-focused design ensures better crisis management.
- Once the customer’s trust has been secured and their issues have been successfully solved, they will automatically be brand loyal. Brand loyalty is what ensures customer retention in the long term.
7 Rules for Creating Customer-Focused Design
Here are seven effective rules that can help your business create a customer-focused design:
1. Start by identifying your target audience.
The first step towards a brand’s success is knowing who they create solutions for. Conduct demographic and ethnographic research to identify your target audience. This will further help you define the needs and pain points of the people in different social groups. Once you know who you are creating a solution for, you will have a rough idea of the expectations. Conducting audience research helps figure out what the customers want, what channels they most likely prefer, etc.
2. Create buyer personas and customer journey maps
Creating buyer personas is a crucial step in the process of ensuring a customer-focused design. The customer journey maps help you identify the exact needs of your customers.
A separate customer journey map can be created for each buyer persona as customer expectations and needs vary from one customer type to another. With the buyer personas and customer journey maps in place, you can find out the best channels to use. It also helps you understand better the customer expectations and emotions.
3. Inculcate customer feedback to improve your services
Surveys, comments, email replies are all important sources of customer feedback. A customer-focused design cannot be created without inculcating your customers’ feedback on the products and services provided by your business. You can also build customer satisfaction scores for quantitative measurements. Several brands also use speech and text analytics to assess customer experience. Apart from all this, it is always a great idea to reach out to your customers via social media channels and through emails and newsletters surveys.
4. Continue solving problems while you build
Customer-focused design is all about creating and enriching customer experience. The focus of the customer-centric team during the design process should be entirely on delivering an experience that is both easy to use and intuitive. The design process is not just about creating an aesthetically pleasing experience for your customers; it is, in fact, the art of crafting an overall holistic customer experience. Customers can provide innovative ideas even during the ideation process. You can redesign the checkout page and share a website mockup with a few chosen customers for early feedback. Customer ideas and feedback can help throughout the process of building a website, website content writing, and products and services.
5. Communicate the changes made to the customers
Simply inculcating customer feedback and changes will not directly enhance the customers’ experience. After implementing the changes as per the feedback and suggestions, it is crucial to communicate those changes to the customer. Communication is an essential element in building trust. The customer always appreciates fast turnarounds on reviews and feedback. Thorough communication and transparency further establish goodwill between a brand and its customers.
6. Combine data and empathy
With the advent of technology, detailed customer data is available at any brand’s disposal. It is actually no longer challenging to guess what the customer wants. But using this data blindly is of no use unless a customer-focused approach is applied. By adding contacts to data and developing insights about the customer by analyzing it, you can align your services with the customer experience. Creating a customer-focused design also entails emphatically using data to benefit the customer. An example of this is adjusting the email content according to the various stages of the different customers in the customer journey.
7. Encourage collaborative efforts
An essential rule for creating customer-focused design is encouraging collaboration. To enhance the customer experience, the various teams need to collaborate seamlessly. For example, when sales reps inform a customer about a new product or service, they can collaborate with the support team to handle more technical aspects of the product or the website. This integrated working style and the supporting results will generate more leads and win more customers for the brand.
- A customer-centric approach is a process whereby a brand/ business builds its products and services based on its customers’ wants, needs, and challenges.
- Customer-focused design has several benefits: increased conversions, more customer acquisitions, improved crisis management, enhanced customer engagement, and customer loyalty.
- Conduct audience research and find out who your target audience is.
- Buyer profiles and customer journey maps help you identify your customers’ exact needs.
- A customer-focused design cannot be created without inculcating customer feedback.
- The customer-focused design approach is not just about creating an aesthetically pleasing experience for the customer; it is about delivering an overall holistic experience that is easy to use and intuitive.
- Customer ideas and feedback can help throughout the process of building a website and the products and services.
- After implementing the changes as per the feedback and suggestions, it is crucial to communicate those changes to the customer.
- Creating customer-focused design also entails emphatically using data to benefit the customer.
- An essential rule for creating customer-focused design is encouraging collaboration.
As a business, it is your prime responsibility to bridge the gap between issues solved by your products and services and the customer’s exact wants and needs. And a customer-focused design strategy is one of the best ways to ensure that your product/service solves the customers’ problems and adds value to their lives.
To focus on customer needs, a brand needs to:
– Pay attention to what the customer says
– Make space for ideas
– Remove internal barriers
– Ensure that they have a customer-focused advocate
– Create opportunities for learning
Price, quality, convenience, and choice are the four primary customer needs.
The qualities required for delivering excellent customer service/experience include practicing empathy, communicating clearly with the customer, being patient, having a positive attitude, practicing active listening skills, and being determined to serve.
A customer-focused workplace fosters a company culture dedicated to improving customer satisfaction and building strong customer relationships.
Some of the most commonly used customer focus KPIs are customer satisfaction score, first response time, net promoter score, quality of service, measured in terms of reliability and assurance, employee engagement, and customer retention rate.
McDonald’s is one of the most popular customer-centric brands. Amazon, Starbucks, and Zappos are a few others that follow the customer-focused design strategy.