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Building a design-driven culture

Source | | team 

It’s not enough to just sell a product or service—companies must truly engage with their customers. Here’s how to embed experience design in your organization.

At one point in the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Judi Dench, who plays a grieving widow, is connected with a customer-service agent at a call center in India. Despite being told Dench is in mourning, the call-center rep sticks to her script with a sadly predictable result: hurt feelings and a lost customer. By the end of the movie, Dench’s character has moved to India and reinvented herself as—wait for it—a call-center trainer. In her initial session, she conducts a role-playing exercise in which she demands operators go off script and respond to customers as human beings first. The result? Instead of angry hang-ups, the call-center reps make human connections and customers for life.

While the movie is fictitious, of course, the broader lesson lies at the core of a real-world business need: empathy. Using empathy to put customers, clients, and end users at the center of the problem-solving equation is the foundation of design thinking. With this focus, design becomes a tool for change, capable of transforming the way companies do business, hire talent, compete, and build their brand. To quote Nobel laureate Herbert Simon, the act of design “devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.”

From product to experience

Think about a product you recently bought. Now think about the experience you had buying and using that product. Increasingly, it’s difficult to separate these two elements, and we’re actually seeing many cases where customers prioritize the experience of buying and using a product over the performance of the product itself. In fact, customer experience is becoming a key source of competitive advantage as companies look to transform how they do business.


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