Right now the idea of understanding the user, challenging assumptions and redefining problems in an attempt to identify strategies and alternative solutions is something that haunts the professionals responsible for improving the customer experience.

In a complex and fully digitized world, consumers are looking for solutions that can make their lives easier while making it a pleasant experience. In a digital age where there are endless touchpoints, consumers are looking for seamless omnichannel experiences than ever before.

A good example of this is the new companies that offer transport or accommodation services. Uber does not own any vehicles and yet disrupted the transportation landscape, just as Airbnb disrupted the hospitality industry without owning a single property. Both companies did this because they were able to measure changing expectations and anticipate the latent needs of today’s consumers and provide a solution that can simplify their lives. Along with building an intuitive and engaging digital experience around you.

It is essential that companies of all kinds, whether business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2B) or person-to-person (H2H), make decisions about how to manage the area that affects the customer experience. It is at that point where the Design Thinking and Failure Mapping processes come into play, adding the human element to every interaction a consumer has with the business.

Emotional design is aimed at the hearts of consumers

To address the need for consumers’ closeness, entrepreneurs use the emotional brand as a way to attract customers, appealing to their needs, aspirations and dreams.

This strategy addresses the growing trend of consumers looking for emotional relationships with a brand. While the technical aspects of the brand may not be memorable, consumers don’t forget how it makes them feel.

Unlike information such as product attributes, characteristics, and facts, personal feelings and experiences better shape consumer reviews of the brand. Therefore, the emotional brand stands out as a strategy that creates strong links between consumers and brands.

In addition, 62% consumers want companies to be meaningful on social, cultural, political and environmental issues. An example of how these kinds of emotional strategies reach consumers is that of the Volvo automotive company, based on its purpose to contribute to a better society, protecting people and the planet. The company expects that by 2025, 50% of its sales will be 100 electric vehicles and a third will be autonomous vehicles.

Increased loyalty driven by emotional design, in turn, leads to higher sales. For example, purchase intentions after emotionally designed advertising are three times more likely than traditional advertising content.

When companies deliver a personalized, end-to-end experience, they generate average revenue growth of 8.1%. In some industries, converting a single-channel customer into an omnichannel buyer, thanks to an emotional strategy, increases the buyer’s average spend by 21%.

Design Thinking

As discussed above, Design Thinking is a discipline that uses the sensitivity and methods of the designer to meet people’s needs. It is an incredibly powerful tool to innovate in business strategy, organization or the creation of the next disruptive product.

While perfecting CX practices is important, setting the right direction is critical to long-term success. As a result, more and more companies are transforming product development by adopting a design method that puts the customer first.

Instead of relying on people’s instincts, this new design framework encourages empathy toward users, emphasizes iteration and prototyping, and promotes testing throughout the process.

Microsoft, for example, revealed that it is using this framework to design better products with the disabled in mind, an approach that allows the company to “create products that are better for everyone.”

Another example is IBM. The enterprise software company uses Design Thinking to anticipate relentless innovation in digital technology, transforming its culture into the process.

The rise of design-focused companies

In recent years, design-focused companies have surpassed the S&P 500 index by 228% over the past decade. This discipline is particularly important in the technology industry. Since, users expect an intuitive and trouble-free design, however, as technology has progressed, creating better products has also become more complex.

But how can Design Thinking drive business outcomes? For companies that have already adopted this framework, there are three concrete ways design thinking is improving product innovation and customer experience.

  1. Encourage innovation of customer-centric products:

Design Thinking forces consumer experience professionals, developers, and others involved in innovation to focus on the people they design, first, end users and customers. In the case of IBM, Design Thinking is helping to accelerate the pace of innovation while investing time and money in increasing value for users.

  1. Eliminate pain points throughout the customer’s journey:

As a human-centered framework, the design thinking process begins with empathy. Thanks to this perspective, developers can place themselves in the consumer’s skin and discover what obstacles they face during their customer journey.

For example, once this process began, General Electric improved the customer experience and saved costs. In the first year alone, GE savings over $15 million, thanks to a change of thought.

  1. Simpler is often better:

This process helps business leaders practice the necessary moderation. This is because a critical step is to clearly define the challenge to be faced, as learned about the user and context, which will subsequently help focus the process and identify which features and experiences should be removed.

The final steps in the process —ideation, prototyping, and testing—help further validate the features, processes, and experiences customers are looking for.

Failure Mapping

On the other hand, within the strategy to improve the consumer experience is Failure mapping, another process through which, companies can obtain information about where their users might “fail” or decide whether to follow a different customer journey .

So far, consumers are not impressed by their experiences, only the 3% claims to be extremely satisfied with the quality of their experiences, and 57% claims to be “something” satisfied with the overall quality of experiences.

At the same time, consumers seem to need more, as the 42% states that they would be willing to pay more to a company that offers a great experience for most or all products. Another 45% cites other industries (such as technology or high-risk experiences) where they would be willing to pay more. So there really is a lot of declared demand for better experiences.

Unfortunately, efforts to improve the current customer experience are not being earned the right to be considered successful experiences. The definition of a winning program is one capable of quantifying the benefits of CX or achieving a competitive advantage, however, only 25% of THE CX strategies meet this goal.

It is at that point that the Failure mapping process can help provide benefits to businesses. More traditional programs focus on facilitating the customer experience by reducing weaknesses, however, winning programs design experiences to create an emotional response while addressing weaknesses where customers may lose interest in the brand.

A great example of how Failure mapping works can be found in Slack. If the user has typed a half-written message on a channel and leaves, the program will display a small pencil icon indicating that an action that was initiated has not yet finished. It is a simple example of how through this action users can feel like the company is interested in improving their experience when using the application.

Conclusions

To get a 360-degree view of the customer, companies must understand the context of the one behind which. Once the company understands who its most loyal customers are and what these customers value for their brand, they will know what to modernize and how to evolve to remain successful. Whether it’s a small change in your customer’s path or a concussion on the product road map. Listening to customers and validating their feedback is the only way to take care of the end result in the long run.

The Design Thinking process delivers results because it recognizes an important principle of business success—that customers should be at the center of everything it does. In some ways, Design Thinking is not simply a framework, it is a culture that encourages agile decision-making and customer-centric ways of doing business.

Thanks to social and mobile technologies, customer behavior, attitudes and motivations continue to change. As customers evolve, design thinking will only grow in importance in the coming decades.

As a result, the need to create empathy with customers will be even more crucial. All product professionals, from the Chief Technology Officer to CX designers, need to access and use customer intelligence at every step of the process. Getting directly involved with the people they design for is a necessary step in developing deep empathy and creating better products and services for their customers.

On the other hand, Failure mapping can help you significantly improve the customer’s journey even before you start making a prototype. This process helps to think from the user’s perspective and thus visualize the friction that he has in the experience. Addressing these issues will help create an awesome product that real customers want to purchase.