Royalty and Retail Taught Me to Embrace Design Thinking
I’ve often thought that being in the technology space, in the digital space where CX is crucial, is truly a cross to bear. However, lately some experiences have taught me that others take CX and personalization to a whole new level. At a high-end store known for their chic purses – I can’t help but think how they truly understand their customers. After being greeted by name, they scanned my license, found me as a preferred customer, saw that I had done searches on their site and assigned me a personal advisor. When I was ready to purchase (after, by the way, spending time educating me, clearly understanding my previous purchase history, search history and saves) I simply scanned a QR code with my iphone, used apple pay and was ready and out the door with my new bag in hand in minutes.
It’s no wonder the average consumer, even the one who is an expert in digital and technology takes cues from retail and sets the bar high.
How did they know so much about how to tailor experiences for customers? When implemented correctly, a design thinking approach leads customers to the extraordinary. Not only are they seeing through the lens of the customer, but at each intersection of the process, the engaged technologists are also reshaping the experiences of in profound ways. Seeing the art of the possible in ways they never thought of.
Design thinking can be an effective methodology for insurers to challenge their current ways of thinking and redefine how they engage with customers. Especially, if working with an experienced team who can help shape the process for you.
The five phases of design thinking are:
- Empathize – with your users
- Define – your user’s needs, their problem and gather insights
- Ideate – by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions
- Prototype – start creating solutions
- Test – test and test more
Design thinking is not linear, the phases don’t go in order, nor do they need to. It’s often referred to as “out of the box” thinking to allow designers, technologists and digital queens, like myself, to imagine new ways to do something that doesn’t necessarily follow the status quo or the dominant way to solve for something.
The exciting and invigorating part of design thinking is the ability to dig deep into the needs of customers, to really get to the heart of what they want and to ideate. Brainstorming with your team to bring together unique perspectives to solutions, producing as many ideas as possible (with no fear of judgement) is a critical component to the process. Prototype something – and ask again, is this what you meant, what you need, what you could want. It’s humanizing, it’s intuitive, it’s about pattern recognition and constructing ideas that are emotional, as well as functional. It’s not only a portal or an internal manual process solved, it becomes much more to the insurer and to your customers, internal or external. Because it’s tested, it’s understood, it’s through the eye of the beholder – your customer.
Can you imagine a world in insurance where we intrinsically understood what all our customers wanted?
I can. Remember my high-end purse experience? My salesperson friend – who also is my go to for theorizing and gabbing about design thinking – tells me it’s a process. Not a once and done. Customers are growing, technology is changing every day and they are constantly re-visiting how they engage their customers and their customers’ needs. Sounds like sage advice to a CX dabbler.
In that moment in the store – they knew me as a customer, knew what I had been searching for, understood why I wanted something based on data I’d given them in other channels, allowed me to be educated and simply and easily provided me with the type of payment experience I required.
It takes immense amount of time to understand your customer and be able to pivot, change and introduce new ways of engagement. It’s fearlessness and allowing for the ability to make mistakes and be able to reimagine the process again.
Proof behind the design thinking methodology – a few stats to help tip the scales:
- Design led companies put the customer first, with 46% of design leaders citing an emotional bond with customers
- 71% of organizations that practice design thinking report it has improved, not only their products, but their working culture
- 50% of Design led thinking companies report more loyal customers as a benefit of using design thinking practices
- Almost half (46%) of companies that don’t embed design thinking in their Digital CX strategy reported their digital CX on par or weaker than their competitors
In the words of Queen Elizabeth II, “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed. Finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.” To me, this is the epitome of Design Thinking.