Gaining Consensus Around the Customer Experience


Gaining Consensus Around the Customer Experience

April 12, 2021

I attended a virtual conference with John Maeda (a guy who does a lot of thinking about design) the other day. He mentioned something that resonated with me. He described design thinking as a faster way to gain consensus by using the customer as the starting point for decision making.

The process of methodically aligning stakeholder groups with complex and often competing interests is something that doesn’t always get a lot of attention. A few years ago, I met with the CEO of a pharmaceutical company to understand his challenges. For him, the reason he needed our team was quite simple. He explained it like this:

Whenever I get a presentation from the marketing team at my company, we review the material and it is convincing that from their point of view we need to invest in certain areas.  But before making that investment I often receive a presentation from another department like IT with convincing recommendations from their perspective and so on. It continues with each department providing competing views that all seem reasonable from their individual perspectives. However, the one thing that these presentations are missing is a deeper understanding of our customers.  A knowledge that would allow each team to step out of their current vantage point and describe clearly how the initiatives connect to customer problems.  That is what I need you to help us with.

An external CX design consultancy works with teams to allow them to immerse themselves in customer problems. This helps to clarify the customer experience for the organization and ideally align on the most important moments in the customer journey. That is why the pharmaceutical CEO wanted our team. He needed our team to elevate the customer perspective and help his internal teams connect planning to the customer.

The clients of CX design consultancy want to dive deeper into their customer’s attitudes, behaviours, and mindsets. They want to answer the question, “What is going to make an impact on my customers and ultimately the business?” And they want the entire organization to be able to discuss and plan with a clear understanding of the customer problems.

Photo from DocuSign on Unsplash


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