Design Thinking to Unlock Customer Delight
More than 197 million people around the world visit Amazon.com through their devices every month — a massive feat accomplished by design and not luck. Despite the thousands of products available on Amazon, users can find their desired items with ease through filtering options when using the search engine and product category pages listed in the sidebar menu.
It might seem simple, but this clear and seamless browsing experience is often taken for granted. Not being able to find relevant suggestions and being frustrated at a homepage could lead to customers simply leaving your ecommerce page and completely abandoning any potential purchase. Design Thinking — a human-centred approach to solving problems, is what helps companies like Amazon stay abreast of customers’ pain points, and remain relevant in today’s fiercely competitive market.
Empathise — Take a Walk in your Customers’ Shoes
The first step when diving into Design Thinking is to empathise with your customers — try to put yourself in their shoes and understand things from their perspective.
To unlock these insights, you can study data to help you understand how customers interact with your business. When customers leave reviews, what do they say? Are there any frequently asked questions you can help to address? For example, a commonly received question on directions for using a product could suggest that your product is not too user-friendly or intuitive. You can also analyse buying patterns to understand your customers’ purchasing behaviour. Do customers make repeat purchases of one item, buy in a particular quantity, or purchase single units of the product? Breaking down this behaviour could help you measure aspects like brand or product stickiness, and facilitate future decision-making with regards to bundling or promotions.
An Empathy Map could come in handy when analysing your customer
Define — Crystallising Thoughts
With the current understanding you have of your customers, extract their needs, draw conclusions and define problems. Now is the time to identify problems and clear gaps or causes for concern. What is the underlying root for their pain point? This will direct your business and guide you towards the problem that needs to be solved. The clearer and more specific the defined problem is, the more streamlined you can be in your solutions.
Ideate — Quantity over Quality when Brainstorming
When you ideate, let your ideas run free and don't be too quick to shut down any of them. Brainstorm solutions to address the problems you have previously identified. At this stage, work with teammates from different departments to gain a wide range of perspectives. Depending on who you ask, the solutions to a challenge like "lack of customer satisfaction" could bring very different responses. A web designer might pin it on the website interface, a teammate from marketing might mention a lack of promotions and discounts, while a teammate managing logistics might bring up delivery times. Quantity matters more than quality, so don't worry about repeated ideas. After all the brainstorming is done, take time to have everyone look through each other’s ideas and eliminate duplicates or bucket them into themes. For example, if some suggestions are regarding packaging fragile items and timely delivery, they can be parked under last-mile delivery.
You can make use of platforms like Mural to work on a digital whiteboard to remotely work with sticky notes (you also don’t have to worry about the post-its losing their stickiness and dropping off!)
Prototype — Experimenting and Creating Draft Models
Translate your research, planning and ideas into a prototype that can be used to validate ideas. Rather than seeking to develop a complete product, focus on producing inexpensive, scaled-down versions (Minimum Viable Products) that can test for specific features you aim to tweak. Taking the example of an ecommerce business redesigning its website, a prototype could either be a Powerpoint Presentation of proposed graphics to test their visual appeal, or something as simple as a paper sketch to demonstrate how users would navigate the site.
Test — Getting your Customers' Feedback
With your prototype ready, you can now test it with your customers to get feedback! Depending on the prototype and what you are testing for, you can explore A/B testing or focus group discussions. Use this process to assess if your solution solves the problem at hand, and pay attention to whether it reveals different customer needs or a new problem statement altogether. As you go through various rounds of testing, the prototype should be modified to reflect changes based on the feedback you receive.
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end! Pat yourself on the back for going through multiple rounds of research, brainstorming, prototyping and testing to better connect with your audience.
Design Thinking is a non-linear process that can be uncomfortable as it forces you to approach problems with a user-centric instead of business-centric mindset. However, once you've found the sweet spot with your customers and identified the best solution to their pain points, you're good to go for a launch!