Shoppers used to make decisions on what to buy while browsing in stores. However, Deloitte reports that, in a post-pandemic world, digital data influenced more than 50 percent of consumers before even entering a store. The modern consumer has nearly all of the world’s information in their pocket, making them a very powerful, informed set of consumers we have ever seen.
To drive the success of a brand and the product, it is vital to provide consumers with a great experience. Customer experience is a significant factor in how customers talk about the product in digital spaces, directly impacting and influencing more buyers.
To precisely understand consumer demands and provide an improved customer experience, brands are now committed to design thinking, which directly enhances customer experience.
Design thinking is an ideology as well as a process. It’s all about solving complex problems in a user-centric way to ensure great customer experiences and outcomes. This concept was developed to apply the processes and approaches that designers use to solve problems.
Design thinking has been a buzzword for some time now, as the ideology has progressed from being solely design-oriented to being applied to a wide range of fields, including engineering, architecture, and even business strategy. From a business strategy perspective, design thinking helps you focus on the customers and really figure out what they want and need.
In this article, we’ll look at why design thinking holds the prominence that it does today and how you can use design thinking to elevate user experience.
The rationale behind design thinking
Customer understanding and effective problem-solving
Design thinking takes a customer-centric approach, attempting to understand the needs of the customer and developing effective solutions to address them.
In order to achieve this goal, it is recommended that we identify alternative strategies and solutions that may not be immediately obvious to our initial level of understanding. Having a strong interest in understanding your customers and designing appropriate products and services for them is essential. Engaging with the client, putting yourself in their shoes, questioning every assumption and implication, and thinking out of the box are vital approaches to take in order to solve problems effectively.
Increased ROI and customer retention
Design thinking increases customer retention and loyalty by directly meeting their needs. Customers are more likely to remain loyal to a business or brand when their needs are better met. Think of customer satisfaction as a predictor of customer retention and loyalty. The better customers feel about interacting with a product, the more likely they will repeat the process. Meanwhile, as the design team learns more about what customers need and want through cohesive design thinking approaches, they will be able to design efficient products with less time consumption, directly benefiting upcoming products and contributing to increased ROI.
For example, according to Forrester, teams that use IBM’s design thinking practice and are adequately staffed with design talent get to market twice as quickly as those that do not. These teams have seen up to a 75% reduction in design and development time. Forrester discovered that design thinking teams consistently cut costs, reduce risks, and ultimately increase profitability as a result of this faster pace of work. Through the effective use of design and design thinking, one health and human services organization reduced their number of defects by more than half. This improved workflow has resulted in a calculated ROI of more than 300 percent.
The Five Phases of Design Thinking
Even though the concept appears to be new, design thinking has a long history, dating back to the 1960s. It presented itself at the time as a new method of scientific innovation. Many consultants have adapted this concept to their company’s needs by redefining design thinking into five essential phases:
1. Empathize with the End User
At this phase, you need to spend time getting to know the user by putting yourself in the user’s shoes. Data about the users should be gathered, and interviews should be conducted to truly understand their pain points and needs.
2. Define the Pain Points of the End User
The define stage entails taking the insights gained about the user during the empathize phase and defining a set of problems that your team must solve for the user. Invest in customer journey research to identify opportunities for improvement, conduct polls and surveys to outline the end user’s needs, and establish a clear expectation of what you will deliver. This stage should clarify what your team’s responsibilities are.
3. Ideate innovative solutions by challenging one’s prejudices
During this phase, you and your team brainstorm and generate potential solutions to the user’s problems. You should try to generate as many potential solutions as possible. It is crucial to gather a diversified set of ideas to reach the optimum result for the consumer. Ensure that you have a diversely skilled team, which means that you’ll have people from all different backgrounds working together on your project, leading to creativity, better products, and more innovation. Finally, you should narrow down the proposed solutions to the best few.
4. Prototype different solutions
During the prototype phase, you and your team must build low-cost solutions for the problems you defined during the previous stages. A prototype can be as simple as a paper prototype, but it should help you test and experiment with your users to gather feedback.
5. Test and record outcomes
During this phase, you test your prototypes to see if they achieve the goals. This process is often iterative, leading you back to the previous stages to improve your product.
Generally, winning companies have the ability to anticipate how a customer will interact with their product and identify potentially painful points in that experience to eliminate them.
This approach will force the company to break down the silos of its innovation by bringing people from different backgrounds who are not used to working together, such as software developers, marketing experts, sales experts, and many more, around the table. As a result, companies will now prioritize collective intelligence over presuppositions and general studies that guided creation previously.
Rootcode Studio is on a mission to create great user experiences in digital products. Talk to us if you have a great idea and need help bringing it to life! Read more about Rootcode Studio here and connect with us on social media (Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram) to stay up to date.