The economy around us has changed: customers are now in control. Using the power of online platform services and social media, they share their opinions instantly with each other. Service providers have to get things right, and fast, to avoid being instantly buried online. Apart from customer experience, the rapid evolution of smartphones has given us increased expectations of user experience. More than ever, designing customer journeys and service touch points in the right way is of strategic importance, requiring C-level decisions.

The Importance of User Experience

Netflix just feels right. No wonder it became such a well-loved brand so fast! Starbucks, Disney Land, Uber – they all have this “seamless” experience people keep mentioning. Well-designed services stand out, feel different and are constantly used as an example in articles like this one. But since the UX of smartphones and websites impact everyone, user expectations have exploded in every industry.

From music players to mining software, the same people are using services that are on a different level of design quality. People not only feel the need to have usable software to play their favourite albums but also to have easy-to-use and enjoyable tools in their work. The minimum level of UX in B2C impacts B2B environments as well.

Customer expectations

With all the responsibilities and daily business problems to solve, C-suite can quickly lose sight of customers and their needs. Executives who are up-to-date enough know that this needs to change in order to keep their firms competitive and relevant. It’s easy to confuse user experience with just the usability of a software product. But in today’s connected world, UX extends beyond the screens. Customers judge services based on their overall experience of all touchpoints. Uber’s UI is just as important as the driver’s politeness.

UX design is often “called-in” to aid specific project silos and dismissed after deployment. But it’s not just a tool, it’s a logical mindset that also represents how businesses need to operate in this new environment. In order to transform organisations to be more service-oriented and customer-centered, staff in a company need to utilise their skills from a different perspective, and this starts with the C-suite. This is what today’s executives know best.

New economy, New C-Suite

Trends like IoT and cross-industry services are fast changing the context of businesses. Executives as well as designers are unsure of how things in certain industries will play out. We can’t control it, but we can use our design methods to be well-prepared and to rapidly adapt to new challenges. The Design Thinking framework was and still is one of the best design tools an organisation can cultivate to react to new business opportunities.