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Creating a truly customer-centric company starts with CX transformation. Kim Salazar of NNg explains how user research can help.
[4:51] To achieve CX transformation, we have to break down silos to connect people and technology.
[10:29] User-centered companies typically have better business outcomes, which is why so many organizations are focused on this now.
[17:05] When undertaking a CX transformation project, you can refine, rebuild, or remodel.
[18:57] Make yourself a casserole of data with lots of different sources and ways to measure data. This means if your NPS score goes down, you have things like click data to tell you why.
[25:36] Start with passive data collection, which can give you the clues you need to know where to dig a little deeper.
[33:09] Showing user frustration to build buy-in is okay, but it’s showing the business impact of poor experience that really brings stakeholders on board.
[45:40] Use metrics your company is already familiar with to build stakeholder buy-in.
Kim Salazar is a Senior User Experience Specialist with Nielsen Norman Group. Kim combines her background as a developer and education in Computer Science and HCI with her user experience expertise, particularly around complex applications, to bring well-rounded insights to her work.
Kim: [00:00:00] don't get overwhelmed. I know this topic seems so large and unapproachable, but the really at the core of it it's about trying to connect the way we work and use. Journey level data to fuel how we work rather than qualitatively evaluating journeys, and then trying to fix things afterwards.
Erin: [00:00:45] Hello everybody. And welcome back to awkward silences today. We're here with our guests, Kim Salazar. She's a senior UX Nielsen Norman group.
JH: [00:00:55] Yeah, I've always liked transformation topics. They seem so lofty and intense. So this should be cool.
Erin: [00:01:01] Yeah today, we're talking about the CX transformation hot topic. And what does the CX transformation mean? I don't know. We're going to find out really good stuff. And how does UX research fit into that CX transformation? So we've got the expert on the topic here to answer all our questions.
Thanks so much for joining us, Kim.
So let's start from the top CX transformation, you know, as I said, it is this kind of buzzy thing we're hearing about what it means?
Kim: [00:01:28] Yeah, so you're right. It's kind of a buzzword. It's a really lofty word kind of loaded, but essentially what it means is a company makes a conscious decision to put customers at the center of all their decision making and at the center of what they do. And that requires change, of course, because a lot of times, right now companies think they're user centered or they want to be user centered, but they're really relegating that responsibility down into their product group and into their UX people.
But we all know that, you know, Customer journeys are touching on all parts of the business, not just on the digital products. People are calling into support lines. People are, you know, receiving print to mail stuff from your company. And so there's this journey that's going on.
And I know everyone's probably familiar with this concept of customer journeys, but one of the big issues we see is that the journeys are fragmented and they're not connected. They're not consistent. And people are really having to do a lot of effort to move from one of one interaction to the next. So that's the whole purpose behind CX transformation is deliberately making the decision to connect all those touch points, which requires operational change.
It requires, you know, a mindset change, a culture change. And even changes in, in your technical infrastructure to really be able to support the things that we need to do to design connected journeys.
JH: [00:03:02] And where does a CX transformation project even come from? Like, so it's a great goal, right? That a company wants to become more centric around what their users are doing and all the different touch points they have. Is that something that has to come from the top where somebody decides, Hey, we really need to do this. Cause it's such a big undertaking or can it be kind of more organic or how does that actually even come to be.
Kim: [00:03:22] Great question because You're right. When we talk about something that includes so much operational change, it feels out of our reach for a lot of us. The ideal, you know, solution is that yes, it's coming from C-level executive leadership because to really try to do the problem changes that are necessary and in restructuring and re operationalizing the way we work around users has to come from the top.
But with that being said, I know we're not all in a position to be able to influence that kind of change. So, I talk about, I teach a course on this topic and I talk about how to try to find a scope that is achievable. You know, maybe you're in a product group within your organization.
If you're in a large organization or you're in a specific department or line of business, Those smaller scopes can be a starting point, or you can apply some of these transformation guidelines and best practices and changes where you're not trying to influence the huge thing, but something more achievable.
Erin: [00:04:26] Yeah. So transformation, like big words in any context. And as we talked about, there are all these different sorts of components to how you kind of transform from point a to point B being this world where customers truly are the center of your organization and how you interact with your customers.
What are some of the things that have to be true to get to that transformational change?
Kim: [00:04:51] Yeah. So I think that the big underlying root issues that cause the fragmentation that we're trying to resolve is the fact that we're working in silos and meaning that we have different teams and groups that have very focused roles and responsibilities. And we, over the years, haven't been really good at collaborating or having a shared strategy and a shared vision.
So connecting people is one of the main things that we have to do. That doesn't necessarily mean literally like reorganizing your company for this purpose, but it does mean making some deliberate decisions to create programs to connect people, maybe building some formal networks that transcend the traditional hierarchy, where, you know, people from different areas in and across functions are connecting and sharing work priorities and sharing ideas and strategies.
So that's one thing. And the second one is connecting your technology. Because the same thing is true about our backend infrastructures. You know, as we've grown and companies have matured over the years, we've all got disparate data systems. So you know, what sales and marketing is using is going to be different from what customer support is using.
Which creates some constraints for us, because if we want to connect and have a comprehensive sort of personalized journey for our customers, we have to connect all that data in a way that it allows us to understand our users at a more one-on-one level. So connecting our data. So then we can start to do some of the things that will improve the experience for them.
JH: [00:06:37] I'd imagine I'm guessing. Right? Cause I've never been through a CX transformation product process in a large organization, It feels like something when it's first introduced, everybody would be pretty receptive to it. Right. It just sounds good. Like let's be more user and customer centric. I'd imagine though that some of the teams that maybe are a little siloed are set up that way because they're more autonomous and they can just go do things.
Right. And they probably employee-wise, like some of that in terms of, we can just go change this and see what happens when you now need to be a little bit more coordinated, but, well this changehis area might actually affect this other team over here. And we want to keep the user in the middle of that.
Do you ever hit like resistance where people start to feel like this is now slowing them down, or they're not able to make the impact that they want? Like, how do you, how do people wrestle with that aspect of it?
Kim: [00:07:19] Yeah, certainly. I mean, I think with any kind of change, even transformational change like this, you're going to get people that may push back against change. Change is hard and it's scary because you don't know, you know what you're going to get out of it on the other side. So that's why I think.
To really be able to do this, right. We have to have somebody at that top level of leadership that is sponsoring this and making it a mandate. And it has to be more planned in nature with supporting programs and things in place to help people understand where they're, where they fit into that.
Future state. So it can't just be saying like, okay, now we all need to work together and we're going to do a CX transformation. It has to include things like we're having training. We're going to do, you know, one-on-one. Sessions to, for each team to understand, you know, what their behavior changes are going to have to be.
And what does that mean for the way that they're rewarded or incentivized? And it's more of a strategic delivery of this new way of working. It can't just be, you know, somebody saying, Oh, we got to all change now. So we got to consider what the impact is going to be on some of those high priority groups.
Like I know, for example, I've talked to somebody who went through a CX transformation at a software company and their salespeople were really, you know, Scared about this because they had this autonomy to make deals and get their incentives from those sales. And they were worried about that.
So it had to be a plan in place ahead of time to make sure that they weren't going to be negatively affected by this change going forward. So, I mean, putting plans in place, planning it out way in advance. It has to be a communication strategy and methodology that includes tactical things and change management.
Is that the core of it?
Erin: [00:09:19] Yeah, I think you hit on just the importance of aligning incentives and understanding incentives, because at the end of the day, we all have different reasons to be motivated, do whatever we're doing at work and that we're going to do better work and be motivated to get on board with this transformation.
If we can see how it aligns with why we come to work every day. And I think that gets to a related question. We've talked a little bit about. You know, what is CX transformation? What are some of the necessary sort of ingredients to make that happen? But why is it so important? I mean, it sounds obvious, right?
Obviously everyone on this call, I'm sure wants to be user centric, be customer centric, but why is this transformation so important and why is it so important right now?
Kim: [00:10:04] Yeah. So this is one of the reasons why this topic. Buzz word is starting to bubble up a lot in the last year or so because companies know based on reporting and data over the last five or six years, that companies that have a user centered strategy and are working in a user centered way, are seeing more business benefits.
So there's gobs of data from various groups like Forrester and McKinsey. That has looked across industries and looked at how well these companies in different sectors are performing in terms of satisfaction and loyalty with their customers. And then they correlate that to their business outcomes.
So what they've found is that the companies that are investing in CX and transforming and getting their technology situated to be able to deliver good customer journeys are also the ones that are seeing much higher revenue, better stock performances, better loyalty and less churn. So there's huge business value to come out of it.
So it's starting to become a priority because people can leave and go to a competitor and they're doing so on the basis of experience nowadays, where it used to be about, you know, the product and you know, price, but everybody's matching on that. And now we're trying to compete on experience. So that's why this is becoming such a hot topic.
And an important discussion at organizations is because what we're, what we've done up to this point, we've sort of hit a threshold. And now we have to really think about positioning our organization to work better so that we can deliver for our customers.
JH: [00:11:52] And how does user research fit into all of this? Right. So I imagine to be more, to go through a CX transformation, you need to be more user centric, which means you need to understand the users. Is that something now where each team becomes responsible for that? Or is there somebody centrally coordinating, you know, the holistic journey and trying to provide insights for the whole organization?
Or like, how do people approach it?
Kim: [00:12:13] Yeah. So the typical way and the way that we teach people to start getting started with this. To get what we call a core CX team in place. And that CX team is going to sort of take the lead on, trying to build this transformation and manage that change over time. And one of the first things that a team does is try to put in place what we call a research program.
And it's essentially it. I think of it as like a machine that's fueling all of the work that we do. And it should be focused on your key customer journeys. So the goal is really to define all the different things that you want to measure throughout the customer journey, all the different touch points and channels, where you want to be listening and trying to gather qualitative insights and then building a plan for how you're going to analyze that and pull those insights and report on them.
So it includes qualitative research measuring metrics and counting interactions, and then analyzing that. So we can start to see like, okay, you know, when people, you know, have trouble at this key touch point early in the journey that seems to indicate, you know, that they're more likely to churn or they're less likely to resubscribe.
So you tried to build this really intimate understanding of your journeys, So you can start prioritizing work for the whole company on that. But that doesn't replace more of the traditional user research that I think you were touching on when the work is in place and we're making changes you say at like a product level or at the interface design level, you still need to go and do user research as you normally would to inform those design changes.
It's just like a higher scope of user research and it's built in a proactive way. So it's really fueling the company strategy. And you're always able to look at the data that's coming in for your journeys and know, you know, how the quality is changing and moving over time.
Erin: [00:14:23] When you talk about this CX team is this I imagine it could be different in different organizations, but more of a sort of temporary taskforce. Like we are going lead the charge in this transformation or is that more of a permanent kind of cross-functional team or could it be both
Kim: [00:14:41] Yeah, actually, it kind of changes it organically matures over time. It starts out as a task force. Like you say putting all the basic capabilities in place that is going to allow us to start working differently. So that's like, of course, the research program that I already mentioned. Other things would be processes and plans and standards for how we need to collaborate and work going forward governance on that type of thing.
Culture change initiatives what else? So all of the foundational things and then as the program starts to pick up steam. The core team that CX team sort of changes into more of a CX strategy group. So they're not pushing the change as much anymore, but they're now managing the quality of the journeys and managing the priorities of work that is going on across all the functions and then helping to coordinate all that work across functions too.
Erin: [00:15:39] Got it. So I imagine there's just a ton to kind of figure out as that task force. It started, you know, we're talking about how user research is so important to this work and how important it is for research to proactively inform an opinionated vision of what that customer journey ought to look like.
Right. than just react to And how might teams get to that place of having that opinionated? Vision of what the journey should look like using research, right. Because, you know, is it a CEO that just has a vision for, this is what we want our journey to look like. And we know our customers are going to be happy if that's true or looking at the data you have available to you already based on where people have problems or do you blow up the existing journey and like truly transform or iterate on what you currently have?
Like, how do you know. Where you're trying to get. And how do you use research to figure that out?
Kim: [00:16:36] So that's a big question. And it touches on some topics that you know, is common in, in this space. So the research that in the proactive research that you're conducting to try to create this vision is going to help. So you want to build that foundation and get all the data that's going to help you inform what to do with it.
But there's a couple of strategies that you can take. So I think I have an article that I've written about this it's called the refine rebuild remodel, because it's like thinking about your journey as something that you can either sort of refine, try to keep all of the rough edges off, address pain points proactively and just make it as nice as possible.
You can be a little more innovative with it where you maybe. Try to rebuild and re-imagine certain pieces of it while keeping the general customer journey in place or remodel, which is throwing it out. And redelivering, it's going to be dependent on a lot of factors. And this is why having executive partnership is so important because, you know, what is our appetite?
For this type of risk because the remodel is really risky. And is that something that we can afford to take on right now? Usually you want to start out with trying to start on refining what your existing journeys look like and just making them better. As you continue to gather data over time and understand your market and understand your users, then you may feel comfortable to say.
Okay, this journey. It's great as it is, but there are customer needs that we're not addressing. That might take more innovation and you might make some strategic decisions to do a little more like service design, thinking about and redesigning the delivery of the entire service and journey itself.
JH: [00:18:31] You've mentioned a few times now about like, you know, is this journey, I don't know, this is not, you've said it more elegantly, like, is this journey good? Basically like how did, and but the first question that comes to me is like, how do you actually know if that's the case? Like, are there standards?
This is actually one of the questions in the Q and A like, are there standard or typical CX transformation metrics that people keep an eye on and like, We can tell we've improved this journey for our users, because we've seen these metrics move in certain directions.
Kim: [00:18:57] Yes. So. There are, you know, the standard perception metrics that people often think about when we talk about customer experience. one of them would be net promoter score NPS, which is the one that you get by asking people how likely they are to recommend you to a friend. That's a common one.
There's also customer satisfaction. Customer effort score is one of these and there are ways in which we can try to. Ask our customers to rate us. And that helps us to understand how, what the quality is from their point of view. But those metrics, unfortunately, aren't as dependable as we would like them to be.
It's different from being able to say, you know, our revenue point at one revenue metric and know that's the truth with these perception metrics a lot more tricky, because they can be misleading a lot of times. So the takeaway with measuring the quality of your experiences, you can't rely on one thing you really have to put together.
A whole set of different things that you're watching. I've called this like making a quilt of data or making a casserole full of data. And you're really trying to figure out what are all these indicators that could help me understand the quality. So you want to do your perception metrics as one ingredient into that.
Your, you know, of course. Your business metrics, like the things that you're tracking, how sales and loyalty and stuff like that, but also smaller things like how many clicks did this feature get? And then by putting all that stuff and combining it all together, you can start watching and you might see.
You might see some trends or correlations coming through. Like you might see. Okay. In our qualitative feedback, we're seeing a lot of discussion about the, for example, the bill pay when someone's paying their bill. And that seems problematic and we're starting to see a lot of customer support calls about bill pay.
And we also have a really low NPS score. After we asked them about bill pay. So you start to triangulate all these things and hone in on where maybe there's some friction. And if you make a change, then you watch and see what happens to those various metrics, the perception metrics, the ones that we're asking our customers to rate us by those are less directly correlated to the work we do.
So we can change the bill pay experience and probably see. Some changes in those things that we're counting that we think indicate poor experience, but the NPS and C-SAT, those are slower to react. So usually you have to wait a little more time, but that's okay. Because the goal, I don't think should be to have a specific NPS score because that again is not indicative really of the quality that what's indicative of the quality is that you're seeing less.
Questions about things. You're seeing less comments from people about the pain they're experiencing. And hopefully then you're also seeing more revenue and fewer operational costs. And that's what we should be trying to do, so, unfortunately, there's just not one clean metric. It's really trying to have this really intimate understanding of all of the different indicators. And starting to look for relationships between them, you know?
Erin: [00:23:17] You talked a little bit about building this research program, you know, being an important aspect of the CX task force, which becomes a CX team. What, What sorts of research is that team doing on an ongoing basis? Does it look like user research? Does it look like customer research? Are they the same thing by a different name?
Are we talking about it?
Kim: [00:23:39] So I think there's a couple of different types of research that they're going to be doing there. Some of it, I think is going to be ethnographic in the field research to really understand your users the same way that we do with our interface level UX work diary studies, things that are more longitudinal in nature, of course.
So there's going to be that, but then there's also more of an emphasis on the collection of behavioral data. In the journey. So maybe looking at your journey map and saying, what things can we collect? What behaviors should we count and measure to build this casserole of data. And you're going to have to have somebody with a skill set in data science to start to draw those.
Trends and correlations out of that, you know, that big data. So there's the measurement piece, which is going to be really big. And also you're doing, you're probably gonna try to look for some trends in your qualitative feedback. So some people might have heard of the term voice of customer program.
That's a traditional program that CX teams of old would put in place to listen to things that people were saying on across all different channels. So that's still a part of how you inform, you know, research for, you know, the CX of the future. So you're going to want to pull that in there too and start doing sentiment analysis on that and text analytics on that.
So it's a little bit of the same ethnography that we might be doing, but a lot focused on metrics and measurement.
Erin: [00:25:23] great. So true. Sort of qualitative, quantitative mixed methods. Active, passive.
JH: [00:25:31] I'm picturing a big cork board with strings all over it and people just trying to connect the dots.
Kim: [00:25:35] I would say that the passive collection of the data and stuff tends to be. The first part of the flow. And then you look at that and look for things that you want to investigate further. And then you're probably going out in the field and trying to pinpoint and focus on understanding truly what, you know, the issues that are happening at those points in time that you have the clues from the passive data coming in.
Erin: [00:26:02] I imagine the segmentation is really important here too. Right? Because especially if we're talking about a large enterprise, truly trying to undergo, you know, transformation across, you know, many business units and departments and so on. You have more than one customer profile. You have many more than one journey.
And to your point, you don't have to tackle them all at once. Right. But even so, getting to that right level of granularity, which is, I'm sure there's a whole other episode itself, but finding that right level of granularity, this is a meaningful journey. This is a meaningful segment, a meaningful job to be done, whatever it is that we're going to zero in on and focusing your data collection and analysis
Kim: [00:26:42] Absolutely. Yeah. The transformation and that the CX transformation and getting the operational stuff in place is one thing. That's done in order to allow yourself to operate differently. And then once you have that in place, you can say, okay, Where's the business opportunity, you know, what's our most high touch customer journey.
What customer journey is brings us the most business value. You there's a lot of different components that could go into making that decision. And then of course then narrowing it down even further, which sector, which segment are we going to focus on for strategic reasons and definitely start small and build from there.
But zero in on that journey and those key segments. And then you can start to build that research program specifically for those. And then once that's in place, you can kind of start to spin up. Other instances of that for the future you know, increase in your scope of focus.
JH: [00:27:40] There's a related question from Brett in the Q and a about. You know, like what is a realistic time frame for a large organization to make this type of culture change? And maybe interesting way to frame, because I'd imagine it's contextual not the answer for you, but the question like what's like the short end, like, can you make progress in this in a few months or is it like just the data gathering and everything else takes so long that it's a long journey?
Kim: [00:28:01] it's going to be a long journey. No matter where you are. Here's the thing. Smaller companies have fewer barriers. So if you're at a company of like 5,000 people or less 3000 people or less, there's going to be less people to connect and less technology dependencies to deal with. So probably if you are very proactive.
And well bought in the stakeholder group. You could maybe start seeing change within a year. If it's more of a let's test the waters and be a little more conservative, it's going to be probably more like two or three years. The larger the organization gets the longer this gets because there's more risk involved.
So there might be an entire, you know, period leading up to even deciding to institute this type of initiative of doing research and trying to figure out what the investment is going to look like, what the trade-off is going to be. Because a lot of times, if you're refocusing the way you prioritize work, you're probably going to see a period where you're not getting the immediate return like you did when you were totally focused on, on just marketing, for example.
So. The bigger the company, the more time they're going to have to take, to plan out and decide if this is even a thing. And then D again, depending on how proactive they are with it, it could be two to five years before I think it's mature enough where it's changed now. So it's a long game and that's okay.
Erin: [00:29:38] The customer journey of customer journeys as a whole.
Got a well-liked question here about talking with the CEO and they'd say users don't really know what they want when you're trying to introduce CX UX processes. How do you address this? The classic faster horse, right?
JH: [00:29:54] He's asking for a friend, by the way, we want to be clear
Erin: [00:29:56] Yes, for sure.
Kim: [00:29:58] Yeah. So I guess I think I understand what the question is like, how do you start to build buy-in with stakeholders on the value of research?
Erin: [00:30:09] yeah. And that, yeah, like, you know, we could ask our users what they want their journey to look like, but they don't know. Right. Like if we just do what they tell us, are we going to make more money? You know?
Kim: [00:30:20] I think that sentiment is true. One thing that I will say when it comes to working with these leadership roles in starting having this discussion I would say don't go back and say, we need a CX transformation that, that is always, you know, met with death on arrival.
I think the best focus for people who want to try to influence this type of large change is to focus on helping leadership, understand the business value that could be had by being more proactive about the quality of the journeys we're building, you know, organically rather than being reactive about fixing things later.
That's really sort of the focus on in your communication, but that's also a long game too. It's going to be showing proof, bringing you know, showing value at a small scale and not just saying, you know, Oh, we need to go and do a transformation.
JH: [00:31:23] It feels like a case too, where like a really good story around a horrible journey. Somebody experienced probably goes a long way, right of, Hey, this is somebody who tried to reset their password. Because of a security alert, they got the two factor, text thing and they never got the text message.
So then the site prompted them to call into user support. They called the number that we told them to call. We didn't recognize their phone number. They got put on hold. Right. And like, and you can tell it probably a real story where like, this person spent two hours trying to get their account back cause they forgot their password.
And it's all because some of these systems didn't talk to each other or whatever. And like that feels maybe more powerful than like, can we, Hey, can we do like a
Kim: [00:32:00] Right. I think, yes. That's a valuable component of trying to educate and build buy-in on this, on the need for changing the way we work. Unfortunately, in my experience, and for a lot of the people that I interviewed for my research about this, they really didn't get much traction by focusing on users, you know, poor experiences, which tends to be more helpful.
And I think in conjunction with the empathetic evidence is showing how that poor experience resulted in loss of potential purchases or loss of customers. Yeah. So for example, one lady that I interviewed worked for a credit union, who they sold, you know, they had home loans and they did this customer research to build a journey map and found that the biggest issue was that these people, these home buyers, they're really excited, right.
To buy a home and. They apply for this loan. And it could take anywhere from 12 to 20 days before they heard anything from the company. And when they did, it was just like a very poorly communicated notification. And she kept pushing about how poor this experience was and they just weren't moved by it.
Because they're focusing on the KPIs and metrics that they're responsible for. So what, and what she ended up doing was saying. Okay. Our market research shows us that people like to consolidate their financial products with a single servicer and all these people that are getting home loans are not purchasing additional products from us because the experience is so bad.
So if we can make that first experience really good with them, you know, Help them see the help be transparent about where their loan is in process. Let them know when to expect something, be a little more, you know, positive and exciting with the communications. We send them when they're approved, then we're going to be able to bundle products.
And that's what it was that moved. The stakeholders were. Oh, okay. I see if we want to sell them more products. And sort of pushed these bundles to these people. We have to make sure that we do better than what we've been doing, what the first product that they're buying from us and that's what it took.
And then they started then had projects and priorities around improving that experience for, from that conversation.
Erin: [00:34:42] uh, Good question here from Zoe. How does this work in B2B companies where users don't necessarily equal customers? In other words, you have your buyers of the product, and then you have your end users. And sometimes they're the same
often they are.
Kim: [00:34:56] Yeah, good question. I think you're in that situation, you've got two different types of journeys that you need to be thinking about. Some of it is going to be the experience that your buyers have as they're aware and researching and sort of working with your company to potentially purchase, you know, a contract or whatever it may be with you.
So that's going to be one experience that you're focused on and the next one is going to be connecting and building good journeys for the actual end users of whatever product or service it is. So. Although you've got a couple of different journeys and ways to have to focus your design. The transformation itself is going to be beneficial for both of those purposes.
Getting your operational structure in place, that's going to allow you to conduct research proactively and collaborate differently can influence. The, you know, the quality of how you design for your buyers and how you design for the end users. You could potentially even start in and prioritize one area.
Cause it just depends how your organization is structured. And you know, if you've got teams that really focus on the buyer aspect of things, you might be able to kind of use that as your beta project and show value there and then say, okay, let's. Recreate what we did here for our end customer experience and sort of connect those two departments by applying the same transformation methodologies.
JH: [00:36:39] Cool. Let's let's do a two-parter here. What is the major difference between UX and CX and then is UX a part of CX
Kim: [00:36:47] Yeah. Good questions. I know we're not lacking any terminology in this field, right? So the way that I see the difference between UX and CX is a matter of scope. Back in the day when UX was coined, the term was coined, it was really broad in nature where it was really referencing no matter what type of experience it was, the user experience is supposed to be good over time.
As UX started being adopted by a lot of companies and applied in practice. It came to have a really low, a more limited definition or people usually talk about it specific to product teams, interaction, level design. So like single interactions, maybe it's just, you know, when I log onto a website to do a thing and more like interface level stuff.
So that's when people talk about UX, that's typically the scope, but. We have larger scopes of experience. We have customer journeys, which is made up of many related interactions as people try to achieve a larger goal. So if it's purchasing health insurance, I'm going to do my research on various devices.
First, maybe I'm calling a company, maybe I'm, you know, receiving ads and mailers and things in the mail. And before I actually decided to purchase. And so that's a journey and that scope of experiences larger and it takes different things to make it good. And then there's an even larger expense. There's just like the relationship level of experience.
So, you know, the experience I have being a customer of my. Mobile phone service provider over the course of 10 years. So those broader scopes of experiences, what people typically refer to as CX, however, they're all based on the same notion of user centered design. so in the future, I think UX and CX are gonna start to merge into a more unified practice at companies nowadays.
UX and CX are separate, but that's part of what kind of goes into this. This change in mindset of CX transformation is trying to unify and saying, we can't just have our CX and product or UX and product people doing one thing and then have everybody else doing other things because that's, what's resulting in these poor customer journeys and fragmentation.
So in the future, I think that UX is going to be sort of. UN under a CX umbrella, no matter what you call it, the label, you know, isn't exactly important, but they should all be working toward a single unified strategy of the customer experiencing different scopes.
Erin: [00:39:35] Yeah, that'd be really interesting to see how that changes organizational structures in the future. You're starting to see, like, we're starting to see more centralization of insights teams, right. Where you bring research and data science together.
Kim: [00:39:50] Sounds similar to kind of what I was saying with this, with the
Erin: [00:39:53] yeah, exactly. Yeah. So it's all right. We got one here from Karen. If you don't have journeys in place yet, should you focus on getting those in place and then jump into this type of work? So it's sort of an order of operations question. We talked about it a little bit before, but you start with the journey you have right.
Get those in place first important to understand what you have first. Is that an important first step or where do you recommend
Kim: [00:40:21] I think it's going to be situational. I will say. When you say, if we don't have journeys in place, I'm thinking you probably just don't have the research and journey map in place around your journeys. You've got journeys. People are interacting
with you already.
So I would say if you haven't done journey mapping for your key journeys already, that's usually an indicator that you're more on the early or less mature end of Readiness for this type of change.
So I would say yes, start with doing your journey level research and looking at what you're currently doing with your experience. If you know, you're in a position where you're already journey mapping, and you're already doing this work to fix your journeys, but you're realizing this is reactive and.
And we don't have, or we're not built to collaborate and fix the underlying organizational issues that we need to fix, to fix the journey for the user. That's what usually starts to happen. You'll do the research and you're like, wait, but the big problem is that our databases aren't connected and.
I as a UX designer have no power to fix that. And th this is a larger change than just this journey that, or a larger issue than just this journey. This is an issue with all of our journeys, because none of our databases are connected. If you're starting to have those conversations, then it's probably an indicator that now it's time to start thinking about transformation.
And at that point you probably have already touched. On your journeys already. So you should know, you know, which ones are important and where you want to focus.
JH: [00:41:59] Marianne has a question about who's involved in the transformation. Is it something where you need external consultants or influencers, or can you have an internal, you know, C-level type champion? How do you see teams typically approach it?
Kim: [00:42:09] Yeah, well, both I've seen both approaches If your organization and your C-level stakeholders are what's the, if they're prioritizing this and they're excited about it and they're pushing this mandate on their own, I don't think you need a consultant. I think the, you know, a consultant could be helpful to really help with their expertise on knowing which changes to make and help that help.
The executives figure out some of the first steps in building this transformation. But I think the most important step is just knowing that you do need to change. However, if the executives are a little less certain, and they're still trying to decide if this is the route that they should go, because this is typically what happens is executives know it's important and they know they should be doing it, but they really don't know where to start.
That's where I think a consultant can be valuable because the consultant could come in and just provide that direction. But if they've got their, if they seem a little more motivated on their own. The information is out there. You could, you know, put a CX team in place and pull some people in who do have the insight, as long as it has executive backing.
I think that it could be successful that way, too.
Erin: [00:43:28] yeah, that's related to Samuel's question here, which is just, you know, you've made the decision, we're going to do this. We're on board. What's the first step? And so to your point, like you have, people are kind of like on the I don't know. I want to do it. I don't know how I'm scared. That's where a consultant can be useful.
Maybe we've gotten just past that hump. Okay. Fine. Yes. Yes. We're going to do it. This is the year 2021. Now what do you do?
Kim: [00:43:52] So the answer to this is kind of a little bit anticlimactic because really what you should do, it sounds really trite, but you need to get it down on paper, write a vision statement. And it really just is a short statement that shows your commitment and your alignment. So saying like, you know what, in a short way, I can't think of one off the top of my head, but what, you're your purpose for the customers?
You know? I don't even know if I have any at my fingertips right now, but the kind of experience you want to bring to your customers and prioritize. Customer experience and say that in a way that fits with your brand and your, you know, general brand vision and start to build responsibilities.
So assigning roles to some of these key responsibilities and formalizing that, because what you want to do is start to build a commitment and Accountability. And that comes with just really trying to formalize your vision and your strategy in your plan so that people can't turn and make a decision that is in conflict with that aligned vision strategy and blaming.
JH: [00:45:15] Cool. We've a final question here from Paul around some metrics again, you mentioned C-SAT and NPS, would you put I actually don't know those metrics us S U S in that bucket. Is that any more or less valid in a, in these types of measurements?
Kim: [00:45:27] I'm not well, verse was sus either. I don't know if that's a perception metric. I think it's more like, a framework for evaluation.
Erin: [00:45:36] It's a system usability scale. I just Googled it.
Kim: [00:45:40] Yeah, I think you see, I think you land on it. I think you land on it through evaluation of various things. I don't, I mean, short answer, even though I don't know, you know, I'm not super well versed in that specific metric. I don't think that. Including, it would be detrimental at all because really what the whole point of metrics, when it comes to your quality of your customer journey is the more, and the more multi-pronged you have the better, because it, it gives you this sort of living organism and you're constantly watching to see, okay, I see a pain point here, or I see strength here.
And if you get really close and intimate with all that data, you'll start noticing those things. And when you pull this lever, like you've made this change in the customer journey, then you see changes and it's, then that reinforces your understanding of all how those metrics relate and react. So if there's a, you know, a metric like PSAs that you're already using, For, you know, I don't know if it's a touch point specific metric or if it's more of a journey level metric.
I think that certainly would be valuable addition data
Erin: [00:46:57] it in the casserole.
JH: [00:46:58] Yeah.
I like that. I am just picturing somebody walking around and being like this journey sauce. Like we got a sus journey here that we need to figure out.
Erin: [00:47:07] Great. Well, we answered all the questions, any parting thoughts for everybody before we say goodbye, parting words of wisdom on CX UX, and most importantly, sus
Kim: [00:47:18] I think what I like to leave people with is just don't get overwhelmed. I know this topic seems so large and unapproachable, but the really at the core of it it's about trying to connect the way we work in a more connected way and use journey level data to fuel how we work rather than qualitatively evaluating journeys, and then trying to fix things afterwards.
So, you know, if you can start stepping in that direction in any way, you're going to start to have influence.
JH: [00:47:58] awesome.
Erin: [00:48:00] Thanks so much everybody.
JH: [00:48:01] Thanks for hanging out with us.
Carrie Boyd is a UXR content wiz, formerly at User Interviews. She loves writing, traveling, and learning new things. You can typically find her hunched over her computer with a cup of coffee the size of her face.