A process that is geared toward your end customers
In the first part of our series, we introduced the Customer Experience Framework, a framework for approximating the best possible CX and what elements to consider. In the second part, we want to reveal what a process for aligning with your end customer can look like:
- First of all: Start and make mistakes quickly!
Follow the “fail fast” principle that’s familiar from agility: The road will be rocky and it’s not possible to avoid mistakes. That’s why it’s important to make these mistakes quickly and at the beginning and to learn from them. Don’t let the fear of mistakes lead to delays! This does not mean, conversely, that we should start without consideration. Mistakes happen so that you can use these findings to put the pedal to the metal on the next level.
- Start (really!) with the end customer!
Start with your vision and mission and examine your customers’ place in it. Use this to derive your (digitalization) strategy in the form of projects and functions. Use KPIs to see how you can achieve your goals. This makes iterative control possible. Only with proper customer insights can you adjust to your customers’ needs. Therefore, the next step is to conduct interviews with your customers. Based on these, it is possible to develop personas and inspiring customer journeys; these will turn your customers into fans. This, in turn, will turn your fans into brand ambassadors.
- Control your projects in CX-oriented fashion using requirements management from strategy to code
Using typical requirements management, you can now develop the functions into increasingly smaller agile artifacts:
Customer Experience Framework: Steering
The speed along the process and the number of people involved increases from left to right. A project such as an e-commerce portal may have 15 essential functions. This can quickly generate a three-digit number of user stories and hundreds of tasks that the development team wants to process in a continuous flow. It also means the errors that take place further to the left in the process, or a lack of decisions or prioritizations, cause correspondingly serious problems further along in the process. Special attention is therefore devoted to this process, and above all communication between the various parties involved, across all decision-making bodies. The product owner (PO) plays a particularly vital role here, for this person is the central point of contact between requirements on the one hand and development on the other.
- Work in agile fashion and create an MVP!
Agile approaches have long been the standard in digitalization, and everyone is already familiar with the concept of an MVP. It is definitely important to think iteratively and to approach core functionalities first. However, the concept of the MVP needs to be clarified. An MVP is characterized by trade-offs between a fast go-live and necessary functionality. In addition, an MVP must be flexible and adaptable. If conditions change. If all functions of an MVP are required (completely), this is not an MVP, but a product!
In the case of e-commerce platforms, you usually start with the order route, the product detail page, which is created with all important product information, and of course with the commerce functions. Next come the most important components, including MyAccount, the shopping cart, and the checkout. The pre-defined customer journeys can then be incorporated into the system and gradually built up.
- Optimize and scale after the go-live
Now that your MVP has gone live and the hypercare phase is over, it’s time to expand and optimize your system in a meaningful way. To encourage greater acceptance and create a better CX, but also to increase ROI. Depending on your own goals, functionalities are set up step-by-step. This also includes roll-outs to other countries/brands, follow-up on further functions such as the integration of IoT, PIM, or MAM systems, and the optimization of digital marketing. The aim should always be to generate the highest possible business value with the built-in functionalities. Depending on how many people are involved and the number of projects, the processes and methods can now be scaled. For this purpose, for example, the SAFe Model is a suitable tool for synchronizing and timing various projects and lines of action.