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Saturday, February 21, 2015

What Every CEO Needs to Know About UX with Dr. Eric Schaffer

What every CEO needs to know about creating a user experience practice with Dr. Eric Schaffer. For more Information on HFI;

CEO's are going through a transition that just has to make their heads explode.
It used to be that success was about getting powerful hardware in place or efficient software or great marketing offers.

But today things are suddenly very different. In 2012, Forrester found that 97 percent
of companies surveyed considered customer experience as the top strategic priority, and 28 percent considered it the primary priority. Seventy-five percent of companies hope to make customer experience a competitive differentiator.

Today, hardware and software and offers are undifferentiated. Marketing devolves to offering customers a four-slice toaster to convert. But then the competition offers a six-slice toaster, and the margins get vanishingly thin. So we differentiate today on customer experience. We roll that buzzword around a lot, but what does it mean.

For an executive, experience in hardware and software and offers and toasters, it might not be clear. Sure, in the physical spaces, we make stores with nice appointments and attentive staff, and we train our call center folks to be empathetic, but most of the customer experience challenge today is in the digital channels. And what does it mean there?

There's a profession called usability or user experience engineering, which focuses exactly on this topic. There's a billion dollars' worth of research on how to optimize human computer interactions. There are graduate degrees and training and certifications and methods and tools and standards, and a load of folks who put up a sign to say they do user experience design, but they actually specialize more in something else. User experience engineers systematically create designs that are efficient, accurate, self-evident, fun, and compelling.

You can measure the impact and business results, like throughput or number of calls to the call center or conversion rate. But if you're a CEO who understands the importance of customer experience, you have one big scary challenge. You won't know how to set up a practice in customer experience design, and a lot of what you learned from hardware and software and offers won't work.

You might make motivational speeches about customer experience, but motivation is not the problem. No one is trying to make online banking hard. You might set clear goals with your team, and the result is often a scrum of executives all trying to own customer
experience without any idea what to do with it. You might buy some training,
but the training staff come out into an environment that's not ready, and they soon forget their skills as they get no chance to use them.

So you hire a super strong expert in customer experience design. But while they're great at designing experiences, they don't know how to set up an industrial strength practice for designing experiences. Then you look for a consultancy that claims to do user experience design, but you actually get a graphics firm that makes lovely pictures that are very impressive but doesn't get you where you need to be. But before you give up, recognize that a sustainable customer experience design practice can only happen with a set of things in place. It's just like a hospital. It happens because of organizational structures and standards and surgeons and pipes. You hire an expert in setting up hospitals. You need a consulting partner that will help your company to set up a serious sustainable industrial strength practice.

To download a copy of this drawing and the related UX paper, go to

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