The CX by Design Process: Days 1–10: Defining the Problem

The CX by Design Process: Days 1–10: Defining the Problem

The CX by Design Process: Days 1–10: Defining the Problem 2000 600 Lis Hubert

We’ve talked about why clients call us in and what our process entails. At this point, we’ve had a preliminary consultation with our new client. Now we’re having our first official meeting as a CX partner. 

This is Day 1 in the CX by Design process. It’s where we start a two-week journey of understanding every aspect of the client’s problem, which includes deep diving into related operational processes, team responsibilities, and systems that support it all.

In this article, we’ll explain what we do during the first two 5-day sprints that make up the discovery and focus phase of any project. The main goal of this phase is to bring clarity to the problem and identify its underlying causes. This is also when we set the course for our working relationship with this client.

Days 1–10: Defining the problem(s)

As CX consultants, our goal is to:

  • Use business and human-centered design expertise to help clients create the best experience.
  • Blend technology and psychology to solve problems, fill gaps, and help clients thrive.
  • Empower clients to delight their customers, streamline their operations, reduce unnecessary costs, and improve revenue growth.

Exactly how we do that depends on the project, the problem, and the organization involved. But it always starts with listening, empathizing, and understanding. Let’s look at the main steps in this process.

  1. Decoding the real issues

As we mentioned in the previous article, clients often come to us with one problem – but we usually find that there’s a deeper issue causing that problem. This doesn’t mean our clients don’t understand their own business. It’s just that they tend to focus on the symptom rather than the cause. Here are some examples:

What the client says they needWhat the client really meansWhat the client needs
Omnichannel everything“Our messaging and brand experience is fragmented and ineffective.”Align and integrate touchpoints
Team Expansion“There are slowdowns and inefficiencies somewhere, and our teams are struggling.”Streamline processes
New tools“Our current tools and systems aren’t supporting our goals.”Integrate teams, processes, and systems
Standardized processes“Our processes aren’t efficiently aligned across departments.”Understanding, evaluating, and improving current processes
Customer engagement“We’re not connecting with our customers very well.”Understand, qualify, and empower customers

To understand what’s causing the problem, we spend a lot of time talking with our clients. This means we ask the right questions and, more importantly, practice active listening so we can fully understand what the real problems are.

Mapping the customer journey

Next, together with our clients, we map their most common customer journeys. Usually, organizations have multiple customer journeys; for example, you might have one journey for buying a product online, one for buying it from a representative, one for the return process, and so on.

We’ve already covered understanding and mapping the customer journey in detail. For more information, check out:

Outlining company processes and systems

Now that we’ve mapped the external part of the process – the customer journey(s) – we examine the internal part of the process. These are the systems, tools, processes, and employees involved in the problem area. To do this, we talk to the teams involved. We spend time job-shadowing the employees so that we can really understand what their work involves. Once we’re satisfied that we fully grasp the entire picture, we use service blueprints or other appropriate methods to map the process.

Identifying critical problems and growth goals

Next, we sit down with our clients and discuss our findings. This is when we align as partners on what problems need to be addressed immediately, what should be handled next, and what can wait until later. We also help our client set practical, realistic improvement goals. This means developing a timeline and a roadmap they can use to continue their growth after our partnership has ended.

Aligning KPIs

Now that clear goals, timelines, and plans are in place, we work with our client to identify and start measuring the right key performance indicators (KPIs). This may seem like a small part of the overall project, but it’s essential to success; without the right metrics, it’s very hard to chart progress and know whether you’re successful. 

Establishing the working relationship

By the end of Day 10 (aka Week 2), we’ve built the foundation of our relationship with our client. They know what to expect from us and what the rhythm of this project will be. By quickly setting expectations and building trust, we let our client know they can count on us.

Up Next: Weeks 3–10: Getting to work

Now that we’ve gotten the complete picture – and have developed a roadmap for the project – it’s time to get to work. Weeks 2 through 10 are when we start guiding our clients through the changes they need to make. We’ll discuss exactly what that phase looks like in the next article.

About the author

Lis Hubert

Lis is an acclaimed design and strategy thought leader, writer, and speaker with extensive expertise in Digital Strategy, Customer Experience, Information Architecture, and Design Thinking.

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