Designing the Customer Experience

In 2002, fifteen years ago, David Kelley stopped calling his design company Ideo’s approach “design” and instead named it as “design thinking.” This would become one of the most important ideas of the 21st century. But design thinking did not come out of nowhere.

In the 1990s an approach called ‘designing the customer experience’ was developed at the Human Factors department of BT Laboratories in Ipswich. In the early 1990s the focus was on human-computer interaction, a discipline mostly based in university research departments, with little connection to marketing departments, product managers, service centres and business strategists. The process ‘designing the customer experience’ was created to reposition Human Factors and user-centred design at the very heart of the product life-cycle within organisations, thus helping to lay the groundwork for the development of design thinking, service design, customer journey mapping and concepts such as customer success. Continue reading “Designing the Customer Experience”

A Deeper Definition of Customer Experience

In 1992 I started work at BT Laboratories, British Telecom’s research and development technology park as a psychologist in the Human Factors Department, within it’s Research Department which also contained the Speech Recognition and Futurology departments, headed up by Peter Cochrane, one of the UK’s leading futurologists. Along with Xerox PARC, the BT Human Factors team was one of the largest in the world, and unlike more academic teams based in universities, we worked extremely closely with our marketing colleagues, who were our internal clients. In 1995 I co-authored a paper Delivering Competitive Edge in which Mike Atyeo and I wrote:

Usability is a key business driver and user-centred techniques are emerging to deliver this competitive edge. It is essential to move away from simple product design, beyond the integrated service design of product, packaging, documentation, and after-sales service, to the comprehensive design of the customer experience. Continue reading “A Deeper Definition of Customer Experience”