CX Consulting 101 – Top Principles of Customer Experience Design

Posted On November 25, 2019
By Tim Douek

Throughout Strativity’s 17+ years in CX consulting, we’ve developed fundamental principles and frameworks to help our clients avoid roadblocks and accelerate success with their customer experience initiatives — and now we’re sharing what we’ve learned with CX leaders like you.

With this third post in our ‘CX Consulting 101’ series, we look at how to excel at customer experience design by focusing on your customers’ feelings, co-creating with front-line personnel, and providing actionable summaries to propel your new strategy.

If you’d like to start at the beginning, see part one of our lessons from CX Consulting series on How to Align Your Organization to Activate Change and part two on Using CX Research to Understand Your Current State.

How purposeful customer experience design will elevate your organization’s performance

The aim with CX design is to envision a model for service that delivers exceptional experiences, meeting and surpassing your customers’ expectations, organization wide. While some individuals are naturally more attuned to deliver memorable moments, for everyone to deliver in a consistent manner, on a consistent basis, you must piece together what the touchpoints for your organization should look like and articulate your vision in a digestible way.

Especially as organizations grow, we find that deliberately designing the experiences they want every member of their team to deliver is the most scalable way to ensure a consistent experience for all customers. 

Take a human-centered approach to CX

Think about a great customer experience you’ve had. It may have occurred in a restaurant, online, or in your local supermarket… What was it about that interaction that made you remember it? 

There might have been some personal recognition that made you feel welcome, an attention to detail that made you feel special, or an issue that was resolved perfectly to great relief. Chances are, whatever it was, you remember the interaction because it made you feel  happy, grateful, satisfied, cared for, appreciated… you get the point.

Our lives are filled with interactions and we tend to remember the really great ones. Customers are much more likely to be loyal to, advocate for, and spend more with companies that make them feel positively than those who deliver a middle-of-the-road or unmemorable experience. Great interactions truly pay off!

So keep your customers, as humans, in mind when building what your CX should look like, and remember that feeling is a key variable to success. This human-centric approach applies to the employee side too, which leads us to our recommended method for CX design: co-creation.

Invite your organization into the CX design process

Once you’ve learned about the current state of your CX and your different customer groups it’s time to co-create the experiences you want to deliver at every touchpoint.  

Why co-create your customer experience? From our experience consulting on CX initiatives we’ve found that nobody knows your customer experience gaps, opportunities, successes, and failures better than your front-line team members. Want to know what’s going on in the kitchen? Ask the sous chef or the dishwasher.

It’s not necessarily that your senior management and leadership team isn’t plugged into your customer experience, but they likely aren’t experiencing it in the same way as your more directly customer-facing team members. Additionally, if you’re planning to ask your team to bring differentiated experiences to life by changing what they do and how they do it (hint: you will be!), you’ll want to have them involved and feeling respected every step of the way.

Co-create and innovate your ideal customer experience

Your co-creation workshop should include your Current State Customer Journey (stages and touchpoints) and your data / insights regarding customers’ moments of truth and pain points.  

Assign a stage in your customer journey to different small groups of attendees and ask them to articulate:

  1. What might an exceptional customer experience at each touchpoint look like?
  2. How should each touchpoint make your customers feel?
  3. What needs to change to achieve this (i.e. actions, words, process, team collaboration, systems, tools, training….)?


For a prime example, take a look at our two-day workshop with Dorel Juvenile deigning their future CX:

At the end of the workshop, you should have the makings of an ‘Ideal Customer Journey’ that you can reflect on and plan towards implementing it. You’ll want to prioritize your experience enhancements and consider the business case for change associated with each.  

Document your customer experience to summarize and socialize

Just because you’ve designed your customer experience, doesn’t mean you have the tools and strategy behind it to build toward activation. You’ll want to follow your co-creation workshop with next steps to make the ideas truly actionable most notably, through an ‘Innovation Blueprint’ and ‘Experience Guide’.

An Innovation Blueprint is a succinct, evocative summary document where you outline what has been prioritized for change. An Experience Guide communicates a game plan for the actions your team needs to focus on to bring your Ideal Customer Journey to life. This type of guidance begins the process of aligning employee mindsets and behaviors to achieve this desired future state.

Your communications shouldn’t only focus on the ‘what’, but should anchor everything around the ‘who’ and ‘why’. We all want to know why doing something is important and the value of making these adjustments (the reason behind the change).

Share your CX Blueprint, Experience Guide, and other materials with your team, and get their feedback and buy-in. Having intrinsic motivation and a sense of agency is key for employee engagement, and a strategy can’t achieve anything if people aren’t willing to get behind it.

Lead the charge on customer experience design

Lead the charge on customer experience design by centering how you want your customers to feel during each touchpoint and co-creating your ideal customer journey with front-line personnel. After the design process, articulate your findings and layout the ‘asks’ of your team to bring your customer experience to life and don’t forget to always lead with the ‘why’!

We look forward to sharing more great tips with you in our next post in this CX consulting series on winning ways to activate and sustain customer experience change.


Part Four: Mobilize Your Employees to Deliver Better CX