People often think my job is fun and sexy.
Yes, it is fun. Because I get to talk to consumers, and prototype with them in solving the business problems. It’s fun because I get to make sense out of tacit data such as dialogues and observation, and translate it into tangible actions. I bring this insight into solutions across all the aspects of design – content, structure, function, language and aesthetics.
Truth be told, experience design work isn’t all that sexy, especially when it comes to the financial services industry. In fact, it’s quite painful. Yes, I said ‘painful’.
‘Experience design’ starts with understanding customers and their pain points. Pain points refer to any negative experiences they may encounter when they interact with a company.
Once pain points are identified, we need to eliminate as much as possible and to turn the interaction into a desirable customer experience.
Removing pain points requires a broad range of painful actives, such as: convincing people who have countless reasons not to change the way things are, spending hours and days to define what can be removed, having a long discussion with legal and compliance officers, and pushing the boundaries of how touch points can be designed.
One thing that became apparent to me is this:
The more pain you absorb, the less pain there is left for the customer.
Most customer pain points such as ‘hard to use’, ‘complex to understand’, ‘not convenient to use’, ‘too much information’, and ‘feeling overwhelmed’ are the direct result of companies’ not working hard enough to get rid of customers’ pain.
Customer pain is in inverse proportion to the pain that companies go through when designing customer experience. How much efforts do you put to absorb customers’ pain?
The glamorous part of my job is this.
When all – at least, most – of the pain is absorbed by our dedication and hard work, the customer experience becomes useful, easy and enjoyable. This has a direct bottom-line result for our business. (Yes, I have personally observed and experienced this glamorous part; it isn’t mythical!)
Be a pain sponge.
The more pain you suck up, the simpler your customers’ experience will be.
This is the key philosophy you need to cultivate in yourself and your company’s culture. This is the mantra that our Experience Design team in the bank aspire to, we do have this pain sponge in our office as a reminder. 🙂
Speaking at GCOE Annual Summit 2012 in Singtel – Asia’s leading communications group,
operating in Singapore and Australia