How Customer Experience Depends on Design Thinking

The quality of the customer experience makes the difference between success and failure in the modern marketplace. As companies wrestle with the issue of how to improve the customer journey, design thinking is proving to be an invaluable tool in creating systems to better serve customers.

Meeting Customer Expectations

Consumers expect frictionless, memorable customer experiences. Businesses that can’t meet those expectations will find themselves at a disadvantage as customers turn to competitors who can.

Writing in Forbes, Yuri Kruman emphasizes the importance of customer experience in a culture that requires instant gratification:

To reach and engage a customer, brands must deliver one or some of the following: novelty, delight, a form of greater health or wealth, improvement in a business process through cost savings or time, increase in quality, organization or convenience, and/or a vision or mission that compels the customer to take action, whether in the form of a purchase or by gainful influence with others.

The first step in meeting customer expectations? Understanding them. Design thinking is a process to investigate and clearly understand the problems and expectations of real customers. It can help businesses avoid wasting effort on pursuing solutions that have no bearing on what customers actually want.

Designing the Customer Experience

Design thinking requires thoroughly understanding the needs of customers. Quoted in an article on, Forrester principal analyst Ryan Hart said that companies can’t just make assumptions about what customers want:

“Empathy is key to this process, and that’s about putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. This involves going out and meeting your customers, observing them and talking to them. But you need to understand both the observable and non-observable needs and often, expectations are part of the non-observable.”

Once the needs and desires of customers and the problems they encounter are defined, design thinking can be applied to iteratively create solutions to address them. This could be as simple as finding ways to reduce customer waiting times for services or products by giving the option to check-in with a smartphone app.

It could also take the form of behind-the-scenes data analysis to allow restaurants to offer personalized service to repeat customers, such as recommending their favorite drinks or dishes on a return visit or keeping track of their dietary restrictions.

What We Do

At LMS, we can help your organization understand customer needs and apply design thinking to help develop the customized solutions to meet them. Want to learn more? Contact us by phone at 800.257.5902 or via email at


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