How to Use Design Thinking to Boost Your Digital Transformation Journey
Few initiatives incite as much stress for business owners as digital transformation. While the potential to improve internal operations and customer experience is high, major disruption is just as likely.
CEOs and CTOs might spend months constructing elaborate transformation initiatives just to watch them fall short of their potential. Ambitious plans to boost efficiency and satisfaction in the customer experience fail to move the needle.
Often, flawed strategy design is to blame. That’s why a growing number of enterprises are resorting to design thinking to put the customer at the forefront of their transformation strategy.
Design thinking is human-centered thinking
Parsons New School found that 75% of organizations report that they use design thinking to guide their digital strategies. Design thinking or human-centric design is emerging as one of the most effective ways to navigate the disruptive technological landscape.
But what is design thinking?
Design thinking is a model of decision making that focuses on the needs of the customer when creating products, services, and processes. Within the context of digital transformation, design thinking emphasizes how technology can be used to benefit the end-user.
Services that overlook the needs of end-users rarely satisfy customers or fulfill their needs. Design thinking puts the customer at the heart of digital transformation efforts to improve the customer experience.
The five stages of design thinking
Design thinking emphasizes the human-facing components of digital transformation and examines how technology can be used to improve the customer experience. There are five core stages of design thinking that enterprises should use to drive digital transformation forward:
- Empathize – Build an understanding of users and their motivations by watching their behavior
- Define – Define which user pain points you need to address
- Ideate – Brainstorm solutions that will address the pain points of your users
- Prototype – Create a prototype of the solution based on currently available information and customer feedback
- Test – Test the user experience with real users (refine and repeat until you build the end product).
Digital transformation should start and end with the customer’s experience in mind.
According to Oracle, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better brand experience. Understanding the needs and pain points of your customers is key to building a fulfilling customer experience and increasing revenue.
To empathize with your target audience, you need to research how they use your product and why. Gathering usage data, mapping out customer journeys and gathering feedback will help you understand what’s important to your customers and where the customer experience could be improved.
The deeper you understand their needs, the more effectively you can connect with them.
After researching your customer’s priorities, it is time to identify and define pain points to solve. For instance, if customers are expressing dissatisfaction with your customer support, developing a targeted goal to improve response times would be an ideal goal to implement.
At this stage, you’re looking to define a specific goal that you can achieve based on defined qualitative and quantitative metrics. A measurable goal will make it easier to check up on your progress throughout your transformation efforts.
Now that you’ve pinpointed a specific problem you’re trying to fix, you can start to brainstorm the best way to fix it. Brainstorming with your team can help to pool your experience together and discover how to leverage technology for your advantage.
For example, deploying an AI chatbot could enable your team to more quickly and efficiently handle customer queries. In this stage, it’s important to come up with a few solid potential solutions, and not dive into the first idea that arises. Having alternative solutions available will be a great help down the road.
After planning out a solution its time to start executing it. During the prototype stage, you can test your new solution on a small segment of users. Pay attention to how customers interact with the solution and whether it is effective at achieving your goal.
If the prototype doesn’t work, find out why not. Real customer feedback will inform you where your prototype works and where it needs improvement. The prototype stage is invaluable for preparing your product for dealing with live users.
Finally, you need to test the prototypes you created to prepare the end product. At this stage, you will also be developing a more sophisticated understanding of your customer’s pain points based on how valuable the prototype is to them. Use data on their usage as well as feedback to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Testing the end product allows you to make constant improvements and better solutions. It is essential to understand that your product is a continual work in process.
Use design thinking to build a customer-centric digital transformation strategy
While design thinking isn’t a fix-all solution, it is a useful model for building digital transformation initiatives. Giving extra thought to ways that you can improve the customer experience will pay dividends in terms of customer satisfaction, revenue, and retention.