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Just read this great article from strategy and business about addressing change.  I found the two points on culture change to be super poignant.  Be sure in change you’re taking a proper look at the current culture, then be sure you address it directly.  We are now working in my current change management occupation to amplify the behaviours we want to see continued.  Meaning we’re seeking ways to glorify the proper behaviours and encourage them to be replicated. Enjoy.

7. Assess the cultural landscape. Successful change programs pick up speed and intensity as they cascade down, making it critically important that leaders understand and account for culture and behaviors at each level of the organization. Companies often make the mistake of assessing culture either too late or not at all. Thorough cultural diagnostics can assess organizational readiness to change, bring major problems to the surface, identify conflicts, and define factors that can recognize and influence sources of leadership and resistance. These diagnostics identify the core values, beliefs, behaviors, and perceptions that must be taken into account for successful change to occur. They serve as the common baseline for designing essential change elements, such as the new corporate vision, and building the infrastructure and programs needed to drive change.

8. Address culture explicitly. Once the culture is understood, it should be addressed as thoroughly as any other area in a change program. Leaders should be explicit about the culture and underlying behaviors that will best support the new way of doing business, and find opportunities to model and reward those behaviors. This requires developing a baseline, defining an explicit end-state or desired culture, and devising detailed plans to make the transition.

Company culture is an amalgam of shared history, explicit values and beliefs, and common attitudes and behaviors. Change programs can involve creating a culture (in new companies or those built through multiple acquisitions), combining cultures (in mergers or acquisitions of large companies), or reinforcing cultures (in, say, long-established consumer goods or manufacturing companies). Understanding that all companies have a cultural center — the locus of thought, activity, influence, or personal identification — is often an effective way to jump-start culture change.

A consumer goods company with a suite of premium brands determined that business realities demanded a greater focus on profitability and bottom-line accountability. In addition to redesigning metrics and incentives, it developed a plan to systematically change the company’s culture, beginning with marketing, the company’s historical center. It brought the marketing staff into the process early to create enthusiasts for the new philosophy who adapted marketing campaigns, spending plans, and incentive programs to be more accountable. Seeing these culture leaders grab onto the new program, the rest of the company quickly fell in line.

See the other 8 Principles here

via 10 Principles of Change Management.

B2B Brands Using Social Media | Social Media Today

Go where the people are and engage them.  Simple as that.  This article had six great points about how B2B brands can use Social Media.  First one was the best, we had to share here. Tell a story, share a victory, make us care, or tell us about what good you’re doing in the world but engage us as humans and we’ll remember you and love you forever.  Article from Social Media Today follows:

Go where the people are and give them a reason to engage

The marketing mantra – go where your audience is – isn’t just for B2C brands. Business leaders are people too. They use social networks, comment on posts and share interesting content. And really, that is the key. B2B brands can use (and have used) social media to attract people’s attention. Maybe they’ve told a story, or set a challenge to overcome.

With social media, a whole world of engaging content is open to B2B companies. It’s not just about cold calling and promotional leaflets anymore. There are dozens of B2B businesses, large and small, that are excelling at social media marketing. To be successful, each one has had to plan every campaign thoroughly. What would a win look like? Did they have the resources to create and run the best campaign possible, and to deal with a spike in site traffic or new business?

These are just some of the questions that need answers before a business launches a social campaign, because if it strikes a chord, the results can be mind-blowing.

via B2B Brands Using Social Media | Social Media Today.

Love this article on Personas and how we’re using them today.  We could do so much better.

The Art Of Personas

WHAT DO CUSTOMERS REALLY WANT?

World Congress of Play

The concept of personas is at an odd crossroads right now. For a variety of reasons, the need to develop personas is at an all-time high for both B2B and B2C organizations alike. Simultaneously, there’s this bubbling (and baffling) idea that simply developing personas is a silver bullet to hitting the mark every time.

These are our two key takeaways directly from “The State of the Art of Personas,” a February 2013 Forrester Research report that’s worth reading by any organization that wants to ensure that it’s not simply guessing and hoping about what its customers need. The author, Senior Analyst Jonathan Browne, says: “Recently, shortsighted firms have wrongly dismissed personas as passé. But firms need tools for sharing customer understanding now more than ever. That’s because design challenges have become more complex than ever, spanning the channels and business silos that customers pass through on their journeys.”

Browne is right on the money. As we learned from our work with one of the world’s largest insurance companies, customers’ personas change as their needs change throughout their journey. For example, our policyholder interviews identified two major personas: one representing individuals more self-directed, price-sensitive and interested in the insurer’s online tools for selecting and managing policies, and a second with a preference for working more directly with the insurer’s agent.

But our research also revealed that customers’ personas morphed as insurance needs changed. For example, we found that the self-directed and price-sensitive persona quickly preferred the assistance of an insurance agent when faced with larger and more complex product purchases and use situations. Why the switch? Major events such as a totaled car or the biggest purchase of a lifetime prompted them to seek new types of sales and support channels that better met their needs at that moment.

Those kinds of insights were key for helping the insurance company empathize with its customers—to the point that it’s now better able to meet their needs even as they evolve. We cemented that empathy by putting faces on each persona via life-size cardboard cutouts rather than simply providing a slide deck with bullets describing their attributes.

Empathy is key for ensuring that clients actually use their persona research on a daily basis rather than simply tacking it to their cubicle walls and forgetting about it. It’s equally important to keep the client stakeholders in the loop every step of the way.

As Forrester’s report explains, Manifest “used a standard set of presentation materials to inform stakeholders about progress in the persona development process, explain the research approaches being used, and outline the next steps. This helped stakeholders understand the multiphase approach to developing personas and provided input from the perspective of the business. An advantage to this participatory approach is that stakeholders have confidence in the validity of personas when the time comes to use them.”

ProgressReportPersonas

Although personas are often pigeonholed as a B2C strategy, they’re equally valuable for B2B. If we look at our work with telecom and cloud computing providers, we see a pretty diverse group of personas: The CFO, for instance, will focus on how cloud computing enables the company to shift its infrastructure from a CapEx to OpEx model, while the CIO is interested in whether the cloud incurs tradeoffs in reliability and security. Personas are key for understanding the needs of each type of person who specifies, evaluates and authorizes a major purchase, as well as their expectations about support after the sale.

Ultimately, personas are the starting point in a journey toward products, services, sales channels, kiosks, mobile apps and everything else that businesses provide to their customers. And the best personas provide the deep, actionable insights that inspire companies to come up with innovative ways to address their customers’ motivations and frustrations.

Dig deeper into personas with Brian Winters’s Webinar, “Real-Time Personas” on October 22nd. Click here to register!

Jason is a crazed evangelist for user experience design, accosting strangers with sermons on its value in solving business and social problems. He’s a leader in the experience design practice at Manifest Digital, Co-Founder of UX for Good, and serves as an adjunct faculty member in the HCI Masters program at DePaul University.

via The Art Of Personas | Manifest Digital.

 

What is strategy?  What is social strategy?  What is digital strategy?  I’m asked this at least once a week, and my usual response, “I know, right!” Tough terms to define, but more so to understand the expectations in the person’s head asking the question. Great strategy is understanding your expectations, and working to at least achieve them, if not to exceed them.

Good subject matter today though, with the turn of the interwebs. In a book called The Big Rich By Brian Burrough about the turn of the 20th century, the drilling of “Spindle Top”, the discovery of oil in Texas there is the discovery of resources then the creation of wealth so vast and enormous that they began to define politics, education and business.  I keep having flashes to the monumental shifts that are occurring in business right before our very eyes.  Major shifts in the music industry, book publishing, news, technology, communication and more have occurred in the last fifteen to twenty years similar to the shifts at the turn of the century around energy, ie. oil, then production of cars, and on to the obsolesce of horses as a mode of transportation.

Ford Cars, assembly line

Ford cars on an assembly line

In this mix of business models and investments, we easily lose sight of the goal.  Truly helping people.  We worry so much today about buzzwords and disruption that I feel like we put the cart before the horse.

I think the #1 point to any strategy is putting the customer first.  Starting with this, you can center all interactions, sales, marketing and promotion around the experience the customer has.  First reviewing, then refining, then optimizing and reworking the process.  Customer experience is definitely a journey and not a destination.  It’s about putting the customer at the center, creating human interactions and moving in a manner that is honest, respectful and beneficial.

 

 

Anne Pascual

Anne Pascual is a design director at IDEO, Munich. In addition to her role at the design and innovation consultancy she speaks about early stage innovation, user experience design, design research and much more. She will be speaking at Wired Money on 1 July.

Wired.co.uk: What does design have to do with finance, money and banking?

Anne Pascual: Finance, money and banking are a part of daily life, amongst many other things we all need to juggle and balance, which can often create tensions and friction. Whether we like it or not, we constantly need to make decisions. With regards to money, those decisions are mostly about value exchange. Dealing with this on a day-to-day basis is complex, and design can help solve many associated pain points and challenges. That said, I believe design can not only enable people to handle their finances in an easier way — but also lessen the time they spend dealing with money so they can focus instead on the things they really care about.

“If you look at the disruptors of the industry, their focus on user experience has been a critical competitive advantage”

Is this an area where the sector has traditionally fallen down?

Financial institutions traditionally have been focused on performance to establish their reputation, from performance of financial transactions to performance of financial products. This value proposition hasn’t radically changed much over time. Take risk life insurance as an example. When invented 150 years ago, it was a pretty innovative idea. But today, a 30-year life insurance policy is not adapting to or solving peoples’ needs in today’s economy who might move to different countries and change jobs more frequently.

Additionally, the vast majority of financial institutions have been built and optimised around products and individual channels, not around holistic user experiences. This is where technology has a role to play. If you look at the disruptors of the industry, their focus on user experience — enabled by data and technology — has been a critical competitive advantage.

In an ideal world would a company like IDEO be irrelevant? Shouldn’t all businesses have an understanding of design?

To me, design is an approach for dealing with complexity. In today’s unpredictable world, it’s in everyone’s interest that more and more people and businesses leverage design to deal with the unknown, to understand how to learn and experiment (including interpreting customer feedback) and to create unique experiences that delight people — which is not a trivial thing. There is no single recipe on how to do it.

When working with organisations, large and small, I’ve seen IDEO’s role as an amplifier, catalyst and accelerator of innovation, enabling organisations to gain an understanding of design and make it a core competence by building and launching new, meaningful products and services. That’s positive impact. Because of constant change in the world, whether driven by business, technology or consumer behaviours, I’d argue that design may even become a more important skill and mind-set in the future.

“Most ‘classic’ areas surrounding money have been recently questioned and are being reassembled”

You specialise in user experience in the digital space. Are we still learning how to best engage users digitally?

New behaviours keep emerging through new technologies, and vice versa, as has always been the case. This is an ongoing source of inspiration for me personally and for the design teams at IDEO.

I do think that solving a real problem means focusing on engagement. Turning a problem into a pleasant, delightful and maybe even rewarding experience is a pretty complex task, which we at IDEO tend to approach through continuous iteration and prototyping.

Prototyping helps prove your assumptions about new behaviours you want to enable have been right. Digital technology makes you learn much faster from people’s behaviours — what works and what doesn’t when designing a novel user experience. So many times, we like to confuse technology with the solution, but many times it’s simply the tool providing the options that create new value.

What areas surrounding money do you see as ripe for disruption?

Most “classic” areas surrounding money have been recently questioned and are being reassembled, such as budgeting, saving, lending, investing, payment and insurance. We are seeing new types of bank appear, as well as new currencies — which is quite exciting. In addition, I’d keep looking out for three things: game changers, “human financials” and banks as platforms:

First, game changers. If you start considering and designing around the social nature of value systems, you may see how new dynamics will disrupt established markets and landscapes. Look at Kickstarter or Kiva, for instance, or any examples of collaborative consumption or skill sharing.

Second, human financials. This to me is about addressing and leveraging behavioural economics when dealing with money.

Finally, banks as platforms. Once banks see themselves operating as platforms that serve not only end consumers but third party service providers, they may be able to scale their impact and business in new ways. Amazon, but really any service with an API, is thinking and operating in that way.

Anne Pascual will be appearing at Wired Money, on 1 July, 2013. Tickets are on sale now: see wired.co.uk/money13 for a full speaker list and further information. Wired subscribers receive a 10 percent discount.

via Banks need to focus on user experience says IDEO design director Anne Pascual (Wired UK).

Information on the Wells Fargo Loan that Launched Zappos, from a tough spot.  I think the book clarifies better than this article, but it’s great to see how Tony Hsieh’s company really took off after a small risk from Wells Fargo.  More than that, Zappos has truly validated that we are in an age of true differentiation by customer experience.  I have also attached my book notes and an article below.

http://customerville.com/learning-from-the-guys-at-zappos/

He chose Zappos.

 

And throw himself in he did. Until this time, his investment company had earned approximately $50 million. He began putting that money toward Zappos, slowly pulling out of other assets. Then, his involvement grew even more. He moved Zappos into one of his own San Francisco apartments—a loft above his own home—and joined the company full-time.

 

The results weren’t what he expected, however; in just two years, Hsieh had drained his investment fund completely. And so, he did what any truly passionate person would consider: he began dipping into his personal bank account to keep the company afloat. Eventually, Hsieh sold every property he owned except the one he lived in and the Zappos loft (formerly known as “the party loft”).

And that’s when the real risk-taking began. Because it was only after almost failing that it started to dawn on Hsieh and his team that in order to dig themselves out of their hole, they would have to do something radically different. They’d have to offer something that none of their competitors could.

 

Hsieh describes it this way: “Little did we know that this was actually a blessing in disguise . . . In 2003, we would decide to make customer service the focus of the company.”

 

This decision wasn’t made out of the clear blue, of course; the focus had been there already. Just the year before, they had done away with the most profitable sector of the company: their drop-ship department. Due to logistics problems, customers were often disappointed in the availability of the drop-shipped products and the speed at which they received them. After chucking it completely, they were able to reach 70 percent of customers within two days by UPS ground.

 

But when it came to improving their customer service, they still had a long way to go.

 

Then something happened that changed everything: a loan from Wells Fargo Bank. No longer did they have to sit down every week, deciding which vendors to pay and which to put off.

 

The company was saved.

 

And now, for the first time, it was ready to become profitable. It was ready to grow—not just financially, but in other ways as well.

 

It was ready to become a legend.

 

Soon after the Wells Fargo loan, Hsieh and his team decided that some changes were in order. First, they rethought their location. Believing the California culture prevented people from viewing customer service jobs as careers, partly due to the high cost of living there, they decided while on a business trip to Las Vegas that they needed a new home—and that Vegas would do just fine. Incredibly, of the 90 employees they had, 70 decided to relocate with the company—a place some of them described as “a family unit.”

 

The changes didn’t stop there. After they moved, the managers decided to take a hard look at the way they chose who to hire.

 

“To keep our culture strong, we wanted to make sure we only hired people who we would also enjoy hanging out with outside the office. As it turned out, many of the best ideas came about while having drinks at a local bar,” Hsieh wrote. He includes in this list of innovations the Zappos Culture Book, which features descriptions of the Zappos company culture in the words of the employees themselves.

 

These changes weren’t the result of random barroom insights, though. They were a calculated part of their overall corporate goal: to create their ideal company culture.

 

“We thought that if we got the company culture right, then building our brand to be about the very best customer service would happen naturally on its own,” Hsieh writes.

 

And that philosophy remains at the core of the company today, and is responsible, Hsieh believes, for most if not all of their success.

 

In July 2009, Zappos was acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion, soon after celebrating their ten-year anniversary. Though this decision meant that he would no longer have a controlling stake in the company, for Hsieh, it was a time of deep fulfillment—the kind of fulfillment that he’d been seeking for so long.

 

Section Two

Nine month plan email.

CrashVc’s won’t invest in b2c, growth is constrained.

National ad campaign, features in site,

Get to profitability. Stay focused to get there. Stay on plan.

Watch expenses.

Follow hiring goal carefully.

Maximize gross profit, order size per customer, conversions,

Had to do a round of layoffs.

Laid off under performers and nonbelievers.

All for one, one for all.

 

Make customer service the focus of the company.

Figure out a way to grow sales.

Deus ex machina. A Greek miracle.

Right product, right time, right quantity.

Brick and mortar, take inventory risk,

changing business model, triple sales, daunting list.

1. Hire and grow buying team.

2. Convince brands to sell to us.

3. Update software

4. Staff to ship shoes.

5. Open physical store.

6. Get cash to purchase inventory.

 

Improvising inventory.

Elogistics, ship from KY.

Distributor, reach 75% of customers within two days.

 

Problem with elogistics, Keith flew out on a dime.

Fred needed more brands.

Inventory couldn’t sit on loading dock.

 

Hiked Kilimanjaro, five different climates: rainforest, desert, snow, midlands,

End of an era.

 

What to do about Zappos.

One month of payroll left.

Sold loft for 40% below first purchase.

Bought a warehouse.

Never outsource your core competency.

Combine inventory with drop ship.

 

Audacious longterm goal, sell 1b of profit,

Greater purpose and bigger vision beyond business.

Best customer service and customer experience.

Apply service mentality to vendors.

Zappos library, 100 books available in lobby for free.

How serious are you about making this the best customer service?

 

Brands weren’t drop shipping with quality.

Easiest and hardest decision to cancel drop shipping.

 

Had enough money to pay vendors or employees, teetering between debt, and death.

Extended payment terms from vendors.

Wells Fargo gave them a $6M Loan- Revolving Line of Credit, first negative income loan in years.

Emailed employees, vendors and customers to share the good news.

Friends of Zappos,

Income/ Sales Record – 1999, 0/ 2000. 1.6/ 2001, 8.6/ 2002, 32/ 2003, 60? (actually did 70M)

Can’t celebrate past successes, must look ahead to the future.

Will reach 1B in sales by 2010.

Relentless focus of improving the customer experience.

Little things that keep the customer in mind will pay huge dividends.

Email me with your thoughts, I’d love to hear what you think about Zappos.com

Brandon Avance

 

 

Delivering Happiness – A Path To Profits, Passion, and Purpose | by Tony Hsieh.

Great article by @bartlorang.  Looking forward to reading the two books he recommended, “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug and “Designing the Obvious” by Robert Hoekman Jr.

Very few companies can master all three X’s:

UX = User Experience.  CX = Customer Experience.  BX = Brand Experience.

One of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs is:

You‘ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.

I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Often, I think software engineering companies forget about this because we’re so obsessed with conquering difficult technology problems.

FullContact is no stranger to this phenomenon – I wrote openly about our struggles here.

As a result, the past few months I’ve been obsessed with everything UX. I’ve read 6 books on the topic and I’ve talked to dozens and dozens of UX candidates. We’re currently hiring a Director of UX and I feel this new role will be vital to future success at FullContact.

Along the way, I met with Brian Baker and Michael Pastko from The First User. Brian’s firm has been around since 1994 and he’s a renowned UX expert.

Brian recently posted about Four Rules for World Class UX. Please go read it. This blog post will be here when you get back.

I’ve been thinking deeply about these rules in the context of my own thinking about the topic. Here are my thoughts and some expansions on Brian’s ideas:

1. Name a UX Champion for every product you build.

Currently at FullContact, we don’t have a UX Champion. This is what started our search for a Director of UX. Brad Feld pointed this out during a board meeting and wrote about it in this blog post. When Brad asked everyone at FullContact: “Who absolutely owns FullContact’s UX Philosophy?” – nobody’s hand came up.

I am no UX expert. Plus, I’m a big fan of firing myself at every opportunity.

And sure, we had a few people that thought they could own it, but at the end of the day, my gut told me that we didn’t have a killer person who was really schooled in the art and science of UX.

My subsequent search for a killer UX person and exposure to people like Brian and Michael have only reinforced and confirmed this belief.

As a result, we decided to hire a UX Champion.

2. Put the UX Champion in the right spot in your organization

Brian argues that this person should be either be a) on the executive team or b) a stakeholder with an executive mandate.

This is something I’ve been thinking deeply about for a few months. Does it really make sense for the UX person to be in Product? In Sales? In Support? In Marketing? In Engineering?

I don’t think UX truly ‘belongs’ in any of these departments. Perhaps from an HR perspective, Product makes the most sense, but a UX person should be given broad latitude to help improve the customer’s experience.

This UX Champion acts as an advisor, a coach, an internal consultant – fiercely loyal to the company’s mission and the keeper of the brand – with the full weight of the executive team behind them. This doesn’t mean the UX Champion can tell everyone what to do – but they should have strong influence and help align everyone towards the same mission.

A user’s experience is about every single touchpoint. From target identification, to first exposure, to lead capture, to customer conversion, to product usage, to support, to upgrade, to referral, to retention, to downgrade or cancellation.

UX encompasses the entire user lifecycle and thus encompasses the entire organization.

But I’ll even take it a step further than Brian: it’s about more than users; it’s about anyone who interacts with your brand.

It’s the overall Brand Experience, or BX.

This includes job applicants, vendors, partners and the media.

I truly believe in the power of BX: See Exhibit A and Exhibit B and pay close attention to the comments.

You never know where the next customer is going to come from. UX, BX – they should both be holistic, cross-organizational and baked into the DNA of a company – it shouldn’t be relegated to a single functional silo.

My household has some unusually strong opinions on this topic. My wife Sarah helps companies with their CX. I’ve started thinking that “CX” and “UX” and “BX” are close to the same thing, so I’ll use UX, CX and BX interchangeably.

Sarah is a CX and service branding queen with over 15 years of 5-star service operational experience. She has a highly regimented 1,800 point checklist (yep, that’s right) for delivering a killer customer experience. Great experience is not an accident or just a function of hiring “nice people.” Like UX, CX is an absolute science and an organizational discipline.

However, many companies Sarah works with try to lump her into the Customer Service organization and use “Customer Experience” as a fancy phrase for “Support.”

Those companies are doing it wrong.

The companies where Sarah is most successful at improving CX allow her to roam between Sales, Support, Product, Engineering, Accounting, Marketing and most importantly – the Exec team and the Board.

All of those departments are usually initially resistant to change (“We’re already doing it great – we don’t need improvement – blah blah blah”) and it requires an Executive mandate to make changes.

In the ideal situation, the whole company obsesses about CX and the CEO is obsessed with the product and how customers and users experience it.

Great examples of CEOs that obsess about customer experience are Walt Disney and Steve Jobs.

Brian told me about his first job at Disney. His ENTIRE job was to watch the audience and log the results. He’d log if they were laughing, clapping, yawning, picking their nose – and at what time and at what frame. Disney would do this obsessively and collect data throughout the pre-production and post-production process.

Steve Jobs used to hide in the bushes near his local Cupertino Apple Store and watch customers in the store interact with iMacs, iPhones and iPads. He collected the data directly and that’s what allowed him to obtain keen insights about user and customer behavior.

My friend Yoav Lurie of Simple Energy says one of his jobs as CEO is to “Violently Defend Our Users.” I think that’s appropriate for a CEO to do. I’ve heard too many people say things like “Dumb Users” or “Idiot Users” or “They just don’t know what they’re doing” rather than admit fault with their own creations and look inward for improvement opportunities.

The bottom line is – the UX Champion has to have an executive mandate to align each business area and identify opportunities for improvement. Otherwise, it simply won’t happen.

3. Keep your UX Champion out of daily development

Brian believes that a weekly or bi-weekly iteration is too fast for real meaningful UX work to get done as part of an agile sprint. UX people need to conduct experiments. They need to conduct usability testing. They need to talk (in person) with users. They need to collect data, gather the results, and make improvements.

More importantly, UX people need to step back from the day-to-day building of the product to have an objective view. They can’t be too close to the actual development activities. If they’re doubling as a developer, chances are they’re missing something.

Writers have Editors for this reason.

4. The UX Champion works the entire product lifecycle

Somewhat related to point #3, Brian believes that UX should be part of the holistic product management and development process.

Mediocre companies don’t treat UX holistically. They treat it as a ‘product’ thing. I’ll use another Apple example to illustrate this:

A few years back I ordered an Apple iMac and an HP Printer. Both arrived on the same day. The Apple iMac’s packaging was sublime. It was a perfect ‘open the box’ experience and gorgeous.

The HP Printer? Well, there was noisy styrofoam, styrofoam peanuts and a hard-to-open box with crappy plastic tape. That was followed by instructions that made my head hurt and plastic stickers that I needed to tear off everywhere.

I’ve never seen a better UX juxtaposition than those two products, shipped side by side.

Great companies don’t settle for a great product only during usage. They involve packaging, shipping, logistics, retail and the entire product lifecycle from beginning to end.

The UX Champion needs to follow and be ever present in this product lifecycle.

5. No matter how good you are at UX, always get a fresh set of eyes on the problem.

Always get a fresh set of eyes as a sanity check.

Most psychologists have their own psychologists for a reason: to make sure they have sound mental health.

Great CX companies pay mystery shoppers handsomely for this task.

With UX, make sure you budget for external UX consultants as a final sanity check. You may have a brilliant UX Champion, but there’s nothing wrong with a fresh set of eyes to spot a few minor flaws.

6. Track Every Nosepick

As I mentioned earlier, Walt Disney would literally log every nosepick, tear and laugh by observing the audience.   Data is vitally important to the process.

Ignore the data at your own peril. At the end of the day, through interviews and usability tests, you’ll collect a ton of data about your UX. As a product manager sincerely interested in improving your UX, you can’t ignore it based on your gut feel and your own personal biases.

Don’t dismiss the data as ‘Those stupid users – they just don’t know what they are doing’ – there’s something to be learned from every single user.

Watch the patterns of data. Collect data via automated systems like KISSMetrics.  Also collect qualitative data with usability tests and UserTesting.com. Patterns will emerge and you need to act on them.

7. Always perform ‘the Drunk Usability Test’

This is one of my favorite rules to follow, especially at bars. Go visit threesheetresearch.com for some awesome examples.

In summary, these 7 rules should get you well on your way to building a world class CX and UX organization. If you need help getting started, I recommend contacting the guys at The First User. They know their stuff.

I’m also interested in discussing new and innovative approaches to UX and CX. Feel free to comment below to continue the discussion!

 

The X-Factor: 7 Rules for a World Class User Experience.