A Dash of HCD, a Sprinkle of CX and Healthy Dose of Engagement Makes for Happy Customers!
By Lee Frothingham, Managing Director, Wheelhouse Group
I have been working in the customer experience (CX) field with the federal government since before it had an official title! When I began, we were primarily focused on how to more effectively run call centers. This was, after all, the primary touchpoint for most people to interact with their government.
Watching this field grow and change over my career has been exciting and, frankly, sometimes challenging to understand all it encompasses. Once you dive into this work you tend to see CX everywhere! In every interaction with customers. In most employee communications. In many partner meetings.
So, when I sat down to document our own Wheelhouse Group method and approach with my team, I really wanted to embed all we have learned in our recent journeys with the IRS, Mint, DOJ, DOL, GSA, EPA and DOI.
Designing and delivering successful CX isn’t about managing a checklist but rather, producing a shift in thinking. That’s why I like to focus on the intersection of Human-Centered Design (HCD) documented by IDEO and the employee engagement and organizational change management principles detailed in the Wheelhouse Group book The Method and the Magic: Every Leaders Guide to Making Transformational Change.
From those overlapping ideologies, I designed this graphic to depict the three main design steps I include in all our CX work:
Inspiration. We work with our clients to build the big picture. We help them ask themselves, employees, customers and partners, “Ignoring any current obstacles, what is your vision for the ideal employee and customer experience.” We encourage and facilitate blue-sky thinking to build the big picture.
Ideation. This is where we transition from learning about the customers and their pain points to coming up with solutions. We involve and prepare the stakeholders, particularly employees who interact with customers regularly, every step of the way to co-create solutions and get the messaging right.
Implementation. As we begin to turn ideas into reality, we work with employees and customers alike. We continue to ask “is this the best way?” and how else can we ensure a great experience and adoption of government programs and services.
These steps are not always sequential and often we need to go back to the inspiration and ideation phases as new information, feedback and lessons come forward. The elegance of using an HCD approach to CX is it puts the people into the heart of the design process. It also helps to create a more customer-centric culture from your executives to your frontline employees. In doing so, teams relentlessly and unapologetically keep the people – customers and employees – at the front of mind.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your feedback – please reach out to me and share your thoughts on our CX approach.