Showcasing reflections and commentary from Schulich’s thought leaders on the latest emerging trends in management and the world of business.
At the forefront of Customer Experience Design
Legendary entrepreneur and marketing guru Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward toward the technology, not the other way around.”
But are companies taking heed? Increasingly, the answer is yes.
For a growing number of companies, customer experience is no longer just an element in their overall marketing strategy: it is the core element. But how do companies design and optimize the experience their customers have whenever they touch or interact with the company’s brand? And how do they go about getting customers to perceive their brand more favourably while also making their brand more customer-centred?
That’s the essence of Schulich’s Customer Experience Design course, led by Professor Markus Giesler, who has been described by Wired magazine as “one of the best recognized experts studying high-technology consumer behavior”. In this course, Schulich students are learning how to create world-class customer experiences using the latest in consumer research and Professor Giesler’s 360-degree customer experience design framework.
I encourage you to read this month’s column and learn more about a powerful trend that is revolutionizing the way companies think about the interactions between their customers and their brands.
Detlev Zwick, PhD
Dean, Tanna H. Schulich Chair in Digital Marketing Strategy
Schulich School of Business
Schulich – The Customer Experience Design School
What do Amazon, Bank of Montreal, and Patagonia have in common?
These firms no longer treat the customer experience as one element, but as their central emphasis (Salesforce 2022 State of Marketing). These firms have also recruited talent from a one-of-a-kind Schulich business course that I have created: Customer Experience Design.
A positive customer experience offers important benefits. Not only does it help nurture strong consumer-brand bonds; it also helps increase revenues and market share. But what goes into creating a world-class customer experience designer?
Leading Consumer Research
First is a familiar Schulich principle: that all business success stems from rigorous evidence-based social science insights. Schulich students not only benefit from my own research on how consumers influence (and are influenced by) changes in the marketplace. In Customer Experience Design, students also benefit from research findings I can bring into the classroom as an editor at one of the most prestigious academic journals publishing research on consumer behavior, the Journal of Consumer Research.
Practical CX Design Frontiers
Second is careful attention to four practical CX design frontiers that structure our learning:
Feels (the world of consumer emotions) – To compete effectively using CX, organizations need tools to understand and manage consumer emotions. In Customer Experience Design, students learn how emotions such as excitement or empathy structure the customer experience and how we can leverage them to captivate consumers.
Scapes (the world of space and time) – The idea that, akin to modern physics, time and space aren’t treated as separate entities but as being co-constituted is a fundamental principle of all customer experience design. In my course, we learn how to shape material and virtual elements and spaces, such as a mall, a store, a hospital emergency room, or a public park, in ways that generate a time well spent and minimize wasted time.
Power (the world of inclusion/exclusion) – A central aspect of Customer Experience Design is the recognition that considerable discrimination in contemporary society occurs through the marketplace and consumption. Schulich students learn how to leverage insights from gender studies or critical race theory to design experiences for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The world of Machines and artificial intelligence (AI) is Customer Experience Design’s current final frontier. Here, Schulich students work on challenges that can occur when AI is deployed as an experiential resource in everyday products such as fitness trackers, playlists, or chatbots. This component of our course is based on award-winning research in the Journal of Marketing, co-authored together with Stefano Puntoni (Wharton), Rebecca Walker Reczek (Ohio State), and Simona Botti (London Business School).
Wherever the customer experience will go next, the Schulich School of Business will remain at the forefront of CX research and practice, to the benefit of firms, society, and our students.
Professor of Marketing