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Unforgettable Episode 37: Customer-Centric Product Design and Why it Matters

Rachel Anderson
May 31, 2019

2 minute read

Unforgettable is a customer experience education program, focused on delivering fresh content weekly to give business leaders what they need to succeed in a customer-driven, digitally-disrupted world. The program brings together the expert minds of Jay Baer, Shep Hyken, Jeanne Bliss, Ian Golding, and Blake Morgan to spotlight modern customer experience excellence. Get the latest content by bookmarking smartercx.com/unforgettable.

We all know that customer-centricity is important, but what does it take to keep the customer in mind while designing products? In this episode, Blake describes her favorite (and most delicious) example of customer-centric product design.

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The most customer-focused companies today are thinking about how their customers are using their products and services, taking that feedback and creating a loop where they’re continually getting customer feedback and using that feedback to improve products and services.

One of my favorite examples of customer centered design comes from Shake Shack. Shake Shack, you might have heard of, is elevated fast food. They’ve really done a new spin on the hamburger, where you might think of a hamburger joint with cartoony design and yellow and red colors and mostly for kids. Well they created something that was chic, that was beautifully designed, their hamburgers can be topped with apple with smoked bacon and cherry peppers— they’ve really elevated this notion of fast food.

But it wasn’t always like this. They started in 2001 as a hot dog stand in New York and eventually one location became a thing; people would line up for hours in beautiful weather in the summer in New York City to get a hamburger from Shake Shack. I remember because I lived and worked in Midtown where their first location was. Today they have over 200 locations and when they went public, their stock shot up 123% on the first day. People are very excited about Shake Shack and one of the interesting things about Shake Shack is that they are so customer-focused, even down to the French fry. They originally served those cringle fries that are frozen. They’re so delicious but Shake Shack thought, “We want to bring farm fresh fries to our customers and we’re going to just create fresh fries.”

Well customer didn’t like it, they missed those crispy, delicious, frozen, crisp cut so Shake Shack went back and started selling those previously frozen fries again. This is just one small example of how customer-centered design is really about listening to customers, finding out what would make their lives easier and better and creating products and services that are relevant for the customer. Constantly thinking about the feedback that you’re getting and applying that for future products and services.

So you don’t have to be Shake Shack to be customer-focused, hopefully you can think of one way that your own company can get feedback from customers and then incorporate that into how you’re improving products and services in the future.

Rachel Anderson
Rachel Anderson is passionate about customer experience, snacks, and creating a farm in her backyard. Rachel is a Campaign Marketing Manager for Oracle CX with 10 years of experience in the industry.
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