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March 22, 2023 – Duration 0:21:17
Delivering an optimal customer experience (CX) isn’t just about creating engaging, relevant interactions for external customers. It’s also about delivering a positive, appealing internal user experience for CX employees. Organizations need to provide technology solutions and tools that frontline agents and software engineers can use to create and deliver the ideal experience for each customer. These solutions should also give internal CX users a user experience (UX) that enables them to succeed with relative ease. In this episode of Tech Talks in 20, Christine Curtis, VP of User Experience and Design at Genesys, examines how design thinking improves UX and why no organizations should leave experience designers as an untapped Voice of the Customer.
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VP of User Experience and Design
Christine Curtis joined Genesys in early 2022 to lead User Experience and Design Thinking. She brings over 20 years of experience in growing and leading UX teams within high-functioning global product organizations at scale. She’s focused on driving a global transformation within Genesys products, focused on a scalable, accessible, and unified UX vision. When she’s not pushing the boundaries of what’s possible at the intersection of people and technology, she can be found spending time with her husband and daughters on some far-flung beach, playing tennis and glass blowing.
Here are conversation highlights from this episode, edited and condensed. Go to the timestamps in the recording for the full comments.
Christine Curtis (01:29):
Thanks so much. My name is Christine Curtis and I lead the user experience team here at Genesys. We focus on two things in user experience: product design and design thinking.
Christine Curtis (01:55):
Our product design pillar is made up of two parts: product design and product research. Our product research is focused on talking to customers, researching current and future designs, and how what we’re doing right now is impacting our customer base. They take all that amazing feedback and work directly with our product designers to improve our product, launch new features and think about our strategy going forward.
Our design thinking pillar sits at a more strategic level within Genesys. They work not only with the product, but also across the all of Genesys to help us bring human-centered thinking into our decisions.
Christine Curtis (03:22):
That’s where product design and research really shine. At Genesys, we bring a unified component platform. It’s a design library. It’s not only design work, but it’s also customizable front-end componentry that’s fully accessible, compliant and reusable throughout our entire platform.
When our technologists inside or outside of Genesys pick up these components and use them within the development of the Genesys product, they’re going to use products already built with our customer in mind. They’re already researched by our research team. We’ve already made decisions about the most important ways these workflows should work with our design thinking strategists who work inside and outside of Genesys by allowing people to pick up these pre-made, ready- and tested-to-use components.
They’re not only getting the tangible benefits of accessibility and ease of implementation — and we’re saving the engineers time there — but they’re also getting consistency across the Genesys platform. Anyone who has to step into Genesys day in and day out will have a seamless experience between the UI that Genesys has developed and any additional UIs configurations or integrations that individuals are bringing to the table.
Christine Curtis (04:48):
There are plenty of cloud integrations that you can bring into the Genesys product. We talk about user consistency and the speed and accuracy to accomplish things by using a consistent UX, a consistent UI, and consistent patterns throughout your integrations and migrations. Your agents and other users require less training. Your engineers have to do less on the groundwork to make sure these things are going to be seamless and move forward.
Most of us have goals around upskilling, training, time, and labor. All these things can be reduced and accomplished if folks know where things are and what things do. It sounds silly, but if you always put the “Next” button in the same place on a page, people will find it naturally no matter what page they’re on, no matter what product they’re in, no matter what integration they’re working with. They know, in Genesys, this is how I move to the next step.
Christine Curtis (07:47):
The biggest barrier we see from the customer perspective is speed to market. It’s a lot easier today for a company to build something quickly and to get it out there — and that’s often a successful path. However, if you slow down about 10%, you can pick up these libraries, these components. You can bring them into what you’re doing, build in that capacity, and you’re going to gain so much on the backend, although you’ll slow down your product development life cycle.
I know everyone is scared slowing their product development lifecycle, but the benefits are absolutely astounding. That’s why every major tech company in the world, including Genesys, invests so heavily in user experience and user research — because we realize that building something that works for the customer is ultimately a better product, even if it takes a little bit longer to get to market.
Christine Curtis (09:15):
We often think that changes to the experience are not as important as changes to the UI. I see that come up as a problem time and again. Organizations have parts of our product development lifecycle where someone will say they changed how this form worked, how this button worked, what this error message was. But they assume that since they didn’t also change the UI or step out of the library or change the component, they should be safe. So, they also think they don’t need to consult a designer or a researcher about how it might impact the customer. In reality, those things impact the customer as much as anything else you could do.
My advice there is to first contact your UX designer to get their insight on how that change might impact the bigger picture. Your designer’s greatest value to their team is that they look at the bigger picture of the product.
Christine Curtis (11:02):
Our design thinking team here at Genesys is incredibly robust, a mature set of individuals. They step in and take an even higher approach to the product, to the company, to the market, and to the problems we’re solving. They’re bringing those human-centered approaches into problems that are very numerical or technical, often related to finance or sales or what products we should develop next and how we should develop them.
When we talk about customer value and things of that nature, our design thinking team brings the human-centered approach to it. They have us think about how the people who are going to interact with our products are going to enjoy it, how is it going to add value to their company, not to ours.
Christine Curtis (13:16):
We certainly do bring in personas, especially when we’re talking about product work and future-looking product strategy. Usually when we’re relying heavily on personas within a design thinking workshop, we’ll bring in some of our researchers who are experts in our personas. They maintain, curate, and continue to research and talk to these personas live in person — not only among our customers, but also folks outside of our customers.
Having those experts in the room… they can break down the research they’ve done and pull in verbatims, and then we can talk about all that and learn and grow.
Christine Curtis (14:41):
That’s the million-dollar question. In the user experience industry, there are many answers. There are certainly some companies that have instrumented their entire end-to-end experiences based on monetary value. What kind of downstream impact is this change having? What’s the impact of having this flow, this button, this verbiage?
There are certain companies that have instrumented to ideal outcomes. Perhaps their ideal outcome is not monetary, it’s not conversion, it’s not downstream impact. Perhaps it’s simply completion or reduced time on task or increased time on task These things are easy to instrument, in some cases.
But even If you understand what your goals are, they can be difficult to instrument — for example, if you want to make some changes to a workflow and know what will happens 12 months from now.
There are tools in the market that can tell you where in a workflow people are getting stuck, where they’re dropping off, where they’re spending too much time. All of that is very instrument-able, but the key in all of it is figuring out what your actual goals are and instrumenting toward them.
Christine Curtis (16:43):
Think of your user experience professional as your customer in the room. When you’re building something you think the customer is going to love, look to your UX and UI folks as the voice of your customer. Ask them how they think your customer is going to feel about it. Ask them if they see any benefits or opportunities, or maybe detractors, if this was done to the workflow, to the platform. You’d be surprised by the insight they bring to the table as the voice of the customer, not necessarily as just a UI designer or a research provider.