Marketing professionals are becoming increasingly focused on delivering exceptional Customer Experience (CX). To meet this demand, RMIT is now offering a cutting-edge postgraduate course in CX Design.
Customer Experience, or CX, refers to the sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioural responses that emerge in the interaction with a product, service and brand.
As a discipline and a field, customer experience gained traction in the later 1990s with the rise of the so called experience economy. Beyond products and services, people seek experiences.
Course Coordinator, Bernardo Figueiredo, says that CX is important in marketing today and in the future.
“A student at RMIT wants more than knowledge; she wants a great experience,” he said.
“When one travels to Europe, it’s all about the experience one has. Restaurants compete not on the food they provide, but on the overall experience they can offer.
“It is relatively easy to offer products and services, so the real competitive advantage lies in providing the best experience.
“This is why big and small companies are now focused on delivering an amazing (and long-lasting) customer experience.”
RMIT is the first institution in Australia to offer Customer Experience Design as part of the Master of Marketing. Experience Design can be studied from many angles, including Marketing, Organisations, Communications, Design, Computer Science and Engineering.
Figueiredo explains that each discipline provides a different twist to the area.
“For example, media and communications tend to focus on games, websites and the digital experience,” he said.
“In marketing the focus is less on digital and more on understanding the importance of customer experience to branding and strategically offering a competitive advantage via experiences.”
The CX Design course teaches students how to map customer journeys, plan research that will help inform future customer journeys and work collaboratively to understand the elements that make great experiences.
“Students are asked to develop strategic solutions for an industry client who is willing to provide great customer experience,” Figueiredo said.
“The client presents a problem that needs to be solved by the design of better experiences and students work collaboratively throughout semester, applying the CX principles and coming up with recommendations.
“At the end of the project students have the opportunity to present their findings and proposed solutions back to the client for implementation.”
The course content includes a mix of:
- Industry guest speakers from different industries talking about how they design customer experience - providing real cases.
- Workshops (eg. how to map a customer journey).
- Creative projects where students have to create experiences for others to evaluate.
- Discussions on new trends (eg. augmented reality such as Pokemon Go), hot topics (the role of emotions in CX) and cases studies.
Figueiredo says that the learning outcomes and benefits to students are clear.
“A number of past students have contacted me to say how they are applying the CX principles in their new businesses,” he said.
“It’s exciting to hear that the skills and knowledge being taught in this course are having such an immediate and practical impact.”
One student, Natalia Perera, is now applying CX principles to her new start-up business, Business Growth
Partners which has specifically been designed to help small business owners grow through marketing.
“The concept of design thinking was covered in the CX Design course and we used this to build our business,” she said.
“This included testing price points and speaking with small business owners to determine if the concept we came up with made sense and met a need.
“The course also taught me how a consistent experience has to be provided across the whole customer journey. We use this concept to attain and manage our clients. Our touch-points now incorporate a range of marketing mediums so that our clients understand what we do and receive a positive experience when they work with us. It is this process layer that I believe is the key to creating a successful business that survives over the long-term.
“Learning about CX Design also showed me that it is important to utilise everyone in your business to make it a success. This helped me build a strong team around my business with people who have different strengths and ideas.”