The weekend began with a kick at HelloMeets, sitting in front of Nitin Sethi VP ProductDesign of Quikr and has previously worked at Yatra and CommonFloor as Head of Product Design. The meetup was arranged to discuss ‘How Important is Design Thinking’.

Nitin Sethi started working when he was very young. Having achieved such great success early in life, he is one of the most humble people we have met so far.

What is Design Thinking?

One would ask what Design Thinking means, and the non-designers would wonder why they are even reading about it. That is what most of us had in mind as we entered the room and waited to hear the person who has been into design for more than one decade.

15 years ago, the way people developed the product was really different. The entire product was developed first and design came after that. Less importance was given to Design. The product was tested only at the last stage — when the feedback was taken & in case of any inconsistency, the entire process had to be repeated again.

Design thinking has recently started gaining importance in India. It is aimed at, and revolves around the customer. It saves the time that was wasted when we changed the entire product at the end of the formation. Instead, now after every few steps, we consider the feedback and implement into the product right then.

“Examples are the best way to learn” — Nitin Sethi

Let’s take one of them here.

Given an option to order an iPhone 7 either from Amazon, Flipkart or Snapdeal, majority will prefer ordering from Amazon due to the trust that they have built over time.How did Amazon achieve it, even though they entered the Indian market many years after Flipkart? How were they able to surpass the already established other global e-commerce companies within a few years?

Nitin Sethi explained this effortlessly. They could succeed because they followed design thinking and could empathise with their customers. They changed and customised themselves according to the Indian market.

While Snapdeal and Flipkart were busy spending their efforts and money on marketing only, Amazon was focusing on next day delivery along with the best services for their customers. They thought of a long term plan instead.They also think of their sellers equally and dedicate time and resources to train them well.
Design is all about empathising with the customer.

When Marketing turns into Intrusiveness

All good things have a certain limit till when things are great and beneficial for all. After that limit is crossed, things become really dirty. Sometimes, while marketing their products, companies go beyond a certain boundary and it turns into customer intrusiveness which not only irritates the customer, but also takes away the chances of repeat business through that customer.

Nitin gave us many amazing real-life examples of customer intrusiveness which clearly explained the downside of it. It turns off the customer big time!!

Who likes to be disturbed at 3 am while sleeping, when one gets innumerable notifications about the upcoming big fashion sale? None. Similarly, no one likes to argue, get irritated and finally pay twice the price for a meal, just because there is a technical glitch in the system.
In another example that he gave, a group of around 5 people were late to board the flight due to incorrect communication by the airline. There was no communication regarding the change in gate number and hence they couldn’t reach on time. A young girl was crying because she had to appear for an exam and she had no money left to give to the airport authorities to let them in. The least they could do was understand their customers’ feelings. Yet they were standing there, not bothered at all about what their customers had to say.Yet another issue with companies marketing their products is wrong targeting. More than 60% of Indians use 2G network in their phones. Yet, they get charged for 3G benefits which they didn’t even opt for. This is a good example of marketing without using common sense.

Can we do something about it?

The answer is — Absolutely we can!

To avoid such scenarios of customer intrusiveness, we need to implement Design Thinking in our work which can solve a lot of problems effortlessly by the use of proper and user-friendly interface and designing of the product. This is the reason why designers are not only restricted to the product, but play an important role in the customer marketing and service.

Nitin had some very important piece of advice to give to the budding designers and entrepreneurs:

  • We need to have designers included in the board members. We always have a CFO, CMO and CEO, but we never have a CDO (Chief Design Officer). It is important that we consider the role of designer in the entire process as important as any other. Designers are the ones who are going to greatly impact the customer engagement with the product or service.
  • Design thinking starts with understanding the customer by putting ourselves in their shoes — The best way to do this is interacting with the customer facing teams. For example, the designers must dedicate time to sit with the customer service and support department. They are closest to customers and know the most about what disappoints a customer and what they are usually facing problems with. Once we have an understanding of it, we should look for the most basic solution to the issue which can solve the problem. Usually, the solution is easy but we make it complex by overthinking about it.

The idea is to work not to please a boss, which is sadly the current situation in India, but to consider the customer above the boss and work towards pleasing your customer.

At HelloMeets we help like-minded people meet via offline meetups & workshops and we do at least one design workshop in Delhi and Bengaluru each month, to get notified about the same, sign up here.

Blog Credits : Neha Kulshreshtha, Blogger, HelloMeets & Ayushi Mohindra for editing this.