Insights | By Howard Tiersky and Bob Taylor

Looking to Raise CX Scores 10%? Broaden Your Use of Responsive Design

Most people are familiar with the notion of Responsive UX. As consumer devices and screen sizes proliferate in response to consumer demand, mobile apps and web properties need to work on these varied devices. 

 A "responsive" site or app has code in it that intelligently adapts the presentation based on circumstances, such as a different aspect ratio or device orientation (landscape or portrait).

Categories of Change

Here are four categories that change over time that you need to be prepared to be "responsive" to.

User Behavior Change:

Your customers may start adopting a new social network, or interaction channel like chatbots. Use of mobile devices while in stores is another example, as is the trend towards more healthy eating patterns. How will you adapt to user behavior changes within your CX?

Expectation Change:

In the new digital world your customer's expectations are not just set by your competitors, but by any capability, consumers experience and like. New technologies like biometrics and ai, and new platforms like Uber or Amazon Same-Day delivery are raising the bar on expectations. If you do not respond, yesterday's satisfied customer becomes tomorrow's dissatisfied customer, even if their experience is unchanged.

Environmental Change:

For some businesses customer needs change when it rains or snows. Laws and regulations can also create the need to adapt your CX, such as the new laws requiring calories to be shown on restaurant menus or laptop carry-on rules for airlines. Many things can happen "in the world" that require a response to maintain a quality CX.


As the number of customers you interact with increases, some aspects of customer interaction may not be as effective and you need to change your approach. For example, many retail stores change their layout for Black Friday to allow for more shoppers.

Dimensions of Change

Customer experience change can come in different ways. For example:

Slow vs. Fast

Some user behavior changes happen over time, such as the adoption of smartphones or the rise of social media. You can see the trend coming, and over the course of a few years, it grows to be significant. You may still need to respond relatively rapidly because it can take a while to adapt to the trend, but at least you have some time to consider a strategy and execute on it.

Other changes happen seemingly overnight, as the rise of Pokemon Go or the impact of Alexa. You may not have time to formulate a CX strategy and execute in the traditional way for these types of changes; you need to "be ready" and have a platform that is ready for rapid response.

Predictable vs. Unpredictable

Another dimension of the change you need to be responsive to is predictable vs. unpredictable user behavior. Some rapid changes are still predictable. If the Superbowl is coming to town, you can predict a year ahead that there will be a period of time where you will rapidly have a huge influx of tourists and business who will have perhaps different needs or behavior from your normal customers. The holiday season starts fairly abruptly but is similarly predictable. Many companies call these good problems to have and ask their customers to have patience and work through heightened periods of transactions, do you? 

Less predictable would be something like a pending hurricane or other disaster, for which you may have a few days or even only a few hours notice, but can cause a massive shift in the size of your customer population (up or down depending on whether you are hardware store or a theme park).

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What To Do?

So how can you build Responsive UX?

The first step is to build listening posts that keep your finger on the pulse of your customer's experience including customer-oriented metrics, such as satisfaction and NPS, as well as operational metrics such as time to complete orders, queue lengths, etc. That way when something changes you have an alert and can respond quickly.

The second thing to do is to be prepared with "alternate experiences" so as to improve CX when circumstances change. Some quick-service restaurants narrow their menu options during extreme volume periods so as to most efficiently serve customers with the speed they expect, or send employees out to the drive-through to take orders via tablets to capture sales that may have been lost due to perceived order times. Some hardware stores set up a station outside the store where they sell boards, water, and a few other items on a "drive up" basis when a storm is approaching. What are your alternate customer experiences? What services and options are only available during times of change? 

The third key step is to have flexible platforms so you can respond to the unexpected. Customers are especially delighted when brands move quickly to adapt.

Things to Consider

What user behavior metrics are you tracking and how rapidly would you notice a change? What processes have you put in place to quickly react to a rapid change in user behavior quality caused by one of the types of changes outlined above? Are your platforms sufficiently agile to allow you to implement quick CX changes in response?

As CX continues to increase in its importance as a critical driver of business success, an effective strategy for rapidly adapting the CX to change is a critical part of business planning and execution.