Video: Markus Hohl’s #mexsession on changing customer experience at scale for a big network operator

Successful and sustained user-centred innovation is a challenge even in small scale projects, but all the more so when trying to implement it within large and traditionally slow-moving corporations. Markus shares his first hand experiences of driving real UX improvements at one of the world’s largest network operators, offering insight into how and when to achieve support among senior operational management, making the best of existing processes to deliver new insights and establishing customer service improvements as a key differentiator for future networks. Markus was Head of Customer Experience Design at Orange Labs when he spoke at MEX, but talks mainly about his earlier experiences in a similar role at O2.

Markus Hohl (@mkushohl) spoke at MEX in March 2014.

Details and tickets for MEX:


  • As traditional differentiators of coverage and network quality equalise the relative importance user experience elements such as customer service and usability increases.
  • User experience is how your customers feel, not just a set of visual guidelines.
  • Being honest with customers is insufficient, you must be seen to be honest.
  • Design process prioritises time for investigating ideas and gradual iteration. Explore the vision, crystallise it with a small budget, prove it can work, then build and launch. Traditional product development allows limited time for idea creation and rushes into technical development and implementation too early. Beware of pressure to launch within a timeline driven by marketing needs alone: launch when its ready, not within ‘X’ months.
  • Re-aligning a company around design process is a long-term challenge requiring a wide-ranging and enduring mandate. Ensure support at the most senior levels. Remember no-one will ever say no to improving user experience, but that is very different from actively supporting it. “You can’t do Agile in a big company.”
  • Good project governance is essential to achieving user experience improvements. Introduce independent oversight and ensure user experience milestones are achieved every step of the way to keep the project aligned with customer goals.
  • Hijack existing business tools to deliver user experience insights in the formats and language existing employees understand. People are more likely to listen to ways to solve their problems than a lecture about new approaches. Ensure user experience improvements are translated into metrics meaningful to all the stakeholders to create long-term support.
  • Simplicity is key to winning support for design process. As a designer, create documentation to convey your message concisely: e.g. reducing 70 pages of instruction manuals to 1 page guides.
  • Good design process ensures quality experiences. Customers are willing to a pay a premium for these and good implementation can virtually eliminate the need for a traditional customer support budget. For instance, O2 was able to launch a product developed in this way without any discounting and without the usual £250,000 support costs.

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