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Human-centered design is used to solve actual customer problems. It is based on the needs of those who will actually be using the technology, not those who create the technology. Tenets of this practice are:

  1. Using empathy and feedback from the user to guide product design decisions
  2. Multiple iterations to ensure the product evolves with the needs of the user
  3. Continuous improvement and curiosity to solve more complex problems, even if the product cannot answer to all of the issues discovered

Human-centered approaches are something most companies claim, but few can answer to. Design is not a word thrown around a lot on security teams, but human-centered design is a key component of highly effective security software.

The security industry should keep the end user in mind through all phases of production. Enterprise security should not just solve one problem at a time but offer a user experience that builds toward a unified security system. This can be done by using a human-centered approach, a customer-centric mindset.

For example, Surveill VMS is a video management software. It is built with enterprise security architecture in mind, it is hardware-agnostic and fully containerized to make implementation at the enterprise level easier on the user.

Here are eight ways human-centered design helps develop a fantastic product line, customer satisfaction, and technological advancement. This approach is especially important for those developing solutions for enterprise. Enterprise level solutions often lose sight of user-centric design, as they gear their solutions towards other businesses rather than the individuals who will actually use them.

1. Your Business Problems are Converted into Customer Solutions

If you narrow your scope of view to only the problem you intend to solve for a customer, you might miss the opportunity to give them a top-class customer experience. For example, a customer looking for video surveillance may be looking to get cameras at all of their access points because employees are forgetting to lock doors. Instead of just giving the customer the video surveillance system, a customer-centric security provider would ask more questions to determine if access control integrations would be well-suited.

If sales are down for a particular product, are your customers’ usage patterns informing a design change? Products are meant to make a customer’s life easier, and user-centric companies will consistently work to improve issues the customer is having before they worry about the bottom line. That may sound like a risky move since we are all in the business of making money, but when you think about it more, it makes a lot of sense.

Spending more time on user experience and time iterating based on the customers’ feedback will help deliver a better product and a happy customer.

Do what’s right for the customer first, then what’s right for the business comes naturally. After all, what is wrong with having happy customers and a product line that actually provides a solution to the customers’ pain points?

This is difficult for enterprise security because providers may be working in a B2B structure. This roadblock can be eliminated with a powerful partner program.

2. Customer-Centric Companies have Solutions AND Support

Especially in the security industry, it is important to work with companies that do not just drop and deliver. Support ensures the customer can use the solution to its highest capability and the product owner can iterate and improve the product going into the future.

A security solution is more than a product, it’s more like a relationship with a system. The system is often large and complex, so it is not realistic to work with companies that are quick to sell but slow to support. Support is not just for this particular customer; it is also helpful data on future customers and similar environments. It helps both the customer and the solutions provider to better understand how the product performs in a particular instance.

3. Criticism and Praise are Used to Better the Product

Companies that have inconsistent service relating to account size are working more toward business and sales. Companies that remain curious and helpful to all customers are customer-centric. By staying with the customer through their implementation journey, security companies gain insight into how their customer uses their product, what pain points their environment presents, and new ways they can help their customer succeed into the future.

Criticism should not make a company feel the burn of failure, it should only inform future iteration and exciting new improvements to their product. Maybe the customer is concerned about open doors to avoid robbery or maybe it is due to the protection of sensitive information that is only for the eyes of specified personnel.

Delving deeper into a customer problem means you may find the core issues your customer is facing are seemingly unrelated to your product, but your customer will value the care you provide them and will ultimately value you as a subject-matter-expert and advisor, not just a product provider.

4. Ask Your Customers for Feedback

This is often overlooked, especially for happy customers, but a company that seeks input from their customers consistently can ensure their product develops positively with the times. This task can easily be managed with a reliable Customer Relationship Management System or CRM. This ties into the sentiment that customer service is just as important, if not more, than a quality product. CRMs can help link the sales team to the service and development teams.

Often, departments work so separately that the pain points sales team members are hearing from customers rarely make it to the ears of the development team. This means product developments are not based on the customer base, but more general insights.

If you can watch your customer use your product, that would be even better. This will give you first-hand knowledge of how your customer’s workday is affected by your product.

5. All-Hands Meetings

This can help with bridging the gap between customer service and product development. Development Teams develop their products based on research and logical rules, this does not always account for the human experience tied in with using the product.

6. Invest in QA and UX Employees

Quality Assurance and User Experience testing can help catch errors that might have fallen through the cracks when developing a complex software solution… or really a solution of any kind. These professionals are adept at knowing what is important to focus on to improve the everyday use of a product. They know how to assess the ease of use and how to make products more intuitive.

7. Review Case Studies

Make customer case studies a regular practice for your marketing team, but these stories can be multi-purposed. They should be used to refer to, study, and learn from. This practice will equip your team with the knowledge it needs to tailor product lines to different verticals or organization types.

8. Have an Open Mind to the Problems You are not Setting out to Solve

Sure, Surveill VMS is a VMS, but we know customers have pain points around risk management, internet security, access control, data analytics… and we want to hear about all of them because that informs the integrations Surveill seeks.

A solution or strategy that worked for one type of business will not work the same for another. An example of this in the security industry would be a surveillance system for a large corporate organization vs. a security system for a healthcare facility. Each has security requirements, but each also has different protocols and policies to adhere to.