Customer experience is now more than a buzzword. Organisations are making operational changes, not just paying lip service, according to research. Read more.
Welcome to the first of a 3-part series of blogs, where we’re putting user experience (UX) centre stage to explain why you need to care about it – and how the right approach will benefit your business.
UX is all about your customers’ interaction with your digital product…
Put simply, UX is how a user – a customer or potential customer – feels when they’re interacting with your digital product, website or app. It encompasses everything from usability to accessibility and performance, as well as design and aesthetics. It’s also about encompassing the experience the user has – is it easy to use? Can they find what they want quickly enough?
In design terms, UX should be on a par with visual identity on your priority list. Your website or app may look stunning and entice users in as a result, and that’s great. But if users don’t know how to interact with it – or if they don’t enjoy that interaction – then they’ll abandon you and won’t come back.
Thus, metrics like abandonment rate, error rate and clicks to completion can give you a good idea of the kind of UX you’re delivering. In view of the above, it’s perhaps unsurprising that UX designers are hot property at the moment, with 87% of managers stating that hiring more of them is their top priority.
… while CX relates to the holistic experience of dealing with your business
UX and CX (customer experience) are, of course, closely related. But CX relates to the overall experience your customer has when interacting with your business – rather than specifically with your digital products. Thus, while poor UX can impact the customer experience, the latter is measured in terms of customer loyalty and satisfaction levels, delivering a wider overall view of performance.
For your business to thrive, your UX needs to work hand in hand with your CX. Think about it like this. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, or if your app is tricky to navigate, you’re making it harder for a customer to purchase your product. What’s more, if the product you’re selling is digital, it also needs to deliver a strong UX – or your sales will soon stagnate, regardless of how innovative the product itself is.
Thus, you need to continually optimise the design of your digital offerings based on your customer requirements. When CX and UX work seamlessly together, you’ll have the right balance of creativity and technology – giving your customers the best of both worlds.
Understand customer red routes to deliver the best UX
So, how do you know what your customers actually want? It’s crucial to do your research – surveys, chatting to customers or putting yourself in their shoes are all useful approaches.
For example, your UX designers shouldn’t be designing TV remotes while sitting at their desks – they should do it in a home environment. That way, they’ll fully understand customer pain points and how your design can alleviate them.
In UX design terms, the critical and frequent paths that users take to complete their tasks are known as red routes – think of those red lines on the road where vehicles aren’t permitted to stop, with the object of creating free-flowing traffic.
To illustrate this, take a look at these 2 remote controls. On the left, the traditional design – which became ever more complex as new features and buttons were added over time. On the right, Apple. By moving most functions on screen, Apple revolutionised the user experience.
Ensure UX designers, CX specialists and product engineers collaborate
Okay, it isn’t possible for every business to turn UX on its head in this way. But the example illustrates the importance of understanding what your customers need, not what you think they want.
That’s why it’s crucial for customer experience specialists to work closely with UX designers and product engineers. By understanding the entire customer journey – and reflecting this through every part of your website and product – you’re able to ensure that both are easy to navigate and contain features and benefits that ensure your brand stands out for the right reasons.
Improve UX and see the benefits in your profits
The financial benefits of paving the way in CX have been well documented. For example, in 2016 Forrester found CX leaders delivered compound annual growth rates of 17% – compared to just 3% of those lagging behind. And it may not surprise you to learn that focusing on UX – and, in particular, usability – delivers similar gains.
E-commerce offers an easy illustration. When you’ve optimised your website UX, customers can find the products they want quickly. They also have easy access to information about deliveries and returns. Not only do they feel more positive about the experience, making them more likely to purchase, but there’s also a knock-on effect because they can self-service without tying up your support centre.
Customers are prepared to pay more if they’re guaranteed a positive experience: 53% of them, according to ThinkJar. So, deliver strong UX and you’ll increase customer retention and loyalty.
What’s more, there’s a strong correlation between CX, UX and a customer’s willingness to recommend a brand. Tempkin Group found that 77% of those who had a positive experience we’re likely to chat about it to others. Thus, strong UX leads to word-of-mouth marketing and an increase in market share.
UX is a huge part of CX – Neglect it at your peril
Ultimately, any discussion of CX should also involve consideration of UX. Make both unique features an essential part of your business plan, and you’ll build a brand that customers love.
To help you along the way, you’re now able to leverage the latest technology – our Touchpoint Tracker, for example – to obtain a holistic view of the entire customer base and how customers interact with your business at various stages.
The benefits here are twofold. First, you’re empowered to improve the customer experience by detecting which interactions are most effective and which sequences can be improved. Second, you reduce operational costs by only sending communications via the most relevant channel.
Want to find out more about CX and UX design? Sign up to our newsletter and we’ll send you the other blogs in our 3-part series as soon as they’re published.