User Experience (UX) is vitally important for EVERY business, not just big companies. It’s probably even more important for small businesses because each customer or sale is vital to its success. We’ll talk about why this is, and what you can do about it.
Ever gone to a beautiful website only to be frustrated you can’t find what you’re looking for? Or you’ve been sitting in a fantastic new car but thought, “What idiot designed the controls for the air conditioning?”. This is probably a bad User Experience.
What is User Experience design (UX)?
Simply put, User Experience, or UX, is the science of making things better and easier to use by discovering and using your customer’s perspective.
The term “user experience” comes from the 90s, but the principles go back much further. UX owes a lot to the concepts of “ergonomics” and “human efficiency” in business. While these concentrate on physical interactions with real objects, UX typically focuses on the mental or psychological interactions and experiences a person has when interacting with a business. In general, UX is the practical application of cognitive psychology and research to an organization’s interactions with its “users” or customers.
Why is UX vitally important to businesses?
A better experience attracts more customers, keeps them happy, and encourages them to spend more. Frustrated customers don’t come back. According to research by PWC, more than 20% of customers would stop interacting with a brand they LOVE after a single bad experience.
More than 20% of customers would stop interacting with a brand they LOVE after a single bad experience.PwC Future of Customer Experience Survey 2017/18
3 out of 5 users responded to a survey reporting that a good experience is more important than advertising to keep them coming back to a brand. Marketing and advertising gets them in the door; great experience keeps them there.
Where is UX?
UX should be considered everywhere, from websites to packaging, store interiors to conferences, and especially customer service and support interactions. User Experience makes the life of your customer better. That translates into higher satisfaction and better sales for your company.
A good User Experience can even change a negative into a positive. Great support or customer service can erase a customer’s negative experience with a product or service. Even better, it can turn that frustration into a loyal customer. One reason for Apple’s success isn’t that their products never break. But they have a reputation for going above and beyond to make their customers happy when they have problems. And Apple’s brand loyalty is among the highest you can have at over 90%.
How do successfully implement great UX?
It may seem like it’s easy to consider customers’ perspectives and create a great experience, but the truth of the matter is that as business owners, we’re too close to the subject matter. Even if we can put ourselves in their shoes, we have biases, unconscious knowledge, and other blind spots. At the end of the day, we’re really only ever making our best guess at what customers really want or need.
User Experience relies on scientific tools and methods to discover what customers really want and need. UX researchers employ observation, testing, and techniques that have been tried and tested for decades to come up with optimal solutions.
The exact tools and techniques will vary depending on what is being evaluated, but some examples are interviews, surveys, A/B testing, workshops, task analysis, and many others. Each of these methodologies is a tool designed to uncover users’ needs and wants, and then provide solutions to meet those needs. This UX process is vitally important to the success of your business.
How can I use UX for my business?
At the simplest level, you can just start really evaluating things from your customer’s perspective. As mentioned above, that will only take you so far. To really get the best answers, you will want to engage with a User Experience professional that has familiarity with your niche. While UXers that have experience with small and medium businesses are rare, we do exist. As a business or service provider, you will want to find someone who has experience in those areas.
From there, the typical process involves meeting with your UX pro and explaining what you’re trying to accomplish. We can take it from there, developing a research plan, executing it, and helping you come up with solutions and recommended changes to improve customer experience.
Is it worth it?
So worth it. IBM invested in a UX project and after just three years noted a 301% return. There are other examples of businesses that credit UX projects with saving the business from failure.
But think of it this way: how much are your customers worth? Because that’s what UX is all about: your customers. Investing in your customers is the safest thing you can do.
Educating clients on why this is vitally important, Brian Wood is Stratifi’s Technical and UX Director, and has been implementing User Experience & business strategies for nearly 20 years.