To ensure great user experience, build your website, product or service from the perspective of your customers. Anticipate all their needs from the start to the end of their interaction with your business and you will be able to reap results.
Think like your customer to build a great user experience
What constitutes a great user experience?
In the design field, user experience is often thought of as defining and managing an individual’s experience of a product, service or a website. This means that designers create products, websites or services based on how they believe their customers would use it. A perspective like this is simply flawed because it takes customers out of the picture, who are the ones that actually decide whether a product is great or not. The value of a product, service or website is often dependent on the customers’ perception because they are the ones who choose whether one brand is worth purchasing over another. Simply put, creating a great user experience is putting your customer in the centre of the design process.
The Ritz-Carlton hotel chain is one company that makes the experience of its customers a priority; no wonder why it is one of the top luxury hotels worldwide. In one example, a family was vacationing at the Ritz hotel in Bali when they faced a problem: the specialised eggs and milk they brought for their son with food allergies had gone bad. Staff at the Ritz-Carlton tried to find in vain these products in town but found none. The executive chef of the hotel remembered that a store in Singapore sells them; so he called his mother-in-law and asked her to purchase them. He then flew her to Bali to deliver the products to the family. Such effort of the hotel helped ensure that the family had a wonderful time at the Ritz-Carlton and enjoyed their vacation. It also shows the great lengths the hotel would go to provide its guests a hassle-free stay.
With the availability of the Internet and social media, feel-good stories like this can get around fast, and so does customer complaints. A negative comment or a feedback can quickly put your business in a bad light, and discourage other people from purchasing your product or your services. If you don’t rectify the issue immediately, the public can easily think that you do not care about your customers, which can hurt your business. Since many enterprises would like to avoid this, some of them are replacing the term “user experience” with “customer experience” to cultivate a customer-centric mindset in their day-to-day operations.
In fact, businesses need to enhance their focus on customers nowadays as technological developments intensify competition. For instance, ride-sharing app Uber has gotten the cab industry up in arms as it provides people an easier way to get a ride by booking in advance, increasingly taking customers away from traditional cabbies. Payment is done via credit card, eliminating the need to tip. If cabbies or other businesses want staying power, they need to enhance customers’ experience to secure their loyalty.
Simply put, businesses need to give more importance to providing a great “customer experience” if they want to remain competitive. Make sure that all points of interaction that a customer has with your website, product or service address their needs. You wouldn’t want to end up seeing a customer complaint go viral because a certain issue wasn’t addressed properly. United Airlines lost US$ 180 million in 2009 after a customer made a music video on how baggage handlers broke his custom-made guitar, and when the airline was not responding to his calls about the issue. For any business owner, a massive loss such as this should be avoided at all costs.
Great user experience can guide your business toward growth
Providing a great user experience to your customers will yield returns for your business. Some of these are:
- Greater customer satisfaction, which enhances customer retention – As mentioned earlier, your customer gets to decide the value for your product or service, not you. A great user experience can win the loyalty of your customer, and ensure repeat business for your company.
- Increased productivity – A seamless transaction on your website, or a product that allows your customers to easily accomplish tasks can increase sales or complement your marketing efforts when you receive great feedback. Always consider the feedback of your customers because these can show you room for improvement and help you achieve efficiency in your business.
- Better lead generation – Customers that are satisfied with their experience on your website, product or services can help promote your business through word-of-mouth. They can tell others how your business provided convenience or efficiency for them, and point them to you. As a result, your customer base expands, which generates additional sales.
- Differentiates you from competitors – A great user experience will help you win the loyalty of your customers and set your business apart. As a result, your customers will always prefer your brand over others and even encourage their family, friends and other acquaintances to try your products or services. This can increase your market share against your competitors because your customers are seen as credible source of information.
- Less costs on staff training, support – When your website is easy to navigate, or when the service you offer is very simple, your employees will easily learn their role in the company and need fewer hours for training. This allows you to save time and expenses related to training. When customers quickly grasp how to use your product or your service, you can also avoid the expense of providing support for basic issues, and instead allocate resources for complex problems.
Simply put, providing a great user experience is a win-win for your company. It allows you to gain more customers, while helping you save on costs to achieve efficiency. Whenever you are planning to release a new product, service or a feature, try to get into the mind of your customers first to address their needs in order to provide them an experience they will never forget.