User Experience (UX or Customer Experience)
A search for the term user experience will yield varying results about expectations, perceptions and satisfaction. So user experience by definition is how a customer perceives interacting with a company’s product, service or system that failed, met or superseded his expectations. Though lately this term has been linked to computer and technological systems, all business could benefit from implementing strategies designed to improve user experience and acquire greater results.
User Experience’s contribution to bottom line
UX is essential to business development strategies such as revenue, new and existing business increase, cost decrease, and increase in shareholder value, as taught by Jared Spool, founder of User Interface Engineering. According to Spool, an easy and clear user interface, encourages customer confidence and therefore loyalty, which translates to more spending and profits. A quick review of Reebok’s 3 step self serve return policy, demonstrates this example.
- Concise, accessible terms, encourage customers returning products, to purchase more; knowing that they will have no trouble replacing their items- thus increasing revenue from new and existing business
- The self serve option decreases the need for service calls which in turn lowers cost
- All of the above contribute to an increase in share holder value
The implementation of systems and services that allow customers ease of use, and convenience contribute significantly to the customers’ perception of a better user experience, which is vital to business success.
Implementing customer experience strategies
In order to increase customer loyalty, a company’s products and/or services must display the following characteristics: viability, feasibility, desirability, convenience and enjoyment. And the company’s goals and context (environment in which it operates) must meet that of the customers. This difference is evident when we compare an Apple and Blackberry smart phone. While one company thrived due to their system, the other plummeted as a result of not meeting the customers’ goals, preconceived notions, and expectations. But the main difference between businesses that bottom out and feed their bottom line is how their system meets customer expectations (having multiple features on your smart phone) and creates delight (reducing customer confusion while using the multiple apps with ease and clarity-thus creating brand evangelists.)
Once a company determines its customers needs, and adds value to the product by moving from expectation to excitement generation, user experience intensifies. To stand out companies should apply Jared Spool’s rule: “not sucky ≠ delightful.”