Customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) are 21st century buzzwords that pop up in every product development meeting in the world. Yet many companies still don’t know how to integrate the two to accelerate profits. Customer experience involves a user’s experience with your company from beginning to end. This includes their interaction with your website, team, brand, app, and product. User experience refers to the experience users have when interacting specifically with your product.
Let’s take a look at each concept individually, see how they work together, and scrounge up some ideas on how to improve customer experience and improve user experience for your products.
What is CX?
Customer Experience (CX) involves an entire set of interactions with your brand across all customer touch-points. Measuring and conducting CX metrics is a team effort between CRM managers, marketing managers, business analysts, project managers, and most importantly the customers. To boost customer experience, ensure that customers are willing to share your product with people in their circles. Create and maintain communication channels with customers, and foster professional and positive interactions.
What is UX?
User Experience (UX) involves a person’s interaction with your software product. Metrics for user experience include: error rate, abandonment rate, and time to perform certain activities, just to name a few. These are usually tracked by a usability expert on your team, a product manager, or a product designer. Improve user experience by ensuring that people are able to find information for which they search quickly and perform key tasks with ease.
Good User Experience + Good Customer Experience = Winning
Imagine your team as a group of matchmakers. In one corner you have user experience and in the other there is customer experience. Your mission — make these crazy kids fall in love and become a unified entity. Neither UX nor CX are strong enough to drive business growth on their own. What good is a great product with awesome usability if there is no one to answer questions about the product? No matter how simple or intuitive the product may be, not all customers have the time or technical ability to understand everything about the product. It is inevitable that Aunt Rita will prefer to call customer support than trouble shoot product issues herself. So always be available across multiple platforms for your customers. On the flip side, your customer service reps can be the best in the history of the internet, but this won’t matter if your product is confusing to the people who are supposed to benefit from using it.
Still not convinced that CX and UX belong together? Check this out! In 2014, Forrester Research surveyed companies that combined CX and UX and companies that didn’t do it. Only 13% of companies combined CX and UX, while 38% chose to keep the two separate. The survey revealed that companies with an integrative approach experienced more successful project implementation overall.
How to Improve Customer Experience
Now that we’ve looked at how CX and UX work together, let’s talk about some surefire ways to improve them separately.
- Be Psychic: Predicting how your customers will act is key to creating a superior customer experience. Many companies use predictive analytics to identify patterns of behavior from target markets to hypothesize future behavior. However, these predictions are only as good as the data available.
- Go Digging: Approach customer service like a surveyor approaches a nice piece of land. Yes the grass may be green, but what’s lurking beneath the surface? Is the soil fertile enough to grow your business? Providing great customer experience involves digging into the emotional and subconscious parts of the brand experience. The emotional experience will have a huge influence on how customers feel about your product, and if they recommend it to others. The best customer service teams place themselves in the role of the customer, navigating the customer experience from beginning to end and noting the subconscious signals they experience along the way. This can be quite a daunting and revealing experience, but once you’ve gone through the motions you’ll have a better perspective on how to design for a more positive emotional experience.
- Engage Employees in CX: Employees must be engaged in the customer experience. In a lot of ways employees are like customers. The best companies in CX know how to build emotional bonds with their employees in order to maximize the fruits of their labor. Tons of studies show time after time that happy employees simply work harder. Even if an employee knows they are underpaid, they will continue working for an employer if they believe in company products and feel appreciated. One result of feeling appreciated and empowered is a dedication to the customer experience.
The key takeaway here is that top customer experience companies don’t sit passively by, hoping to improve customer experience. Instead they make a strategic effort to predict consumer behavior based on patterns, dig into the emotional parts of the brand experience, and use employees as efficient brand ambassadors through excellent customer service. If employees believe in your products, they become your most valuable brand ambassadors, spreading the good news of your company through daily interaction with customers in person and online. This 3 point system, if done consistently, will boost customer experience for your organization in the long run.
How to Improve User Experience
In some ways, usability is a much simpler variable to control than customer experience. Improving customer experience requires conscious, persistent strategizing and precise metrics tracking. To boost user experience, companies can utilize a variety of convenient services or tools like BetaLoop to capture insights into the design and usability aspects of recently launched product features. Companies can use design, speed, and clear messaging as guides to improve user experience no matter which platforms (online or mobile) they use to launch products. Let’s take a peek at these parameters in detail.
- Don’t sacrifice brand for fads: So what if A/B testing showed a .75 percent increase in conversions with the ugly, orange button. If the entire website operates on a modern blue and black color scheme, why damage this image for a microscopic advantage? Keep in mind that design is about more than clicks — it is a direct reflection of your company.
- Just say no to stock photos: Gone are the days when cheesy stock photos gave your website cheap street cred. Today’s consumer can spot a “non-authentic” photo from a mile away, and may be turned off by the man wearing a headset image they’ve already seen on your competitor’s website. Instead encourage employees (your most valuable brand ambassadors) to take photos at the office, at events, etc. In other words, stop looking for a photo that shows a team hard at work — take a photo of your team hard at work.
- Optimize images: This should go without saying. Speed matters. Every moment that visitors spend waiting for images to load or videos to load, is a chance for them to leave. Don’t make your visitors download huge images for no reason. There are tons of free tools available to optimize your images for speed. Check out JPEGmini and Optimizilla for starters.
- Set up automated speed improvements: If you have CMS, use a plugin to cache portions of your website that prevent visitors from downloading the same images more than once. WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache for WordPress, are plugins that also minimize, sort and compress files to increase browsing speed.
- Be clear and concise: Don’t make visitors guess what your service is all about. Distill what your company can do for them in a clear and concise message. Place this message in headlines and other prominent spaces on the site. No one has time to read the entire website to find out what the company does in great detail. A few well-crafted pages will boost user experience far more than a dozen poorly-written pages.
- Calls to action: Tests have shown that visitors respond better to strategically placed call-to-action buttons, than buttons plastered all over the website. Place call-to-action buttons at points where visitors are ready to make a decision about products and services.
We covered a lot of ground, but the big takeaway is the importance of CX and UX integration. Good CX goes hand-in-hand with good UX. They just look good together! Even if you have two separate teams responsible for each process, these two teams should be working in tandem. There is no magic formula to improve user experience, or top-secret method to improve customer experience — just good old fashioned strategy, time, implementation with the right tools, a team dedicated to products they believe in, and excellent customer service. If you make CX and UX integration a top company initiative, it will convert visits into consistent sales. Who doesn’t want that?
Originally published at Betaloop.