You can have the best sales team, customer service representatives, advertising, brand recognition, and organizational structure; but if at the end of the day, your website, product or app is creating roadblocks for customers you have poor User Experience (UX) which will result in a failing Customer Experience (CX). In the past, UX has often been overlooked but today there are entire teams and UX design companies built around researching and designing User Experience to create a positive Customer Experience.
“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” – Jeff Bezos Founder & CEO, Amazon
UX vs. UI vs. CX
It can be easy to get your wires crossed when talking about the user experience, interface, and customer experience. It’s important to note their differences even though all three have a direct influence on each other. Below are some brief explanations to make sure we have some context moving forward:
User Experience (UX): Every aspect of the user’s interaction with a product, service, or company that makes up the user’s perceptions of the whole. User experience design as a discipline is concerned with all the elements that together make up that interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction.
User Interface (UI): A conduit between human and computer interaction – the space where a user will interact with a computer or machine to complete tasks. The purpose of a UI is to enable a user to effectively control a computer or machine they are interacting with, and for feedback to be received in order to communicate the effective completion of tasks.
Customer Experience (CX): The entirety of the interactions a customer has with a company and its products. Understanding the customer experience is an integral part of customer relationship management. The overall experience reflects how the customer feels about the company and its offerings.
More About User Experience (UX)
The Interaction Design Foundation defines User Experience as the experience that a user (or customer) has when they interact with a product. UX cases can be defined for all sorts of products, both simple and complex.
Take, for example, you are going to a coffee shop and when you arrive at the door you go to “push” the door open and it does not move, because you actually need to “pull” the door open to enter the coffee shop. So how does this relate to Customer Experience? Well, in an extreme example the customer may determine they are unable to enter the shop resulting in the loss of a sale and cause a detriment to your brand reputation because of the poor Customer Experience. This is a very bare bones instance of UX, but a quick solution to this issue could be adding a sign that says “Pull” by the handle.
Let’s take a look at another example that applies to a SoftWare company and how good UX results in successful CX. Let’s say Sarah lives in the UK and is interested in demoing a new meeting software, based in the United States for international conference calling. Here is the process that Sarah goes through:
- Sarah finds out about the software vendor through a Google search – the SEO is good.
- After watching the brief overview video on the homepage, Sarah wants to schedule a more in-depth demo of the software.
- Sarah easily navigates to the Demo Request page and fills out the form.
- The account manager, Tim, schedules a conference call with Sarah to demo the software.
- Tim executes a flawless demo and Sarah asks for a contract.
- Sarah signs the contract and promotes the software to her network.
Notice the differences in User Experience for the two cases, and how a pleasant UX results in a delightful CX.
How Does User Experience Relate to Customer Service?
Customer Service has a major influence on the overall Customer Experience, which is why it is so important to make sure when a user is experiencing issues, the support system is efficient and effective.
For example, let’s say Tim is having trouble creating a new order in the software he just purchased:
- Tim calls the support line, where Sarah answers the phone to help resolve Tim’s issue.
- Sarah tries to explain the issue over the phone but is unable to provide the proper context because Tim is not very tech savvy.
- To resolve the issue more efficiently, Sarah sends Tim an invite for a screensharing conference call.
- Tim shares his screen with Sarah, where she is able to discover the root of the issue, and coach Tim through the error he made, to set him up for success in the future.
Had Sarah not been able to send Tim a screenshare invitation, they may have not been able to resolve the issue, which would’ve resulted in a poor Customer Experience.
How to Create a Delightful UX?
There are a number of research methods that go into validating UX designs and functionality. For our example, we’ll look at the rideshare company Lyft’s re-design in 2016. Lyft conducted hundreds of hours of user research via:
Qualitative Research: Primary and exploratory research that is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations.
Quantitative Research: Primary research that is used to quantify problems, reasons, opinions, and motivations by generating numerical data. This often validates or invalidates the findings from qualitative research via statistical significance.
A/B Testing: An experiment where two or more versions of a page are shown to users, where statistical analysis is used to determine which version performed the best.
Through these methods, Lyft uncovered the following problems in their UX:
- Poor representation of the driver that is requested
- No transparency about price or estimated time of arrival
- Cars were not directional
- Poor use of color
- Options panel awkwardly placed
- Request Lyft is vague for first-time users
Lyft’s solutions to the problems they uncovered through UX research are as follows:
- Enhanced transparency and safety
- Better usage of primary color
- Price estimate feature
- Made it ergonomic
Investing time and resources into creating a great User Experience can improve all areas of your business. Most importantly, it will create a delightful Customer Experience that will establish brand loyalty and have those customers promoting your brand to colleagues as well.