Why the state of the industry is set up for UX and CX.
A succinct argument for the state of the digital industry and it’s future reliance on User and Customer Experience.
Firstly, why are there often question marks around UX and CX?
This is my take on the lack of understanding around the roles and need for UX and CX within companies.
UX takes ownership of the roles and responsbilities that developers should be doing anyway. Research, Design Iteration and Validation are sensible steps which should be undertaken by anyone wanting to create a useful, usable products regardless of the medium they’re designing them in.
However, UX has advanced these roles and made them a specialism by becoming more expert in each and adding real value as a result, similar to Project Managers. You wouldn’t expect to start a design sprint without a Project Manager, but then you wouldn’t exactly not start to speak with your team or order your backlog just because a PM didn’t exist. Similary to UX Designers, Projects Managers have specialised the art of organising and informing development teams.
Customer Experience on the other hand is an expansion of User Experience in many respects. It considers the customer journey across multiple touchpoints. A great example for me would be the Post Office. An in-store, online and mobile presence, which needs to communicate to its users across all touchpoints, but with a binding narrative that provides a quality experience at each stage.
So,why is the state of the industry set-up for UX and CX?
We live in an age now of disruptors coming to market and smaller scale start-ups wanting to elbow their way in past the competition and for many, they haven’t looked back. However here’s the issue…
A lot of these business models are solely online in terms of their relationship with their customer:
- Finance: Think challenger banks like Starling and Monzo who are “mobile-only” with an online focussed customer interaction.
- Retail: Think online clothing retailers such as ASOS and BooHoo, who have made a hugely successful impact on the market since arriving with no ‘bricks and mortar’ (physical) outlets.
Although some start-ups might provide telephone assistance should things go wrong for the customer, online chat mediums still seems to be the strong preference due to cost, whilst the point of sale is still crucially online.
The one thing these business have in common is their reliance on an exceptional User Experience if they’re to persuade potential customers away from the competition. As online-only, B2C companies, they need to provide an aesthetically pleasing UI, teamed with an exceptional User Experience. For the likes of HSBC, RBS or Bank of America, they have thousands of in-store customer service teams, established call-centres and years of customer service experience in their favour when looking to retain their customers or gain new ones. For any new start-up coming to market, they’ll likely have less financial power and experience and so their USP needs to be an outstanding quality of experience, in order to gain that trust from a user when building a lasting relationship.
How does UX and CX benefit from this?
UX Design is the essence of how a potential customer should feel about your online service. This may be working with others to create visually pleasing, accessible and intuitive experiences, using language which is fit for context and easy to understand. There is no doubt that if such business want to create these sorts of environments to help drive their business objectives by attracting and retaining customers, then UX must be pivotal in their thinking.
However, providing more attractive and engaging experiences which customers will love is something that all companies should strive for, regardless of which space they operate in. For larger scale, non-online only companies (e.g. Amazon, HSBC) who are able to provide users with multiple touch points through their journey (in-store UI, desktop website and mobile app all working together), then these such business require a clear Customer Experience (CX) Strategy. Ensuring a consistent and reliable experience at each step, which will help to meet their customers’ needs. Amazon are excellent in delivering a clear CX approach from the moment you click online to door step delivery; and as CEO Jeff Bezos (aka newly crowned world’s richest man) is famously quoted as saying:
“Obsess over the customer, not the competition.” — Jeff Bezos
The importance of Trust
One of the key factors that make up a user’s overall perception of product or service is trust. With regards to e-commerce trust is an important indicator for intention to transact as shown in Pavlou’s Trust model (2003). Not only is it shown as having a significant direct effect on the user’s intention to transact, but also as having a highly significant effect on other factors which effect intention to transact.
Being able to convey trust and building up good relationships with users is what helps to turn them in to customers and encourage repeat trade. Through considered UX and CX, we can design for trust by providing a quality aesthetic, an intuitive and easy-to-use interface and easily understood language to name a few. Although many web-users of today have grown up ‘digitally-native’, this doesn’t take away from the need to be perceived as a trustworthy business who can be relied upon.
Sometimes it’s not enough to simply have a great product or service, but instead the way that is translated to your potential customers through something they’re able to connect with and emotionally invest, which may late transpire to something they will physically invest in. To use an analogy, when buying a sports car costing a lot of money you want it to meet an array of needs in terms of its looks, the performance, its usability, but importantly how it makes you feel: proud, trusting, confident, luxurious etc. It’s imperative that any new service or product coming to market really understands this need to connect with their audience emotively.
Therefore, as long as there’s a need to attract users through digital mediums, there’ll inevitably be a need for UX and CX.