Leveraging UX to Boost Customer Sentiment
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Chances are, you hear the term “User Experience”, or “UX” for short, fairly often if you spend time in the digital marketing landscape. This hot topic has rapidly become a cornerstone of digital marketing strategies and strongly influences many of the products and services we use every day.
The term “user experience” encompasses any interaction, feeling, or experience a user has with a product, system, or service. This includes a website, web application, software, packaging, or even a physical product. UX intends to meet the exact needs of the user, or customer, in a frictionless manner that feels effortless and pleasant.
The Origins of UX
Believe it or not, the concept of UX has existed for millennia. Researchers have always been curious about how people interact with products and services and study this behavior to improve their products. Starting in the 1990s, the term “user experience” was officially coined by Don Morman, combining his work as both cognitive psychologist and designer, and became increasingly popular as more job titles started including the term.
While the term UX can be applied to nearly everything under the sun, today it is heavily associated with digital applications, like websites, software, and technology.
To the concern of many organizations, there is no overarching or widespread definition of a “good” user experience. Good UX looks different depending on the industry and the target audience, requiring organizations to spend time and money for testing and the collection of various data.
However, bad user experience is easier to recognize and comes in many forms such as slow load speed, hidden or confusing navigation, poor discoverability, etc. In fact, 88% of users are less likely to return to an organization’s website after a poor user experience and that number alone should tell you the importance of UX strategy and design.
UX is an umbrella term that involves user experience strategy, interaction design, user research, and information architecture. Experience strategy entails a holistic strategy of including the needs of both the customers and the company.
Interaction design encompasses how a user interacts with a system, including interactive elements such as buttons, animations, and other features. User research requires feedback from existing or potential customers in the form of qualitative and quantitative data to guide design decisions. Lastly, information architecture is the custom of organizing information in an intuitive and accessible manner.
Focus is Key
At the heart of all these elements is a user focus. Since UX is guided by humans and based on humans, there will inherently be bias in design. A good UX strategy will work to remove or mitigate cognitive bias as much as possible, including confirmation, false consensus, anchoring, and more. These cognitive biases are caused by faults in our thinking process that ultimately impact decision-making.
In order to counteract these biases, designers and UX strategists can leverage empathy in design, and gradually woo users. Empathy for users can involve creating personas, empathy maps, accessibility, and designing a website with the “beginner” mindset.
At the end of the day, being able to understand the feelings and thoughts, and behaviors of the website visitors will allow organizations to effectively place themselves in the shoes of the customer. User empathy leads to user empowerment, a scenario in which website visitors feel they hold some form of control and ability to contribute.
Not only does this empower users, but UX will also increase brand loyalty. Strong UX is a technique for speaking “face to face” with your audience. Brands create bonds through due diligence and learning. Without that, customer loyalty withers away due to poor design and experiences.
A robust UX strategy should empathize with the audience, identify underlying issues or roadblocks, and collect data such as customer satisfaction ratings.
Long Term Gains of Quality User Experience
User Experience is oftentimes considered long-term and calls for ongoing testing and experimenting. Designers typically observe, hypothesize, execute, and measure, just like any other type of experiment. Success can be measured through benchmark comparison and goal setting.
Common KPIs include clicks, conversion rates, conversion volume, bounce rates, time spent on-page, and abandonment rates. Before evaluating UX, it is crucial that these KPIs align with an organization’s overall marketing KPIs.
HubSpot is an excellent example of a company that has seen strong returns after investment and re-thinking user experience on their site. This investment was in the form of testing new conversion methods, copy messaging, and visual treatments. Each of these experiments was complimented with feedback tools and user-oriented. The result of this initiative was a massive uptick in conversion rate, even tripling in some fields.
The long-term impact of strong UX is conversion – whether that’s a phone call, share on socials, or eCommerce checks out. It is a crucial part of sustainable success and should be prioritized just like growing revenue, winning new business, or retaining talent. For every $1 invested in UX results, there is an estimated return of $100.
Embracing Customer Sentiment
So how does all the above fit into customer sentiment? The sentiment is defined as the view, feeling, or attitude someone has towards an event or situation. Customer sentiment is how consumers feel about a website, product, and brand.
We all know the difference between a good and bad experience whether it’s customer service, mobile responsiveness on a website, or the online checkout process. Of course, these customers are not typically aware of the investment and process that goes into user experience, but they can certainly tell when the necessary due diligence has been conducted.
In conclusion, user experience serves many vital roles and is an initiative not to be ignored by organizations. UX holds many hats as it is a commitment to learning, testing, empathizing with consumers, and innovation. With investment in this category, an organization is likely to see leads follow.
On top of incremental leads, organizations can expect to see stronger customer retention, more market share, and ultimately more sales.
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