UX Research is not only important for the CEO of a company nor only for the marketing department, it’s equally as important for the innovation manager, the research and development department, ICT, customer care and so much more. It’s important for every single department if you want to be the best at what you do.
Last week we showed you the ROI of UX Research which you can use when trying to convince your CEO or manager to implement UX in your company. In this article we will discuss the benefits UX Research has in a more practical way. I know we said we wanted to focus on the benefits for marketers in relation to other departments but we want to widen the subject. Let’s start this article with a video that I saw during my studies and one that I think about very often, also mainly because it’s so catchy. United…United…You broke my Taylor Guitar…United…United…Some big help you are.
This video has been my favorite in this topic since many years, unhappy customers have a major influence on the company. This video alone led to a loss of 180 million dollars for United Airlines. How come?
Luckily CEO’s have become more aware of the power that unsatisfied customers have on the organization. Designing a great customer experience is of a strategic importance for a company (Forrester). Customer Experience is basically a perception, a personal score that people give to the experiences they had with your company. Therefore you cannot control them but you can have a great influence on how your customers perceive you and the interactions they had with you. To know that, we need do to some UX research and map all those touchpoints customers have with your company to see where things can go wrong and what impact that has.
Try to figure out how effective you were at meeting the needs of your customers, how easy was it for them to do business with you. And don’t forget how to find out how enjoyable it was for them to do business with you.
And to zoom in further on meeting the needs, the customer wants to know what your product enables him to do, not just in a functional way but also how does it make him feel. Overall people never forget how you’ve made them feel. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your customer has the best experience at every given time in his journey. We have to develop products and services which provides added value through differentiation and relevance.
This is all possible thanks to UX research. But before we can start making products that meet the needs of our customers, we have to know who they are, what they prefer, how they behave, ….
1. Get to know your users
Marketers have used traditional research to gain insight in their customers but traditional research uses average statistics to recapitulate the ideal customer. However the average person doesn’t exist, for example if you want to target the average Belgian household, you need to target one that spends 10.434 Euros on housing, 2.091 Euros on household appliances, products and tools. One that has a capital of 400.000 Euros and consists of 2.98 people. Good luck finding those! Average statistics can be helpful in certain ways but they aren’t helpful if we try to understand the population for which we are developing products. It’s no use to design for an average person, you can better design for a real specific user based on qualitative research like a persona.
If you want more information on persona’s, how to make them and work with them? Let us know and we will write a detailed article about it, just send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many different methods to get to know your user, that’s the benefit of UX research, via different techniques you are able to unravel why people do what they do. Traditional research tells us what is going on in the market, UX research shows us how we can win in that market.
List all the information that you need to know:
What do you already know about your customer?
What is his situation?
What does he really need?
What are his priorities?
Does he use similar products/services?
How does he inform himself about the product/ service? Or who informs him?
Knowing this is not only helpful for marketers, communication officers but also for developers. The software, website and app developers also needs to know who their user is and what he needs and how he wants to work with the products.
But after purchase the customer may detect a problem or maybe he is unsure about something so he calls customer service. At this stage you know somewhere along the line something went wrong because having a problem means you have failed somewhere. How you handle this call is very important, thanks to all the metrics you gathered you know which client is calling, what he bought, when he bought it, when he paid and his profile. Try to help him in the best way possible because:
2. Making usable products that meet the needs of the end-user
Now that we know our customer we can start developing for him, we targeted his goals, framed his attitude and we know his behavior so we start working on an initial idea. That idea consists of a small set of really important tasks the product needs to deliver or de user wants to carry out. But then it’s tricky to stick to that initial idea, the whole development team wants to have his saying and so they begin to add additional features who don’t deliver such a huge amount of added value to the customer as the first smaller set of features. And those less important added features can get in the way of the important ones so that the end-user will not be able to use the product in the way that it was originally intended to. Just focus on the important tasks!
Basically thanks to UX you get to know your customers, build a product/service/website/… according to their needs and target them in the best way possible. We’ve written a 10-step guide for the ideal market approach based on UX research. You can read about it here.
3. Developing usable web products and detecting sales obstacles
It is an option to test or analyze an existing website and optimize it based upon user insights. But it would be even better to start building a new website/ product based upon insights you gathered through using different UX research methods. When you know from the beginning what your users want you are able to make something according to their needs.
Testing before launching is so important and avoids extra costs to fix issues, developing an app, website or software is so costly that you can’t permit not to test.
But it is often the case that bottlenecks occur or become visible after usage, like when launching a new website. Sometimes certain pages form a bottleneck but through analytics you can detect where visitors leave your website and sales obstacles are created because people are leaving at a critical page or moment. Thanks to UX Research you can find out why these pages/elements are bottlenecks for your sales. Get to know your user and his/hers behavior. See how they interact with your website and what goes wrong. You’ll find out how to optimize your website, ultimately leading to higher sales, more visitors and returning customers. You don’t even need a lot of people to detect the problems:
Thanks to UX research techniques you can evaluate how customers perceive your brand, understand the cross-channel customer journey, compare your business to the competition and optimize your web presence.