You and I have something in common. We both work in user experience.
Maybe you don’t call yourself a UX designer, but I guarantee we do the same job. User experience isn’t a tech title. It’s actually a business term, coined way back in the 1990s. Silicon Valley types adopted the lingo, and now it's the way of life. And we learned all of this by watching you.
User experience is the way a customer interacts with a product. It’s a way to measure the efficacy of something like a retail space, a website or an app. That’s why we research, design, develop, code and test with the end user in mind.
But, that’s nothing new to you. Here are five ways you’re already the best UX expert of all.
1. You know your customer, right?
Whether it’s keeping abreast of market trends or conducting a focus group, you take time to understand your target demographic. This is the first step in user experience: defining who your user is. I’m sure you could rattle off all kinds of facts about your ideal customer, let's make sure you can rattle off the facts about your actual customers. When I start a project, I make sure I can do the same. I find that guessing is a bad idea.
Once I worked for a sports retailer who thought they did their homework based off of in-store retail sales. They figured that their online demographic was mostly male with an average to below average salary, so they said my designs were too …. “fancy” for these fellas. I said, "Prove it. "So I was charged with implementing Core-Metric Software and we did some serious analytics. Well, guess what? Not only was our core demographic female, but they were earning an above-average monthly income. BOOOOOM! I was correct, and as for my fancy designs ... they stayed. Sales skyrocketed.
2. You care about your customer.
You have impeccable customer service (= actual people) … I just know it. You understand that your customer service team is a great resource for measured success. You’re wise enough to see that bad service can kill any sale, no matter how great your product. That’s why you treat your customers well, and make customer satisfaction the biggest and best part of your business. I know that you are monitoring user experience and constantly adjusting for the best outcome, just like I do with the products I build. If a user has a negative experience with your website, that’s poor customer service. It’s my job to make sure the culture you’ve created extends online. In other words, I want to make sure a bad website doesn’t cost you sales, but drives your sales.
Quick Tip #1: (which you already know) Your customer service departments have the answers about where you should go in the future, based on the comments and suggestions they receive. So, listen carefully to them; they are the voice of your customer."
Quick Tip #2: (you do this already) Your customer service is your greatest asset, those teams get hammered. So, treat them well, and train them all. They are not second fiddle, they are the leaders of the orchestra.
Which leads me to …
3. You ask your customer for feedback.
How many times do you send out a survey, requesting client opinions? Do you encourage them to write reviews on Yelp, Facebook or Google? Almost every business wants feedback, because that’s how you know if you’re succeeding. If you can’t measure it (“Does a bear s*** in the woods?”). Here is the AMAZING part of our new world, we know for certain that a bear does S*** in the woods. Why? Someone finally analyzed it, and documented it, and they even took pictures (they made posters for goodness sake). Link to proof (may contain adult humor and profanity). So who wants to wonder if your product is thriving when we can find out for sure? Feedback, both good and bad, is what I thrive on to enhance your company's productivity online. This is why I test and measure my work against user response. If what I build is working for your customers and or prospects, then I’m working for you. So just, uh ... bear that in mind.
Quick Tip #3: Don't make customer service teams the dung beetles, cleaning up after your bears. Listening to and acting on customer feedback will greatly reduce customer service calls, which reduces cost to your business. This gives your customer service teams more time to focus on new business strategy and sales.
4. You’re strategic about your space.
No matter the size of your business, you probably spent a lot of time and money designing your office. After all, it’s important to send the right message when clients or business partners walk in the door. If you have a retail location, it’s even more crucial. Making sure the merchandise is laid out intuitively, efficiently, and in an eye-catching way will help boost your sales. Exactly like a website or app, which nobody wants to fumble around trying to navigate. Your online presence is also part of your integrity and should reflect your strength as a business. This happens with great structure & design, all while keeping your user in mind. What are they doing when they come to your space? What do you want them to do? What should they remember?
5. You’re conscious of your brand (hopefully).
It’s impossible to be in business today without using the word “brand” at least once a week. Trendy or not, the concept of brand is helpful, because it’s all about your unique presence in the marketplace. (Not just your logo, as some people mistakenly think.) You make decisions based on brand consistency, or because you want more brand equity. A UX designer like me will always approach a project for the same reasons. We create digital products that know your users next move through testing & analytics. We take the time to understand what makes you stand out, and then we create digital products to reflect and enhance your image.
So, you see? User Experience is actually a huge part of your job. Now, if you need any marketing, coding or design work that keeps all of your User Experiences flowing in the same, simple direction, then I’m your (wo)man.
I will help you reduce the amount of dung beetles necessary to run your business.
Beth Moore began designing websites and creating user expereinces before they were cool. She became Creative Director for an interactive agency at age 22, and has managed multiple facets of the development + design + user experience process. Beth is President and Founder of Street UX Design House, a full-service online product development shop, web design & marketing house for the digital age. Learn more at www.streetux.com.