How to become a user-centered business 2

How to become a user-centered business

Whatever the platform, be it mobile app, e-commerce site or point-of-sale, your customers’ interactions form an intrinsic part of their overall customer experience. However, all too often when a business develops its digital systems and products they focus purely on business goals with an onus on technical capabilities and functionality.

The problem with this is that it rarely considers what users actually want from your products. As such many of these digital touch-points are destined to fail because your customers simply don’t want, or have no need to interact.

However, by becoming a more user-centered organisation you can offer a more efficient, satisfying, and user-friendly experience for your customers, which inevitably leads to increased sales and customer loyalty. In fact, research published in the Harvard Business Review found that customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the worst past experience.

That’s great news for businesses. However simply stating “We want to delight our users,” aren’t enough. To become a company that delivers great user experiences takes deep concerted effort. Below then are some key pointers on how to transform your business to be more focused on its users. They are of course very top line but they will give you a guide as to taking the right steps towards reaping the benefits of focusing on your users.

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Accept that being user-centered is a way of operating, not just a brand ‘message’

At a marketing communications level, it’s all too easy for us to simply state that we focus on our users. Countless businesses will brag that they put their users first, celebrating success by how quickly they can answer the customer service phone calls.

In a study by Moosylvenia into the relationships between the highly influential and affluent ‘Millennial’ generation of consumers and brands, they found that Millennials are preferring to build relationships with brands based on their experiences, rejecting traditional advertising communications. In other words, it’s less about what you say, it’s about what you do.

Tangible improvements to your user’s experience of your products and services will never magically appear through simply stating we are a user-centric organisation. Therefore, before you can truly start to become a user-centered organisation, you have committed to the idea that consideration for your users’ experiences with your brand has to be wholly ingrained at all levels of operation within your business right from c-suite to the shop floor.

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Allocate people to user experience

Whilst it might seem like it’s possible to simply Initiatives can’t take off if they’re tacked on to people’s day jobs. Existing priorities and process will always take precedence and even the best intentions of being a user-centered business can quickly be swept aside and forgotten about.

The last few years has seen more and more companies appointing a chief experience officer (CXO), a single executive who leads CX (customer experience) and UX (user experience) initiatives across the entire business.

But whilst executives are vital in leading the way to being a more user-centric organisation, they can’t do it alone. Like any leader within an organisation, they need the support of integrated UX personnel across all product/service teams. organization for cross-functional coordination, domain expertise, and operational support.

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Determine your user experience strategy

Like any business activity, to user-centered requires the design and implementation of a UX strategy in order to focus the organization on delivering the right interactions at the right time.

The right strategy for your company will align with the specifics of both your business goals and brand – what is it we need the users to do aligned with what do the users want to do. This will help guide you in prioritizing your UX initiatives.

There are many ways to approach this strategy, but one of the simplest ways is to understand your customer’s path to purchase (what decisions are they making and how do they make them i.e. what influences their decisions and where do they look for that influence?) then develop a ‘digital experience roadmap’ to accommodate this behaviour.

For instance, by understanding the moments of research before going on to purchase, or even understanding the what influences a purchasing decision, you can design and create the right content and functionality to form a highly engaging user experience.

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Dedicate ongoing budget to UX

It’s not difficult to see how the success of brands such as Apple, Amazon, and Uber are all underwritten by an absolute focus on delighting their users. In fact, many of these dominant brands are still doubling their UX budgets whilst many UX beginners are only just starting to invest. What is important however is that these brands commit to ongoing UX efforts, not simply one-off projects.

Of course finding funds to invest in UX is easier said than done – many brands already have budgets stretched incredibly thin across existing and emerging channels. However, we now know the Millenial consumer trusts experiences and peer recommendations far more than traditional advertising mediums.

Therefore, consider then shifting budgets from areas such as ad spend (and perhaps other paid media) and redirect them into to projects that will help your product/service teams deliver great user experiences.

To conclude

By delivering better user experiences throughout your customers’ journey you can start to deliver a step change in business performance. Just remember that whilst one-off UX projects can be fruitful, it enough to simply see UX as a series of projects thinking or random efforts. To create a company-wide focus on users requires embedding UX strategy into the very core of your business with dedicated resource and budget. The return: bigger audiences, more customers, better conversion and a brand that users love.

If you would like to know more about how UX can help your business then please get in touch, we’d be happy to help.

Andrew Machin
Andrew Machin

With over 25 years’ experience in UX and digital strategy, Andrew has helped many national and global brands such as John Lewis, Harley Davidson, Johnson & Johnson, and Interflora create exceptional digital product experiences.

Through the success of such projects Andrew has received high-profile accolades that span innovation, strategy, and design, such as the Dadi Grand Prix Award and the Digital Impact Award for Innovation.

This experience has led to Andrew judging digital design awards, been featured in .net magazine, lecturing at Leeds university, and speaking at seminars and conferences across the UK.

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