Become customer-centric by improving user experience
Creating a logical and friction-free pathway to conversion is the nirvana of user experience (UX) goals. But in order to achieve this, users need to be at the centre of every design process, including the crucial iterative post-launch process.
You can often identify digital properties that have haven’t prioritised user experience by their disjointed design elements, content inconsistencies and convoluted user journeys. Users become frustrated with unnecessary obstacles and too many choices, and will typically spend only 10 seconds assessing whether or not stay or bounce back to their search.
User experience has been defined as encompassing “all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products”. It’s greater than just the usability of an interface, although that does play a significant part and unfortunately examples of poorly considered user interfaces are more common than they should be (see here, here and here).
UX takes the wider, more holistic approach of addressing the entire experience with a business through every channel, including offline. It’s more closely related to customer experience, so how can you change your marketing strategy to become more customer-centric?
Using the SOSTAC model to incorporate user and customer experience into a marketing strategy.
I recommend using the SOSTAC model of marketing planning to determine what actions should be taken and the route to achieving the desired goals.
Situation – Gather insights from existing sources including user personas, site / app performance analytics, user tests and transactional data. Formulate a picture of your target audience including their challenges, motivations and influences. Using a competitor analysis, examine how well your user experience compares.
Objectives – Use the 5S model to work out what your user and customer experience goals should be. Identify the points of conversion that form part of the wider business goals and map out how users will achieve these.
Strategy – Review your user interface and identify whether users can complete the conversion actions set for them. Do the user journeys need reviewing? Are the calls to action clear and prominently placed? Does design or site functionality hinder rather than help users achieve their goals? What are the offline touchpoints and how can they better integrate with the digital experience?
Tactics – Consider the resources available again what’s required to achieve the objectives. Can you make simple design changes to form layouts, or offer better customer service on social channels? Could you make it easier for customers to find products by updating navigation options or removing pages of products that aren’t currently available? Could the search results be adjusted to serve product alternatives in order to capture the motivated buyer who is ready to purchase?
Action – User experience testing need not be costly or time consuming. Use an expert reviewer if the budget doesn’t stretch to rounds of lab testing. Online user testing panels provided by sites such as usertesting.com also provide valuable insight and relatively low cost. Test wherever possible, including email campaigns, landing pages and social interactions.
Control – don’t forget to iterate and keep up with your users’ changing needs. Maintain a regular review programme by incorporating feedback from as many sources as possible including user testing, customer service comments, reviews and complaints.
Sarah Gill is the Digital Marketing Manager at Newcross Healthcare Solutions. With 8 years’ digital marketing experience and a graduate of the MSc Digital Marketing Communications programme at Manchester Metropolitan University, her specialist expertise includes digital strategy creation with a focus on user and customer experience optimisation.