In today’s technology-driven world, the task of keeping customers happy represents a constantly moving target. Not least because customer expectations of their digital interactions with a business are continually evolving. Therefore, keeping pace with the changing expectations that customers have of their online user experience (UX), has never been more important.
Yet even digitally savvy organisations may not yet be prepared to make the UX improvements necessary. Below are five considerations that businesses need to make if they’re to stay on top of their digital game.
1. Businesses must start communicating through social media
The growth of the enterprise social network, Slack, sky-rocketed in 2015, reporting tens of thousands of active new users each week. Meanwhile, Facebook is rumoured to be rolling out a workplace messenger app, while countless companies are already communicating using WhatsApp.
The ease and speed of communication through social media channels will grow apace over the coming months. It is essential that businesses start thinking about how they can use such tools.
2. Big data will reveal its true colours
It is vital that consumers and businesses alike consider big data, its use and the security potential it holds, as this is a trend which will continue to grow in importance. Edward Snowden brought the issue to the fore in 2014. The use of customer data has therefore never been a greater concern for consumers – and therefore for organisations who use (and rely on) that data.
Consumers will soon want to be empowered to opt out of tracking and go anonymous. For brands, access to customer data can help them to gather essential information and push products or services to help increase sales. But how can they get customers on-board with it too? The challenge for businesses will therefore be to validate the value tracking brings to their customers. Ultimately this can link back to the importance of smarter notifications – by using data to improve the user experience, they can win customer buy-in.
3. Smarter notifications being lead by the growing wearables market
The best thing about the Apple watch is nothing to do with apps, but everything to do with the notifications it provides. The challenge now is that users also don't want to be distracted or notified every time someone “adds two songs to a playlist”. Notifications need to be smart and add value without becoming annoying because users will soon abandon your product if you meaninglessly talk at them all the time. The key place to start will be to understand each user’s patterns of behaviour and then notifying them in line with their individual wants and needs.
My Apple watch uses Google Maps to tell me how long my journey home is going to take, without my asking. I get in my car after a session at the gym, my wrist buzzes and my watch tells me how far away I am from home and where the traffic is; an invaluable addition to my journey. Businesses need to consider how they can add such value to their customers and improve the user experience.
4. New users will judge a book by its cover
Despite the adages telling us to do the opposite, the judgement of aesthetics over content will be at the forefront of users’ minds when they first interact with a digital product. Too many websites and applications are standardising their aesthetic appearance in order to keep pace with other pressing aspects of user experience. AirBnB is often cited as one of the most copied visual styles but compromising your own identity will mean that you begin to blend in with your competitors.
I’m anticipating a resurgence in the value of typography. In recent years typography has to an extent lost its way in the digital world, but technical constraints are gradually loosening their grip, meaning there is room for it to come back and become an integral part of the user experience.
5. Content will drive conversation
Despite the importance of aesthetics in terms of first impressions, content is becoming more and more integral to a great user experience and should be considered earlier in the process than it currently is. A good content strategy will guide a user through their online journey like a conversation. The experience needs to be more than buttons on a webpage; it must be intuitive, engaging and enjoyable.
In today’s digital age websites are replacing the interactions which previously solely took place between customers and sales people. How can something digital compete with that human interaction? Delightful content with a well thought-out content strategy is the path to working that out.
By continually seeking the most effective ways to engage and satisfy customers, organisations can win business and retain consumer loyalty. To achieve this however, firms must exploit digital technologies and use them to evolve alongside their customer-base by providing a high level user experience that will make users want to keep coming back more. Those who fail to do so, will be the ones which don’t succeed and find themselves falling behind their competitors.
Rebekah Cooper, head of experience at Radical Company
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