Mastering UX and UI in customer experience: A CX Network guide

Industry professionals from brands such as Google, Dell, IKEA, Bajaj Allianz and NBCUniversal offer advice on ensuring that your user experiences and interfaces drive customer loyalty

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Adam Jeffs
09/16/2020

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What is UX and UI design?

User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design are two closely related fields under the umbrella of customer experience (CX).

UX is the process through which brands develop useful and meaningful experiences for customers for a certain product or service. This involves designing the entire process from onboarding to renewal or churn. Good user experiences will encourage customers to exhibit desired behaviors. A high-quality user experience for a certain insurance product is likely to have a high renewal rate.

UI refers more specifically to the graphical layout and function of interfaces that house the products or services, with better design often equaling better user adoption. For instance, a poor user interface for the cross-sell section of a retail website is unlikely to encourage customers to purchase additional products.

CX: The overall experience a person has with a brand over their lifetime as a customer from acquisition to churn.

UX and UI optimizations can offer significant customer loyalty benefits, which in turn facilitates customer acquisition. According to research, 60 per cent of customers will tell friends and family about a brand they’re loyal to.

Poorly designed UX can generally be identified through high bounce rates or levels of customer churn. For example, recent research found that one third of consumers say they would consider switching companies after just one instance of bad customer service. The tips presented in this guide provide a framework for ensuring that your UX and UI is winning customers, rather than losing them.

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  1. Invest in convenience

Some brands can get carried away with implementing shiny new features, believing that they are building the best possible UX or UI for their customers, as they have included every feature that is available. However, it does not matter how many features you include if they are causing friction rather than convenience for your customers.

Melanie Kleemann, chief customer officer at IKEA Group and a CX Network advisory board member, suggests that full website functionality is not just a nice to have, but is absolutely mandatory. Kleemann explains that customers prefer interacting with user interfaces that are hassle free and convenient.

“If, for example, a new customer is able to subscribe or order a product or service with just a single click, there is a high chance that they will become loyal sooner rather than later,” notes Kleemann. “If a customer is able to order quickly and securely, they are also likely to convince people around them to subscribe.”

  1. Equip your employees with the tech they need

Workforces can become frustrated if they are not equipped with the tools they need. This will hamper the capability of UX/UI design teams to implement innovative and creative experiences for users. 

Andrea Bogado, CX strategy and operations director and chief customer officer at Dell Technologies, notes that to ensure user experience design is productive, brands should expose “team members to different sets of tools that enable them to think differently in how they solve customer problems and innovate”.

“This will encourage creativity and new approaches, which can feed into creating new and better customer experience strategies,” Bodago remarks.

In light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, equipping your staff with the right tools has never been more important.

Anders Wallace, UX and UI designer at NBCUniversal Media, remarks: “As the experience economy stalls, Covid-19 is the event that will bring digital research and design tools into the blue-chip mainstream. Those who win in the post-Covid world will be those who master these tools, but also recognize their limitations.”

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  1. Understand the customer journey

When designing UX and UI it is critical to ensure that your customers have a convenient, pain-free experience at every touchpoint with your brand. One of the biggest challenges is identifying all of the available touchpoints and understanding how your users truly experience them.

At CXN Live: Experience Design, Deb Zell, director of UX and marketing at Dell, explained how the computer technology giant maps and manages customer journeys. Zell explained that most organizations will only account for interactions with websites or other digital channels, without researching the full customer journey, so that UX/UI can be tailored accordingly.

Martin Ortlieb, user experience researcher at Google, put forth a similar viewpoint in conversation with CX Network last year.

At the time, Ortlieb said: “I see a very strong focus on customer journeys in our area, but most of the customer journey stories I see tend to be about something that happens within a product. You need to think broader about the overall experience rather than the customer journey which sits in a specific piece, the more you can think from that perspective: the user experience over a longer period of time, the more you actually see longer-lasting value.”

  1. Adapt to societal requirements

When developing UX/UI strategies, brands must consider how current societal situations will impact the way users wish to interact with a brand. This is particularly true in the present climate, with the impact of Covid-19 and social responsibility causes like environmentalism and sustainability, as well as gender and racial equality.

Reflecting on how Covid-19 is impacting UI requirements, KV Dipu, president of operations and CX head at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company, India, highlights the need for touchless interfaces.

“There is a huge accent on touchless UI as customers have become very wary of touch. For instance, one sees many folks in elevators constantly figuring out new ways to press buttons using sharp objects,” explains KV Dipu. “In this context, voice will clearly play a role – if a voice command can help a customer execute transactions without having to use the keyboard, that feature is likely to have an edge with users during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

This is an example of how brands can swiftly identify ways to set themselves apart from the competition by listening and responding to what is important to customers right now.

Lessons learned

If brands wish to set themselves apart from the competition through exceptional UX and UI, the advice provided in this guide from experts at Google, Dell, Bajaj Allianz, IKEA and NBCUniversal offers an actionable framework for delivering loyalty winning experiences.

Whether it is as simple as ensuring that all aspects of UX/UI are convenient and functional, or if it will require extensive and costly research into understanding how to optimize customer journeys, these strategies, if implemented, can ensure that your UX/UI strategies hit the mark.

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