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Invest in user experience or fall behind

With the economy bouncing back, every company is endeavoring to retain customers, invite new ones on board and grow wallet share in the process. It’s a race between firms, and those who ignore paying attention to the experience they provide to customers stand the risk of falling way behind once companies move to next level of user experience understanding.

There’s no doubt that user experience will take much more active role this year. Here is a brief summary of three most important issues UX leaders must focus on doing in 2010, if they want to stay in the game.

Prove that user experience counts

An interesting research conducted by Forrester has revealed facts that shouldn’t be ignored. Whenever firms excel in the vital area of customer experience, they get an advantage of exceeding 14% over customer experience laggards in three critical areas of loyalty:

  • The desire to buy more
  • Reluctance in switching services
  • The likelihood of recommending to friends and associates

The effects of focusing on customer experience can have a significant impact on incoming revenue. Just modest improvements in customer experience can result in financial gains ranging from $177 million to $311 million. Imagine what would happen if this vital area of business were given much needed and undivided attention!

By using this type of business information, UX professionals should draw up customized business plans that show the top executives why customer experience should be an integral component in their growth and expansion strategy.

Use user experience blueprint to determine opportunities for investing in UX

The concept of “User Experience Blueprint” refers to all documents that visually illustrate and describe a customer’s processes, his needs, and his perceptions throughout his relationship with a given company.

With the help of mapping these “blueprints” user experience leaders figure out where they fail to meet customer needs. Based on the customer and the given company’s value, they then prioritize opportunities. UX teams shouldn’t waste a moment and start mapping now. That way they can instantly detect areas that need serious improvement and distribute these results throughout the organization. In so doing, UX leaders can figure out the best place and time to make the investment needed.

Make room in the budget for innovation

In many companies, tactical run-the-business projects are favored by a funding allocation process. In such environments, there is little to no room for innovation that can take their experiences from good to great.

Instead of focusing to make small fixes in the existing products, the only way user experience teams can counter this risk is to boldly dedicate a portion of their budget to innovative experiments that might segregate them from the pack. While it may not be possible to produce immediate returns from such investments, executives may feel comfortable while spending the money provided the firm’s exposure is limited, is well defined and within the limits of that particular organization’s tolerance level for risk.

To continuously reap profits, a firm must remain competitive in the business arena by focusing on the quality of user experience and improving it. The probability of experiencing sustained growth in the long term is increased only for those companies who have invested time, energy and money into nurturing quality so that customers may enjoy a satisfactory experience.

I hope these three key issues can help you and your UX team to move forward and make an impact this year in your own organization. As you can imagine, these are just “the cream of the crop,” but there are many more. For more vision of UX for 2010, visit our blog at www.userintelligence.com/ideas/news/ux-vision-2010.

 

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