User experience is a key element of modern business. If a company, big or small, doesn’t take their customers’ experience into consideration, they’ll be fighting an uphill battle with every step they take.
However, understanding the many facets of user experience and how it should impact your business decisions is a bit more complicated than simply pulling together an attractive looking product. It was Steve Jobs who said,
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
In other words, a good user experience involves focusing on customer satisfaction throughout the interaction and use of a product. It takes the user into account from product creation through to actual use and beyond. It incorporates a strong sense of empathy with the customers themselves, considering their own thoughts, needs, and requirements.
How Does UX Fit Into Small Business?
It can be easy to write off complex elements of UX, like the use of big data or quality website design, as things that only larger companies can aspire to achieve. The truth, though, is that small businesses are perfectly capable of implementing a comprehensive UX strategy throughout their activities. Here are a few suggestions for smaller businesses to utilize UX throughout their business efforts:
Incorporating UX From Product Inception
As previously mentioned, user experience doesn’t just come onto the scene in the final stages of selling a product. It should be present from the very beginning. In fact, some of the first thoughts in the product development stage should revolve around the customer’s needs. While it’s clearly imperative that a company consider its own ROI, stakeholder requirements, and success, in general, those initial business-focused concerns should very quickly be married to genuine customer research early on in the process.
Everyone from product managers and strategists to design and development teams should carefully work together to create products optimized for customer success and should be focused on the following:
● Product managers and strategists should define the goals of the business.
● Design teams should take user needs and requirements into account as concerns the end product to be designed.
● Development teams should meld the previous two together into an amalgam that is optimized for on-time development, user-oriented performance, and high-end functionality.
Once you have a product that genuinely satisfies user experience requirements, though, the process isn’t finished. In fact, it’s just started. There are still multiple ways that UX can be implemented throughout the selling stages in order to increase your business’s chances of success.
Good Website UX
The effect of having good UX on your website isn’t just for big businesses. Users want to have a smooth, comfortable experience whether they’re interacting with the likes of sites like Amazon and Apple or tiny sites selling bike parts or custom made jewelry.
This growing expectation for an excellent experience has put pressure on big and small businesses alike to deliver. Fortunately, there are many ways to do so without much trouble (or cost) involved.
Let’s start at the beginning. If you want to make sure you provide a quality experience for your customers, you want to start with a solid foundation. The tools you use to build your site are a critical step in making sure that you end up with a website worthy of both you and your customers’ time. There are plenty of options out there specifically designed to make creating a high-quality site as simple as possible. Top-notch tools like Shopify, Wix.com, and BigCommerce are all excellent options. Site builders like these tend to genuinely take into account the intricacies and complexities that go into a good, UX-friendly e-commerce site.
On top of obviously ensuring you’re set up to sell products and process orders, high-end site builders will cover your bases when it comes to things like:
● Keeping everything on the back end of your site updated.
● Easily implementing changes to your site that allow you to keep up with cutting-edge trends and designs.
● Making sure your site is mobile friendly — there are nearly four billion mobile phone users across the globe at this point, making it an absolutely imperative element for a properly functioning site.
If you host your site on WordPress using a plugin like WooCommerce, you should also consider using extensions like Facebook, AfterShip (which allows you and your customers to track shipments), and Putler Connector (which enables the tracking of sales data). Tools like these provide one of the most critical components of modern business success: data.
Data analytics enables you to streamline and perfect the customer experience, as it provides the ability to integrate predictive analytics into your business model. While the name may sound intimidating, in essence, all this entails is the use of gathered data (especially of past events) to predict future outcomes. Tracking things like the effectiveness of a Facebook campaign, what items have sold better than others, and so on can allow you to craft an ideal user experience for as many customers as possible.
Following Up with UX
Finally, there’s the follow-up — yes, providing a superior user experience carries right through to after the sale has been finalized. Any savvy small business owner is going to be quick to gather and respond to customer feedback after closing a sale with a client. In many cases, this will be little more than providing follow-up surveys or responding to feedback on social media or your Google My Business Listing.
However, for some larger scale or B2B businesses, providing a genuine and complete user experience may involve implementing a full-scale account management strategy that allows you to create a relationship and rapport with existing customers and clients. Rather than simply looking for a single sale, this strategy is oriented towards long-term success and repeat business with satisfied clients, all of which falls directly under the larger umbrella of creating a positive user experience.
The Power of UX in Small Business
User experience is often misconstrued as a concept that larger businesses utilize by hiring large teams and even entire departments in order to facilitate. The truth is, though, creating a good user experience is a goal that is absolutely possible for small businesses to achieve.
A user-centric approach to aspects like product design, a website built with the user in mind, and cultivation of customer relationships after a sale all lie within the reach of the modern entrepreneur. No matter what size their enterprise, small business owners in the modern era are equipped to fully utilize the power of UX within their own efforts in order to maximize ROI and catapult their companies to greater levels of growth and success.