What Is Customer Experience?
Before we look at how user-centred design affects the customer experience, let’s define the term ‘customer experience.’
The ‘customer experience’ refers to what a customer thinks about your brand after interacting with you. Let’s say someone buys a product from you, and after the purchase, it turns out the product doesn’t work properly. That experience gives the customer a poor impression of your firm.
Can You Shape the Customer Experience?
There is a way to shape the customer experience – it’s called ‘customer experience management’ (CX management for short).
CX management means that you’ve put a set of processes in place that tracks, oversees, and organises interactions between companies and customers over the course of the customer lifecycle. The goal of CX management is to optimise interactions and build a relationship with customers.
What Is User-Centred Design?
User-centred design (also known as UCD) is a set of design processes in which end-users influence a product or service’s ultimate look and feel. You’ll see UCD describing a philosophy as well as a set of design methods.
The UCD process has four broad steps:
How Can User-Centred Design Improve the Customer Experience?
UCD improves the customer experience because it’s based on making the user’s experience with a product or service better. Here are seven reasons why:
- The customer experience is designed around the customer
- It’s iterative
- It meets the customer’s needs
- It creates an easier customer experience
- It’s more engaging
- It helps customers be more successful
- Customers feel appreciated
User-Centred Design: Designing the Customer Experience around the Customer
UCD improves the customer experience because the customer experience is designed around what the customer wants. The first step in UCD is to research customer needs – what is the customer looking for out of this product or service, and how will he or she use it? What’s the context of the product or service usage?
When you understand what the user really wants, you can build a better customer experience that meets their needs and makes them want to keep coming back.
User-Centred Design Is Iterative
UCD is an iterative design process, meaning that a product is designed and re-designed. The design process stops when the user is satisfied with the end product.
How does iterative design improve the customer experience? It shows the customer that what he or she wants matters, and the design team is working hard to achieve that. With every iteration, the product moves closer to fulfilling the specifications.
User-Centred Design: Meeting the Customer’s Needs
Another way in which UCD improves the customer experience is by meeting the customer needs. As we mentioned earlier, the very first step in UCD is to understand what a customer wants. Every other step is devoted to delivering that.
Think about a time when a product or service met your needs. If asked, you would have said it was a positive experience. The experience was positive because it gave you what you wanted. In fact, it was designed around you.
User-Centred Design: An Easier Customer Experience
UCD also makes the customer experience easier, thus improving it. How does UCD reduce the hassles of the customer experience? It has to do with the iterative nature of the design process.
During each iteration, the design team changes the design of the product or service so that it meets customer specifications. No one will tell a design team they want a product or service that’s frustrating and a complete annoyance. Rather, they want something that’s effortless.
User-Centred Design: Increasing Engagement
In the design process, a user’s level of engagement reflects how the user responds to your product or service. Someone who’s very engaged with the service or product uses it whenever possible, while someone who isn’t engaged with it doesn’t use it much at all.
UCD creates more engaging products and services because user or customer engagement is built into the design. The entire process is devoted to making the product or service better, and one of the ways to enhance a product or service is to make it more enjoyable to use.
User-Centred Design Boosts Customer Success
UCD also improves the customer experience by increasing the chances of customer success with your product or service. The reason for that has to do with the first step of the design process.
During the first step of the design process, the designer researches the customer’s goal for using the product or service. For example, the goal of expense reporting software is to submit your expenses in a way that’s simple and accurate. When a product or service is created with UCD principles in mind, it will help the customer achieve his or her goals because that’s its reason for being.
User-Centred Design Makes Customers Feel Appreciated
When a product designer takes the time to research your needs, go through more than one iteration of a design, and ask for your feedback throughout the process, you feel appreciated. Feeling appreciated goes a long way to making the customer experience better.
UCD makes customers feel appreciated because it shows them that someone has actually taken interest in them. Moreover, the product designer is actively working to make their customer experience better. The feeling of being appreciated has an added side benefit for firms – it makes customers want to continue doing business with them.
Enlighten Designs: Improving the Customer Experience through User-Centred Design
At Enlighten Designs, we have been delivering amazing customer experiences for over two decades. We utilise user-centred design to thoroughly understand the client’s needs and to create a product or service that will be delightful and easy to use. Read about the Wintec project to learn more about user-centred design.