CX (Customer Experience), UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) have all seen a renewal in interest as disciplines in the last couple of years. For the uninitiated, it can be a confusing set of terms as they are essentially related.
To give a very simple explanation:
- UX – is the feel a customer gets from a website. So it could be that the colour is off-putting and makes them abandon, or it could be that the site is slow to load and so makes them leave. UX is probably the most difficult term to define to the layman. According to Nielsen Norman Group, “user experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
- UI – is the interface with which the user interacts. So here we would be talking about the buttons they press and the actions that they take in order to find their way around a site or app.
- CX – is the overall experience when the user visits a website. This encompasses the customer interactions with chat functions (for example), the purchasing process and much more.
So while all of the terms are confusingly similar, when it comes to the way a website or intranet is constructed, it can make all the difference. When it comes to CX, the customer or client should always be the foremost concern. If you provide a smooth and stress free customer experience, then they are more likely to come back for repeat business.
Your website is your company’s shop window, no matter what business you’re in – B2B or B2C. For the vast majority of people, your website will be their first point of contact with your business and it’s critical to make a good first impression.
So let’s have a look at how you can improve CX in order to capture those all important new and potential customers.
Ok, I know that you are really keen for me to sign up to your newsletter, and it’s true that they can be a key component of any content marketing strategy, but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about shoving pop-ups in visitors’ faces.
When I visit a website for the first time – whether it be to investigate a potential purchase, or to read a blog article that interests me – I have lost count of the number of times that, upon loading, the page darkens and a big box appears asking me for my email address so that I can ‘keep up with all of the latest exciting news.’
I don’t even know if your content or services are going to be up my street yet. You might be in a completely different ball park to me, or just simply do not offer what I am looking for – so why on Earth would I want to hand over my email address to a company that I have absolutely zero experience with?
Not to mention the fact that your obtrusive box is now preventing me from accessing the content that I was looking for in the first place. For me, as a regular internet user and consumer of online content, this does not create a good first impression.
In 2013, 70% of users found popups to be annoying – and I’m sure that hasn’t changed. Most people hate popups. They’re so intrusive, unnecessary and ugly – especially on a first visit to a site.
By all means have a box on your home page that offers the newsletter and have one at the end of whatever article it is that I am reading, but please let me actually get a feel for your company first.
Now for something a little more positive.
You may be surprised to learn after my previous outburst that I actually really like having the option to engage with the customer service department using live chat. When I see that a company offers it as an option, it definitely attracts me to them in a big way.
You see, I really am a product of the internet age, and over the years I have come to absolutely loathe having to phone a company and actually speak with someone. And, besides that, having to negotiate my way through a host of arbitrary menus (that I’m fairly confident all end in the same call centre anyway), combined with the hideously distorted hold music – it makes my blood boil. Plus, I am not always in an environment where I am free to talk on the phone.
And so, I am always grateful for the option to discuss things over text. I find it stress free and convenient, and it means that I don’t need to slam the brakes on my day in order to do it. Downing tools and stopping work to spend an unpredictable amount of time on the phone can make a big dent in my daily productivity.
So, if you are able to, then live chat can be a great experience booster for your clients. If you aren’t able to integrate it into your website itself, then Facebook Messenger can be a low cost and convenient alternative to a bespoke system.
IM and chat windows on a site – that’s a big improvement in CX for most customers.
If Amazon (other multi-department mega-corporations are available) wants to show me other products that are related to the things I have already shown an interest in online, then I am all for it. In fact, many online consumers will make purchases based on targeted ads.
However, these ads can cross a line and become too intrusive. It’s perfectly acceptable to have them on a home page, in a side bar or in a newsletter, but it’s inappropriate to intrude on the overall customer experience by forcing ads down our throats (see rant on pop-ups above – the same applies here).
There you have three aspects of customer experience to consider when looking at how to improve your online presence. Of course all of this is based around my own subjective experience and we’d love to hear from you, whether you agree or disagree.