One of the best definitions that I’ve heard for UX is that it is the sum of all the touch points that a user has with your product or service over time. When someone uses your app, sees an ad or commercial for your company, or walks into your brick and mortar store and interacts with an employee – each of these touch points combines with the others to create the User’s eXperience. If you want to get the best return on your investment in UX, your organization needs to support the holistic ecosystem of these touchpoints so that these efforts can be coordinated.
In today’s marketplace, it’s a given that you need to see things from your customer’s perspective and provide products and services that exceed their expectations. Many companies with UX teams approach their work with skill and passion and are truly focused on the customer. But their efforts can be diminished if your company’s culture and structure doesn’t support the dynamic that’s necessary for great UX.
Companies can be a swirl of many factors that might impact a focus on the people that use their products or services. Culture, business models, inertia, infrastructure, siloed business units, people, personality money…, all can shape the space where UX work takes place. And what it’s able to accomplish.
The work of UX can uncover many things that impact the goal of trying to create a great customer experience but many of these are are considered outside the UX swim lane. But these things must work together. I was a designer for a UI that allowed an insurance agent to offer a credit card to their existing customers that were in their physical offices. I won’t go into all the details that led to this scenario but it was the result of many different business decisions over time. But it created problems. When an agent wanted to find their customer in their system to begin the process of making an offer for a credit card, they relied on an outdated legacy infrastructure. Since this system didn’t talk to ours we had to create an inelegant UI workaround that added to the agent’s time and frustration.
Simply put, the best customer experience is simple from one perspective. A potential customer needs to know their insurance company offers credit cards; an unusual fit in the first place, they need a quick way to compare these credit cards with others on the market, and they need a quick and easy way to apply for the card. But businesses can be very inefficient. If you have siloed business units it takes a lot of effort to make them work together. If you have someone who has been at the company for a while, they might be very territorial. And if your company has been in business for some time you might have an antiquated infrastructure that just isn’t capable of dealing with today’s customer’s needs. And there are many other examples.
UX is holistic by nature, and doesn’t work as well when it’s not aligned to other efforts in your organization that also contribute to your customer’s experience. But if your company has a thoughtful and adaptable structure, culture, and strategy where all of your resources work together to create a great customer experience, then you will reap rewards far into the future with increased customer satisfaction and loyalty that will directly contribute to your brand and your bottom line.