We live in a world where customers and their experience interacting with your business is becoming more and more of a priority. Of course, business goals are always important, but you can’t forget about what fuels your business – customers investing in your product or service.
It can be difficult to find the balance of weighing out your business goals and user experience goals, but in reality, they can be equal to each other; and it’s important to understand the relationship between the two. In this article, we’ll cover how your business strategy is related to the user experience surrounding your product/service, how to create alignment and a strategic plan, and how to execute quality work in a low-risk way.
Why Care About the Experience?
User experience refers to physical and digital interaction with your products/services – booking an appointment, using your data software, using your handheld device, playing your game, etc. However, while UX focuses on the physical interaction, it’s important to keep in mind that the experience shapes the way customers think and relate to your brand.
Users often remember the bad over the good. If they had a bad experience trying to use your website, app, dashboard, etc., they will remember it and may not try to use it again. Most businesses want to drive profits, but if a customer will not invest in your platform simply because they can’t navigate it and use it efficiently, you likely won’t see the profits you were hoping for. Customers fuel businesses, so it’s always important to keep their experience in mind.
How Business Strategy Impacts UX
Business strategy can directly impact the UX of your product/service. Really, the values of your business should emulate through your product/service to your customer base. The key idea here is figuring out how to translate the internal goals of your business into an intuitive, effortless, and enjoyable experience for your customer.
For example, if one of your business goals is to attract a different age demographic, you’ll likely need to update the imagery, messaging, and content you’re using to describe your product/service so it resonates and connects with the new age demographic you’re targeting.
Connecting Business Strategy and UX
We know business strategy can trickle down and impact UX, but the next question is how do you connect your business goals with UX to create that intuitive, effortless, and enjoyable experience for customers, but also achieve key business initiatives?
Here’s a few ways you can go about connecting the two.
A KPIs workshop can be very useful when it comes to business strategy, but an important piece of the puzzle here is collaboration within your business. Instead of only gathering higherup stakeholders, bring in other departments to keep marching forward: UX, Marketing, Content, Developers, etc. When you bring departments that are actively involved with your product/service, granular issues that directly impact business goals are brough to light.
Below is an example of how business strategy and a UX issue are directly related.
Example: Call Center
Business Strategy: Our call center is receiving too many calls, causing us to go over the allotted budget. We have a Help Center page on our website, so why isn’t it being used? We need to cut down on our costs and stay within budget for call center hours.
UX Strategy: The Help Center page is hidden within the site and we’ve received feedback that most people who call in haven’t looked at the page because they can’t find it. Additionally, the Help Center page isn’t very helpful. The answers are vague, and most questions route the customer to dial the call center. We can restructure the navigation and give the Help Center page a higher priority. We’ll also need to do a content audit to determine the updates needed in the Q&A section, making it more helpful.
In addition to updating the Help Center page, we also need to look at efficiency of the Call Center. Transfer numbers aren’t up to date, which means that once a customer connects with a representative, 95% of the time they’re being transferred to a different department specialist because tasks have shifted between departments and the routing tree isn’t accurate. We’ll need to do an audit of the routing tree and update it so it’s accurate.
Brand Strategy Workshop
Now that we’ve gone through an example of how to bring out UX goals from a business strategy, let’s talk about translating the image of your business to customers. At Zion & Zion, we recommend hosting a brand strategy workshop. Understanding who you are as a brand and how you want to be seen is a must.
Brands have personalities, just like people. During a brand strategy workshop, it’s best to go through numerous exercises to explore your company’s vision, learn about present and future goals, dive into your company’s history, and most of all, learn about how you want your brand to be perceived by your customers.
This is an extensive workshop that leaves no stone unturned when it comes to your brand image. After going through various exercises, a brand archetype is decided upon. Your brand archetype holds true the core values of your business and helps your customer relate to your brand by creating meaning. Your brand archetype is then supported by brand personality traits that are used to further describe your brand. For example, if your company sets the standard within your industry and other companies tend to follow suite, you may use words like leader, polished, powerful, stable, and strong to describe your brand.
Together, your brand archetype and brand personality traits determine the way your brand communicates and acts. Your archetype and traits are incorporated into your messaging, campaigns, experiences, and visual branding.
Develop a Strategic Plan
Now that we’ve established two ways to think through business goals and brand appearance, we can take that and develop a strategic plan.
In the Call Center example I used above, a few action items were established:
- Update the navigation so the Help Center page is more prominent
- Audit the content on the Help Center page so it’s more resourceful
- Update the call routing tree so it’s more accurate
Since that was only one example, there aren’t that many action items, however if there are multiple issues that require many changes, you should take a step back and determine what’s of the highest priority, what requires little effort to change, and what is connected to a larger issue that the business is better off investing more time into it so it’s done right.
Another way to develop a strategic plan is to conduct user research. Use different methodologies to uncover user behaviors and thoughts through user testing, click heatmaps, data from Google Analytics, competitive analyses, and more. These tools allow you to understand how users behave and interact with your website or product. Always keep business goals in mind when analyzing your findings to ensure you’re creating a balance between the business and the user.
For example, imagine that one of your business goals is to increase form fills on your website. Keeping your business goal in mind, it’s time to create, run, and analyze user tests. Come to find out during user testing, users who are visiting your website don’t necessarily understand how your product could benefit them and they struggle to understand how your product works. If users don’t understand what it is you offer, they’re not likely to spend time filling out a form. In this example, part of the strategic plan could be to incorporate information about how the product works and how it could benefit the user, in addition to avoiding industry jargon and incorporating additional call-to-actions.
Execute & Test
Now it’s time to take your strategic plan and put it into action. The process of doing this varies from business to business, but one approach is to transform your strategic plan into a low-fidelity wireframe. A wireframe is a low-risk way to establish the structure of what your team is creating before you start to code. It’s the perfect time to make updates to the layout of the web page, navigation, dashboard layout, etc., until it’s ready to move on to the next phase.
After you’ve created wireframes, you can then move into the design phase and bring everything to life based on strategy and branding principles. This is where you should play into the emotions of users and connect back to the brand archetype. Finally, your developers take the wireframe and design and implement your changes.
After implementation, it’s key to follow up on your new changes and report your progress. You can revisit the methodologies you used when conducting initial research or implement event tracking so you can understand how far down the page users are scrolling, where they’re clicking, the number of form submissions, conversion rates, and more.
Try It Out
Now you have an idea of how your business strategy trickles down to your product/service offering. Involving other departments in the conversation around your business strategy can bring awareness to issues that have a large impact on your product/service. Not only does it provide others with more knowledge about user experience but knowing the direction the business is heading allows for departments to bring forward project proposals that fall in line with the strategy.