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Memorable brands are successful because they spend time engaging their customers, they build a culture around creating great digital user experiences and capturing the customer’s experience early and often throughout the buyers’ journey. Both play a major role in the success of a company. (UX) User experience attempts to simplify the end user’s interaction with a company’s products or services. (CX) Customer experience is a customer’s totality of interactions with a company over time.

Great UX/CX helps companies to be both reactive, uncovering areas to take action, and proactive by having the foresight to address customer needs. These practices will help your businesses stay engaged and connected to better serve your customers. Small businesses and startups can use these practices as well to better understand their current and future customer needs. In fact, they are better positioned to pivot and start developing a customer-centric mindset much faster. Small businesses and startups are nimble and much closer to how customers experience their products or services which will lead to building a better brand experience over time. Here are 7 essential tips that your small businesses or Startup can implement today to reap the benefits.

1. Define your ideal customer
Most small businesses and startups try to cast a wide net to capture all customers, but the ideal approach is to 1st define who is your ideal customer. One successful tool that successful businesses use to understand their ideal customer is to create personas. What are personas? A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It starts with user research and builds empathy on your target user to identify exactly what are their needs when they use your product or service. Customer personas will help you and your team gain clarity by answering the following question.

  • What are the characteristics of my ideal customer?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their behavioral patterns?
  • What are their friction points?

2. Build a culture that focuses on customer experience management
Getting your entire team to develop a customer experience mindset starts with a top-down and bottom-up approach. A customer-centric mindset starts with actively measuring customer data and bring the customer’s voice into the forefront and decision-making process with your team. This can be done by regularly capturing customer feedback.

3. Apply UX methodologies as common practice
Small businesses and startups can quickly implement UX methodologies that lead to building visually engaging/functional products and services. Conducting user research with methods like surveys or interviews can improve the experience of your products and services. UX methodologies include these processes:

  • Define your goals through user research
  • Conducting design and Ideation, creating a range of creative ideas
  • Build Prototypes that represent a range of design ideas and wireframes
  • Invite your customers early on and often to Test products and provide feedback
  • Iterate on your customers feedback into the ideation and prototype methodology
  • Launch – Put your vision into effect and measure for success

4. Apply the 5 W’s of User Experience
During the research phase applying the 5 W’s of User experience will help you gain clarity and better understand your ideal customer. The 5 W’s will force you to ask questions like:

What problems are we trying to solve?
Who is my ideal customer?
Where can we improve the patterns and solutions?
When should we begin to get user feedback?
Why does the current solution solve the problem?

5. Test early on and often with real people (VOC)
Pre and Post the launch of your product it’s important to get user validation. Testing with real users helps you validate your hypothesis and determine what friction point may exist with your product.
It may be tempting especially if there is a limited budget to skip this step, but remember you are not the end-user. (VOC) voice of the customer methodologies can range from detailed ethnography studies or can be basic customer interviews. Incorporating VOC into your test plan during research can save you time and money in the long run.

6. Understand your customer touchpoints
If you want to improve interactions with your customers a key starting point is to understand what those interactions are and where they take place. These interactions are called touchpoints, and some are outside of our direct control. These interactions that take place may be done via email, a flyer, online advertisement, a direct or indirect website search. Where these interactions take place are called channels. Having an in-depth understanding of your customer channels and how to measure these interactions are important for improving your customer experience.

7. Connect with the Head Heart and Hand
Great customer experience is way more than just checking the box. Great customer experience needs to add the human element by connecting Head, Heart, and Hand. To stand out from competitors, successful businesses need to personalize experiences and form a genuine emotional connection with their customers. Here are 3 key explicit components to motivate your customers:

Head: Focus on making every single interaction gear toward helping your customers achieve their goals.
Heart: Take an empathic approach to clearly understand your customer’s underlying emotional drivers.
Hand: Craft useful products and services that are both easy and pleasurable for your customers.

Both UX and CX are areas that need constant nurturing with a greater focus on a customer-centric mindset as you grow your company. Small businesses and startups that realize this will make a positive impact on customer loyalty. Deploying the right UX/CX methodologies early on will build customer loyalty and ROI because your customers will feel more connected to your product and services.

Source: | | Mantra Design