The speed of change is breakneck in modern business. Your customers’ preferences and needs change. Your differentiations, opportunities and safety net in the competitive landscape changes. Trying to stay in front of the next big thing is overwhelming and exhausting, and to be frank, makes people act stupid.

Chasing change, you may question, “do I need a spot in the metaverse? Should I create an NFT? Do I need to be on TikTok? I really need to be on TikTok.”

For many businesses, it’s a resounding “No." You don’t really need to be on TikTok. Unless of course, your customers are engaging on TikTok, gaining product inspiration from TikTok or having their needs met by TikTok.

You may not need a business in the metaverse, but how can you know where you really need to invest? It’s simple, really. By implementing a strategic user experience (UX) practice, you’ll gain insights to continuously improve customer outcomes (across channels and interactions) and reveal opportunities for greater impact and profitability for your business.

You’ll incrementally evolve to give customers greater value and a smoother experience, while gifting yourself the data-informed confidence to make sound decisions and take tempered risks.

Quick Recap — What Is UX Strategy?

User experience (UX) strategy is the intentional practice of analyzing user behavior and outcomes and putting together a plan of action to improve those outcomes, through improved design, messaging, testing or other factors. The best UX strategies tie directly to business goals, like increasing conversions or reducing customer churn.

Ultimately, UX strategy is a cycle of using data and user research to understand what customers need and where they’re challenged and making incremental improvements to guide their behavior and elevate their overall experience.

Related Article: Most Prominent Psychological Principles That Govern Product Design

Why Is UX a Critical Investment?

Elevating your customers’ UX cements brand loyalty and customer retention.

Just think of your own experiences. When you easily find the perfect gift on a website, check out smoothly, receive the expected item without hiccups — or get great, responsive customer service for any hiccups — you’re much more likely to shop from that site again. The same goes for a movie you loved — you’ll watch the sequel; or that perfect margarita — you’ll enjoy a second round.

It's not just feel-good. Investing in great UX to drive loyalty has a direct impact on your bottom line; 32% of customers said they’d stop doing business with a brand they loved after just one bad experience, and 73% said experience influences their purchasing decisions.

User experience research and design uncovers:

  • Customers’ issues and needs
  • Actionable steps to fix and meet them
  • Profit in way of improved conversions
  • ROI by driving maximum value from your investments

Ultimately, UX reveals opportunities to better connect, persuade and guide customers to take desired actions.

Related Article: Let Experience Design Be Your Competitive Advantage in 2022

Control Your Destiny With Strategic UX

Modern business is highly temperamental and interconnected, and much of it you cannot control.

You cannot control shipping container, materials or trucker shortages, international tariffs and other supply chain issues. You cannot control the Great Resignation or a competitive labor market. You cannot control inflation and consumers’ resulting wallet tightening.

Learning Opportunities

But, for all intents and purposes, you control your customers’ experience with your brand. As owned channels, your website and holistic digital marketing strategy can proactively react to the “uncontrollable” to reduce common customer frictions.

For example, supply chain issues strangled your inventory availability? Here's what you can do:

  • Integrate your website, AI-tools and inventory/ERP system, so your website sorts and serves up in-stock products first in any product category or search.
  • Display AI-product recommendations across the website that guide users away from out-of-stock items to similar available products.
  • Give customers the ability to sign up to receive alerts when out-of-stock products are available (while giving your sales and marketing team a Slam Dunk future follow up engagement).
  • Update paid ads, emails, and social media posts to only feature in-stock items.

Or, customer service or sales rep hiring is down? Here's what you can do:

  • Move the FAQ page to a prominent location on your site to preemptively answer questions.
  • Give customers self-service tools on your website, where they can browse, buy and answer questions, without needing a human’s help.
  • Integrate web chat to answer simple inquiries.
  • Host a Facebook Live to answer common questions and pin the recording to a prominent location on social media for easy access.
  • Build an automated post-purchase email program that walks recipients through next steps and answers questions, to set expectations and reduce customer service calls.
  • Use a scoring model to track website activity and help reps automatically prioritize their sales calls to those showing an eagerness to buy, to maximize your smaller rep team.

User experience strategies focus your attention on improving these micro-moments, reducing frustrations and guiding customers on the path of a positive journey. It enables you to get ahead of the uncontrollable, through a very intentional, data-informed, and customer-focused lens.

What Businesses Get Wrong

Too many businesses either skip UX design and strategy as a nice-to-have, or they invest in a single UX project, and call it a day.

Neither of these approaches enable businesses to leverage the complete power and profitability of improving UX.

Reviewing and optimizing UX is not a one-time thing or an oversight. It’s a continuous process of understanding (through user research, data and other analysis) your customers’ needs and actions; executing strategies to better serve their needs; measuring effectiveness; and building better performance through incremental adjustments.

Take it a step further by applying the lessons learned to other channels — your sales reps, customer service, or in-store staff all benefit from better understanding customers and meeting their expectations.

It’s an exploration, not a destination, and many businesses find false assumptions throughout the process. Customers rarely want flash. They want ease of use. Speed. Trust. Self-service. Reliability. These intangibles are revealed through the testing and continuous optimization lifecycle.

Ultimately, many businesses find out their strategic goals don’t match customers’ needs, and they may not understand their end users as well as they thought — truly valuable insights for any business.

Make UX Your Differentiator

Replace guesswork and reactive tactics with a data-centered, proactive UX practice. Learn what customers’ want, what they reject and what they respond to best. Test and experiment to learn along the way.

Maximize your owned channels to preemptively smooth customers’ frustrations, particularly when the seas are high and the waves are rough. Control what you can, by focusing on giving your customers the best possible experience — and recognize that the “best experience” is always evolving and your business must too.

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