Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience and User Experience: How to Make Them Count

Customer Experience (CX) and User Experience (UX) sound similar, but what are they and why are they different? Surely our users are our customers and therefore they are the same thing – except, of course, they’re not.

In previous articles, we have talked about the importance of this aspect of your website; whether you are rejuvenating an existing one or preparing a completely new website. Visitors want to use sites that are easy to navigate. So, what is the difference between CX and UX?

What is User Experience?

The UX is how people interact with your product and the experience they receive from that interaction and generally refers to the digital interface, i.e. your website’s usability, information architecture, navigation, comprehension, visual hierarchy, etc.. All of these elements combine to create the UX, whether positive or negative. UX is measured with metrics like success rate, error rate, abandonment rate, time to complete tasks, and clicks to completion. The ultimate goal of your website’s UX should be to provide efficient and enjoyable solutions.

What is Customer Experience?

CX has a greater scope. It encompasses all the interactions a person has with your brand; an umbrella concept encompassing all channels and all products within the same brand, and how the user feels about them. It might be measured in overall experience, the likelihood of continued use, and possibility of recommending to others. In essence, UX is part of a broader CX, but CX contains some aspects outside of a product that UX does not.

Good UX

A good digital user experience gives a user/customer the ability to:

  • Find information on a website quickly and easily
  • Complete a desired task with ease
  • Search web pages with ease

Good CX

A comprehensive customer experience might include:

  • A professional, helpful, satisfying interaction with the organization/company representatives
  • An overall positive experience with that organization/company and everything associated with it

Why they are both important

You might have the best advertising, brand recognition, sales team, customer service representatives, and organizational structure (all CX-related items), but if customers’ interactions with your website, mobile app, software or other product (all UX-related items) create barriers in completion of the desired tasks, overall CX fails.

You can see how UX is really a component of CX, and each play an important role in the overall success of a program, the reputation of your brand, and customers’ loyalty to your brand. Failures in either area leads to a bad customer experience overall. Think about this as you develop products and services, and make sure to have the customer in mind.

Website

Remember, always consider WHO you’ve created your website for, and WHY it exists; it’s aimed at meeting a client’s needs in order to grow your business.

Here’s a quick set of bullet points to check from our article on building a new website:

  • Review who your target audience is, and make sure your message is crafted for that market segment.  
  • Know what’s topical in your industry.  Educate yourself on the latest (useful) trends, technological advances and tools in your area of expertise.
  • Begin and end with UX.  If something doesn’t have a reason for being there, drop it.  If it isn’t useful, drop it.

Also consider the overall branding of your company and ensure there is seamless identification from website, store, and products to staff and stationery. In order to have a positive, subtle influence on CX, it all needs to have the same look and feel–unified parts of your company.

4 Ways UX Improves CX

Have no doubt about the importance of UX, it is one of the strongest overall influences on the CX. Here are four UX techniques that can have a direct impact and improvement in CX:

  1. Easy customer feedback

Make sure your communication with your users is as easy and open as possible; don’t bury the customer helpline in a hard-to-find place. Create clear and readily visible calls-to-action, or even ask for feedback. Customers enjoy being heard, but it’s up to you to open that line of communication. From a UX position, the aggregate feedback will also reveal insights for product improvement.  

  1. Provide responses to feedback

As much as we have suggested that customers appreciate being heard; the complementary part of that is giving them feedback that their comments are being implemented, or at least were read. And remember to keep the tone consistent from product and website through to your customer support responses.

  1. Combine channels in the right context

A multi-device experience is always a solid strategy, considering that 90%* of users complete a single task on more than one device. Apply this to CX by linking customer service or other relevant services/products at the correct touchpoint. For example, Citibank, like many other sites (like Amazon), allows instant messaging with customer service reps as part of the existing user flow, a huge time-saver for anyone that’s taken advantage of it. 

  1. Provide context across teams

Customer service or supply chain teams certainly shouldn’t dictate the product design, but they must be involved in the product design process. You could seek their input on feasibility and explain how their roles help fulfill the product promise (and how they can salvage it should issues arise). Customer journey maps then help everyone visualize the entire experience. 

Overview

User experience must always be seen in the bigger context of customer experience or it’s entirely possible that your effort will be wasted even when the work is brilliant.

A positive UX is an integral part of a good CX; both are important and complement each other. Whilst UX has its focus on the product itself, CX focusses more broadly on the (overall) multi-channel experience that a user or customer has with a company, both online and offline. For an organization to create a good and long-lasting relationship with their customers, an appropriate strategy both for UX and CX is important for success.

NCN Technology has experts in both web design AND development. We understand the many platforms that are available and can help you choose what is best for your business. If developing the right UX is part of your strategy, let us support you with your website developments.

If you’d like expert advice, get in touch. We’d like to help you make your user experience the most efficient and user-friendly.

New Year, New Website Makeover

New Year, New Website Makeover

Your business website is akin to your professional appearance as a person. You wouldn’t attend a business meeting in your pajamas, or in moth-eaten and musty clothes.  You may choose to identify with vintage wear, but it would be neat, clean and smell nice! Your super-trendy threads are worn by design. They are a considered and conscious style choice, not just whatever you dove into in the laundry basket, or dug up from the basement.

So, new year, new makeover – let’s give your digital presence a face-lift!  You may choose to initiate a complete overhaul, or just attend to all the clutter that has accumulated, like hidden folders or old price lists.  Start your business year off with a bright and shiny new website. It’s good for your stress levels (less jumbled to do lists), and GREAT for your business!  

Initial considerations

Our previous article suggests considering your audience, technology and experience before you update your website.  Here’s a quick set of bullet points to check:

  • Review who your preferred target audience is, and that your message is crafted for that market segment.  
  • Know what’s hot in your industry.  Educate yourself on the latest (useful) trends, technological advances and tools in your area of expertise.
  • Begin and end with user experience.  If something doesn’t have a reason for being there, drop it.  If it isn’t useful, drop it.

Always consider WHO you’ve created your website for, and WHY it exists.  It’s not for a secret Easter bunny hunt, it’s aimed at meeting a client needs in order to grow your business.

Do-over

Your original website is ancient and decrepit, out of date, and not bringing in any new celebrities.  So, you’ve decided that a “do-over” is best. In that case, do your homework before you build your site structures.  Select the web designer, web developer and web platform that works best for you and your business.

A web designer is responsible for how your website looks and how it is used by visitors to the site.  A web developer makes the designed vision a reality, they make it work!  The web platform is the fundamental bedrock your new site is crafted on.  If you sell products online, you will need a store application.  If you provide services, you may require an integrated booking system function.  The selected web platform should contain the critical functionality you require.

If you’re a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kind of person, have a look at these reviews of website builders:

If building websites is not your core business, concentrate on your expertise and let us support you with your website updates.  NCN Technology has experts in both web design AND development. We’ll help you craft a visually appealing website that provides a great experience for your clients.  What’s more, we understand the many web platforms that are available, and can help you choose what is best for your business.

Declutter

Clean out the old storage folders and articles stacked in the cobweb-covered attics of your website.  If you have hidden web pages that are empty and not being used, delete them! You can create a new and relevant folder or page when you need to.  Hoarding unused folders and pages ruins your carefully structured web hierarchy, and confuses the purpose of where you store your content.

Give your website back-end a thorough dusting at least every three months.  Clean up any unused and out-of-date content. You’ll be grateful you did when you next update!

Be present

Ensure you have up-to-date and relevant content on your website.  It’s not very reassuring to clients to find only ghostly articles from five years ago.  It would feel similar to entering an abandoned building. Let potential clients know you are at home! Switch on the lights, decorate a little.  Update your website with recent photos, articles, promotions, the latest news, or even a constant feed from your social platforms.

At the very least, add or update recognizable and dated content every month.  If you’re too busy, hire someone to do it for you. There is a burgeoning trend of online specialists who keep your social profile and online presence alive and kicking.   

Get the basics right

Text formatting, spelling errors and font choice to are the basics of user experience.  If casual website browsers can’t read your site, or notice an error, they are likely to cringe and leave.   A potential client is relying on your professional expertise. If you didn’t bother to have your content spelling checked, or ensure its neatly aligned, why should they hang around?  There is a google directory full of alternatives.

Get the basics right, build rapport, make your web guest’s experience a pleasant one.  If you don’t happen to be a grammar detective, copy editor or website designer, hire one.  Or at least ask a few friends or family members to review your site for you.

If a link is broken, and leads to an internet waste-land, your client may also continue into the wild blue yonder.  With the sheer volume of content available online, nobody has time for broken links. If a browser isn’t instantly gratified, they may move on, along with your sale.

Consistent branding.  Ensure your current logo is the ONLY logo.  You may have been through a few logo iterations that weren’t updated.  Check every little nook and cranny of your website settings. Logos can be added to the main webpage, footer, online invoicing, automated message responses and even error pages.  Ensure every instance is congruent with your current branding. If you have specific business colors, ensure the exact Hex, RGB or CMYK values are used in every, single, instance.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Yes, it is a real thing.  It’s a very important thing! SEO is how your website is found on Google or other search engines.  If you rely on garnering new traffic to your site, it’s best to hire a professional who can setup the necessary settings in a jiffy.  If you have the time and motivation, there is extensive information available on the internet on how to go about SEO. Be sure your reference sources are knowledgeable, effective and efficient.  You don’t want to waste time working on anything that doesn’t measurably increase your website traffic.

The numbers. Review what is working and what isn’t on your site.  Track your site statistics to evaluate whether your business is getting the most traction through blog posts, a particular social media platform, or perhaps through special email promotions.  Analyze and assess where your strategy is inspirational, and where it isn’t. Enhance and nurture your areas of strength, and re-evaluate where the effort is exceeding the results. Spend your time wisely, and ensure it is building your business, and not just unnecessarily sapping your time and resources.

The human factor

Go undercover.  Use new eyes. Put yourself in the sport sneakers, or comfortable hospital crocs, or beach thongs of your target client.  Imagine your perfect client, name them and create a person. Once you’ve pictured Roxy, Antonio, Joe or Agatha, click through your entire site as that person.  Do the graphics appeal to who you are? Is the content relevant? Does the message speak to you? Is it a chore to read the website or useful and engaging? Are the stated facts verified? If not, make a plan, get it updated.

Connect.  Your clients are PEOPLE.  Build valuable relationships with them through newsletters, onsite interactions, or on social media platforms.  Create places for your clients to comment, add their voice, or get new insight into your business or industry. If you don’t like writing, hire a blogger.  If you don’t like tracking social media posts, hire a social media expert. It’s extremely common nowadays, and is good business! The online connections will do wonders for helping your clients feel worthwhile and included.  

Reward yourself

Once you’ve successfully planned out your magnificent new web strategy, and achieved your beautiful new web page, reward yourself!  A new website makeover is exciting and inspiring! If you make it a pleasant experience for you and your team, you are more likely to keep up the good business practice of maintaining your website.  Your website wardrobe will be red carpet worthy, regal and timeless – by conscious design.

If you’d like some expert advice, get in touch.  We’d like nothing more than to help you herald in a new year with a fabulous new website!

What is the Best CMS for Your Needs in 2019?

What is the Best CMS for Your Needs in 2019?

If you want to build your website, a CMS (Content Management System) is an essential tool that gives you the possibility to design, change and manage the content of your website. There are quite a number of different types of CMS out there.

It’s important to understand exactly what it is you want from a CMS before you decide which one to use. Questions like “Who will be using the CMS?” and “Do visitors need to be able to make purchases on the site?” will help you determine which systems to further evaluate or rule out. Then it comes down to the ease of use, functionality, and look. These are key elements for consideration when developing or updating your website.

Let’s look at 4 popular CMS and find out how each one might suit your needs.

WordPress

With a market share of over 50%, WordPress is the top dog of all CMS options. It is easy to use and allows you to personalize your website by offering thousands of themes across different industries that help create the look of your website. You can further customize your website by choosing from over 50,000 plugins that enhance the functionality and features of your website.

The great news is that the software can be downloaded and installed for free. There is also a monthly paid option that gives you unlimited storage, access to the full spectrum of the theme store and a custom domain.

Joomla

Like WordPress, Joomla is a free CMS with thousands of web templates to choose from. In terms of market share it ranks at number 2. It provides support for all types of content (custom post types), is available in multiple languages and offers bilingual support.

Although the usage of Joomla is not quite as intuitive and user-friendly as WordPress, it still offers you a great amount of versatility and flexibility. Joomla lets you manage the access users have to your webpage, which means it is great if you are looking to build a membership-based online community.

Drupal

This is another CMS that is free to download and install, however, there are costs that can be associated with the use of it due to the need for developer help in some cases. It is designed to be customized for your business and thus has more coding involved to the designing process.

Drupal is ideal for complex sites that require a large amount of customization and scalability. It handles a higher volume of content better, as well as multiple users. Since Drupal is mobile-friendly, it is a good choice for staying on top of current expectations and needs of consumers. You’ll also find it has solid security features for protecting your content.

SharePoint

When it comes to internal content management, SharePoint is the most commonly used system, especially within Fortune 500 businesses. Its functions allow organizations to store multiple types of files, including documents, calendars, tasks, contacts, video/audio files and much more.

The key feature of SharePoint is the ability to easily share data with multiple people within an organization. This makes collaboration between departments/teams easier and more efficient. The system is built to be handed over to the end user upon completion of its design. This means it is not too difficult to make minor changes as needed. However, if you require any major overhauls, you’ll probably need to enlist a programmer.

Overview

Depending on the products and services you are offering, the size of your company as well as the level of customization you want/need, it is best to research all the different CMS that are available to you before you make a decision on which one to choose.

The “most popular” isn’t necessarily the best one for your business needs. Some systems offer more customization than others, some offer an easier-to-use platform. It’s important to find the right balance for your needs and skills. Hopefully we’ve shed some light on what is available and gave you an idea of what to look for in choosing a CMS.

If you would like help with building your business website or tailoring one to best-suit your needs, please get in touch. Our team is ready to answer questions and help you make an informed decision about the options that are available.