With the rise of lockdown, technology has enabled more and more businesses going digital. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog article, we reveal how customer service and user experience (UX) could make or break a loyal customer.

Why is customer service and user experience (UX) important?

A positive experience from a website or physical store can determine whether consumers will return or not. Running a successful business depends on positive word of mouth, especially if you are a small business competing with the big boys. A bad online reputation can be the death for your business. You can’t afford to be a bad company in today’s world if you hope to survive. On the flip side, great customer satisfaction in store or online means you’re likely to increase customer retention. They’re more likely to refer their friends and family too!

Which one would you rather shop at?

Shop A: sales representative was tentative, informative, pleasant to deal with, actually helpful when you need them most.

Shop B: sales representatives look the other way and pretend to be busy when you make eye contact with them. Gave one word answers or vague instructions, overall unpleasant and unhelpful.

Similarly, which kind of website would you rather visit?

Website A: amazing modern website design that guides you exactly what you want to know, answers to your problems, exactly when you needed it. Easy to use and navigate, looks trustworthy and secure.

Website B: outdated, ugly, or bad design that is hard to use and navigate. Can’t or very hard to find what they are looking for. You simply leave even more confused and frustrated. The website does not have the padlock and your browser is telling you its not safe to proceed.

So, which store and website did you prefer?

According to studies from the MMI Group, 63% of consumers who have high customer expectations will switch to a competitor. On the other hand, if a consumer’s experience with your product is poorly received, they are less likely to come back. Together, both of these issues are a recipe for disaster. If your customer interactions are constantly bad, or your products are difficult to use, you are going to lose consumers and a lot of money.

What is user experience (UX)?

User experience (UX) is the overall experience a consumer has with a product, service, or company. It is the journey of your audience starting from the first interaction or impression of your product, service and business. It is the emotional ride including all the highs and lows of their customer journey from start to their final interaction with your product, service and business.

It’s a term that has grown in popularity in the last few years as more and more businesses have become aware of the importance of providing a good experience to their consumers. It’s not enough to just sell a product anymore. Companies are starting to realise that they need to be more considerate and pay attention to the details that go into the consumer’s experience.

How is it different to customer service?

The term of customer service is how the consumer perceives the service provided by the company. We have all heard about how important positive customer service can be but what exactly does that mean? It is the feeling you get when you know you are being taken care of and that makes you want to come back to a company over and over.

So what’s the difference? They both sound very similar, they definitely can overlap. The key differentiator is that customer service can only be given by another member of the company to the prospective customer via virtual or in real life. User experience does not.

Customer service example
A sales representative can give good or bad service. Was the person rude or helpful? How long did they take to answer your questions? Did they point you in the right direction? Did they fulfill your needs?

User experience example
Similarly, the layout and signs of a train station can give good or bad user experience by way the signage is written, colour coded or where it’s placed. Was the signage big and easily legible? Did the colours or numbers help you navigate to the right platforms for the right trains? Or did the layout of the train station make you walk 10 million stairs with no lifts for people with disabilities?

Nobody served you in the latter but the physical layout and signage served you an experience. Designing for both is vital to earn trust and increase chances of making happy customers. The moment you get it wrong, they’ll be less likely to refer your company to their friends and family. The worst case scenario would be them writing a bad experience in their customer review, tell their friends and family to avoid your company like the plague.

How to design great user experience and customer service?

Customer loyalty is all about making sure your ideal consumer is happy and that their needs are met. It goes a long way to create and nurture customer relationships. It can actually make or break a company. Here are our top 4 tips:

  1. Gain customer insight, understand your ideal consumer
    • Who are they?
    • What do they need?
    • What problem do they have?
    • How do they interact and buy?
    • Complete a customer lifecycle.
  2. Organise content for ease of use & navigate
    • Give them what they want.
    • When they want it.
    • Most importantly, how they want it.
    • Fulfil their needs easily and quickly.
    • Complete a customer journey map
  3. Dictate how they feel and behave
    • Solve their problems wonderfully.
    • Relief their pain points and issues.
    • Use great visual appeal via web design.
    • Make them feel you understand them.
    • Constantly improve through regular user testing
  4. Nurture your consumers by being helpful
    • Have helpful content eg blog, educational freebies.
    • Email them business or industry updates and deals.
    • Be helpful and educational to boost your authority.

Final Takeaways

The key to being successful in the industry is to understand the consumer, the company’s values, and the needs and wants of the consumer. Then, make a happy customer one at a time by developing a strategy that compliments the user experience. By combining the two will create a great customer experience strategy that gives people what they want, when they want it, but most importantly, how they want it. Doing is takes a lot of planning, expertise and strategy. Not many small business owners know of it or do it properly. We highly suggest hiring professionals. If ignored or done incorrectly, you risk losing loyal consumers instead of making them.

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