Category Archives: Customer experience (CX)

Is speed becoming a commodity? UX is dead. Long Live UX!

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The other day I tweeted how I love as I learn more my definition of User Experience (UX) continues to expand. For many years, as a part of end-user monitoring businesses, I spoke about UX as if it completely depended on what I have come to call Feelsfast.

Feelsfast is the mythical metric that measures how long it takes for a user to feel like your page has loaded. This is a basic requirement, a basic need that’s lower on the hierarchy of needs. Without Feelsfast the rest of UX doesn’t matter because no one will use your website or mobile application.

UX = Feelsfast is dead. Long live UX!

My newer, more cultivated view of user experience goes something like…

UX = Feelsfast + Usability + MarketingPs

What do I mean when I say Usability?
It’s the ease of use, learnability and enjoyment that can come from a digital interaction. This is the stuff of the Carnegie Mellon, Human Computer Interface model that Forrester frequently discusses and Aberdeen presents a refined interpretation below:

Aberdeen Research interpretation of Andrew's CX hierarchy

Aberdeen Research interpretation of Andrew’s CX hierarchy

BUT…désign, style and grace is akin to store design, layout and optimization in the retail world, although it is part of the Product in the SaaS and application world as the user interface IS the product.

Usability still leaves something, something more essential, the substance.
The MarketingPs are the substance. This is the traditional Price, Promotion, Product, Placement stuff that we all learned in our Principles of Marketing class back in college. This is the what people are buying.

The amazing opportunity for businesses moving forward is to leverage the latter two in my UX equation to reimagine the customer journey and more effectively engage users at every touchpoint of the customer experience.

Digital, as a virtual experience, supports endless experimentation promoting a culture of innovation that allows businesses to create real competitive advantages. Combine experimentation with big data powered multi-variate analytics and our systems can create a safety net allowing our employees to take risk without risk!

So where does that leave Feelfast?
Yes, we can’t deliver the rest of UX without it! And yet it is really the stuff of infrastructure. It’s the rails our train of digital experience ride on.

For modern, well-designed software applications adding performance is getting to the point where you should just be able to add more coins to the computing machine to get more performance.

Is SPEED becoming a commodity?
We are not quite there yet, but that’s where we are going :)

5 things your business needs to do now to win the game of CX

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I love the now and the place we are going. It’s so exciting for businesses and customers!

Trying to understand how business is changing technology and technology is changing business is so much fun. One of the themes I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is that IT and business have changed each other so much they are now one.

Call it the digital transformation that’s the driving force, ok, but that transformation is at least in part driven by our own over-indulged interactions with our digital devices and need for the constant pulse of engagement. I think everyone in my household could use a little 12-step digital addiction counseling including me :)

What a wonderful opportunity for brands to take advantage of human nature and pervasive connectedness!

Capitalizing on this opportunity for customer engagement will rely, at least in part, on how well your organization understands your conceptual value chain and can generate the three fuels that feed success.

The conceptual value chain looks something like this:

Business outcomes from
User behaviors because of
UX = Available + Feelsfast + Usable + Enjoyable (delivered by)
Applications depending on
Services running on
Servers residing in
Datacenters

That value chain runs on these fuels:

Customer experience planning and design is customer experience management largely as defined by Forrester. And they do a very good job of publishing guidance on the processes and roles required to do this well. The concept of the truly empowered “product owner” from Agile model is a much leaner interpretation for small teams. It really comes down to who owns the customer experience and the business outcomes generated.

Customer acquisition is primarily a sales and marketing function, and frankly there should be very little light shining between the cracks. Today, marketing is sales at scale. Brand message and core value proposition should be consistent in an omni-channel world. And it is the larger customer experience design – the what we have and why people care about it – that defines the product and experience. Sales and marketing almost becomes the way we project the emotional and business impact of the planned customer experience with it’s delightful fulfillment.

Fulfillment of the user experience has a hard and soft component. The hard component is the service delivery of the application. Is it available and does it feel fast? It’s the applications running on services that use servers in different data centers hierarchy. The soft component is the result of customer experience design and driven by usability factors like utility, ease and enjoyment.

Here are 5 things your organization can do right now to create the fuel you need to win big:

1 Tie the value chain together so everyone can understand and own business outcomes.
This means the what and the why needs to be very clearly stated. What is the desired business result? What user behaviors will get us to that business result? What user experience must be delivered to drive that user behavior? and so on. This means monitoring and metrics, metrics, metrics.

2 Get serious about UX
User experience is contact patch with the customer. It’s the blender that mixes the “just right experience” by carefully combining innovative CX planning and operational service delivery. The importance of UX needs executive voice as well as support at every level of the organization. Saying get serious about UX is almost like saying get serious about winning.

3 Be a team!
Stop having the business make requirements and IT produce deliverables. We – the business and IT people – need to use information and technology to collaborate and break through traditional business perimeters. To win big you have to win as a team!

4 Go faster.
Run projects with an Agile format and adopt a DevOps approach to your test and deploy methodology. Use the cloud to dev, build, test and deploy. It takes a lot less time that ordering, racking, and configuring hardware. These are big cultural changes so pick a project to start with and show the rest of your teams how successful and fun for the team the new ways can be.

5 Leverage analytics and big data.
We all talk about data-driven decisions, but a team of analysts spending a week gathering data in Excel from systems spread all over the company for last weeks data doesn’t cut it anymore. Monitoring both the service delivery systems and customer acquisition systems at every step of the value chain with real-time granular data is needed. There are so many areas where this can impact success. Analytics are the thread of data that ties the value chain together and shows you the business the moving parts as well as the whole. Analytics and anomaly detection are an important power tool so mere humans can get help knowing what might be changing and important to pay attention to in the sea of big data. Software analytics are the silent voice of the customer pointing to product usage and frustration.

Let’s stop building software and start building amazing user experiences that people can’t wait to share!