In today’s state of the information technology industry terminologies and designations from academia get mixed-up with buzzwords and acronyms that appear to be generated by the week (thank you very much Marketing :p), and look somewhat interchangeable. It is in this context that the terms CX is often confused with UX, UI and the subject of work those cover.
If you regularly follow our articles —and if you don’t we kindly encourage you to do so ;)— you are probably familiar with the distinctions in those disciplines, but for the sake of any unaware reader out there, let’s do a brief recap.
UI – User Interface: Interfaces, often of the graphical type, also includes voice controlled features and potentially any medium through which the user interacts with a system. The focus of UI Design is on conveying function through the works of visuals and style, with the goal of creating an easy to use and pleasurable experience for the user while interacting with the product.
UX – User Experience: a broader discipline, concerning a strategic thinking geared towards achieving the best experience for users in completing the tasks or goals proposed by the product. As such, it’s an area that goes beyond digital products only, and serves from many tools to accomplish this purpose, including user engagements like interviews to define personas, card sorting exercises and wireframes / prototypes, usability tests, among many others.
So what is Customer Experience?
Customer Experience is the broad term that accounts for every single customer touch-point with the company or, better put, the brand. It needs to be noted that CX is the novelty term that designates what used to be referred to as “Brand Experience”. While UI design produces the —generally— visual output of the product to be technically functional and compliant, UX listens to users to create and/or improve the product in regards to their satisfaction and ability to use it within its expected results. But it is CX that encompasses the former two and more to go beyond any single product or service and consider the complete experience customers get from every interaction with the company, which constitutes then a brand image in those users’ minds.
By design brands are assigned attributes, values, a voice, and all of these characteristics only come to life when their customers experience them and recognize them as true. From a piece of advertisement in the street or media, through a point of sale, website, app, to a customer support experience, they all constitute one single CX effort. In short everything that is customer facing impacts the experience of the customer and is the subject matter of CX.
How do we help improve customer experience?
The services provided by organizations rely more and more on the digital medium. Websites and apps, computers, tables and smartphones offer in most cases the possibility to fulfill needs that in the past required in-person interaction and paper documents. These -now granted- benefits impact directly on efficiency and convenience for the customers to fulfill needs and obligations.
As a Digital Product Design and Development company, we at Mobomo engage with our customers in projects to create specific products for which we provide award-winning UX and UI design services. As a company, we care for CX ourselves in our interactions with clients and audience —this very article you are reading right now is another example of interaction we are having as part of our brand voice.
We can play a big role in achieving that satisfaction, and if you play the rest of your cards right, you’ll be engaging with your customers in a very meaningful and deep way. Reaching that level of certainty in the minds of customers is what we thrive for, and it’s a continuous and iterative task always leading to satisfaction, trust, and therefore virtuous results.
Mobomo leverages UCD practices and methodologies to engage users, and through those engagements our teams learn about needs and pain points to in turn produce digital solutions of high experience value.
One outstanding example of this CX improvement is our work on the NOAA Fisheries website redesign. In late 2016, Mobomo partnered with NOAA Fisheries to assist in restructuring and redesigning their digital presence. Merging all their core web properties into one Drupal site. Allowing users to go to one destination to find and discover information they need. Focusing on improving content efficiency, design consistency, and unifying NOAA Fisheries voice. Within one year we launched the framework for their next generation site. The end result was a 14% increase on the website overall American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) and 145% overall traffic. Our surveying over the new version of the site resulted in 85% of visitors stating they would recommend the NOAA Fisheries website, 90% would return and 94% stating information is easy to find.
Beyond CX, Service Design
There’s an umbrella over all of these processes, which coordinates all parts necessary to carry out the planned actions both internally and in relation to the customer, and it’s called Service Design. One first distinction we can make compared to all of the previous concepts, is that Service Design works as well from the organizational point of view, considering the interactions through all channels and points of contact, organizing and planning people, infrastructure, communication, materials. One prominent resource used in SD is the Service Blueprint, a visual mapping technique where we can lay out every stage the customer goes through, identifying every point of contact and visualizing what happens behind the scenes internally in connection to those items.
What do these all have in common? They are all Human Centered Design disciplines, following a Design Thinking approach in their strategies.
In conclusion, in order to sustain a healthy customer experience within the services of an organization, it is necessary to listen to the customer and monitor the integrity of the touchpoints with them. And above all keep a tight grip on the bigger picture with the consideration that critical pain points stand to break the customer experience as a whole, and conversely a high standard across all touchpoints is the path to a robust and healthy experience for customers that fosters fidelization.