In part one of this series, we shared how user experience is a part of customer experience and two strategies for great customer experiences. Here, we'll detail two more strategies that will keep your customers coming back. Let's dive in!
Create user-friendly forms
The best approach to collecting data is to keep your forms as simple as possible.
Use fewer fields to decrease friction
In most cases, three to five fields are the conversion sweet spot. Potential customers will determine if it’s too much work to fill out the form compared to the value gained. Avoid this altogether by asking for the minimum amount of information so that you don’t overwhelm them. If you need that additional information, consider if those questions should be asked during the consultative or purchasing process instead. If it must be asked before making the first contact, mark the fields as optional (and explicitly indicating so).
Only ask for the information you need
“If your customer feels that something you’re asking for isn’t necessary, they’ll either give you fake information or they’ll forget about completing your form,” states UX Movement. Also, don't ask for too much personal information (like a full address on a lead form) because potential customers often value their digital privacy more than purchasing a product.
Prepopulate fields when possible
If a visitor has already given you their information, like their zip code, pre-populate those fields. It's one less field to fill out! Similar to a blank canvas, it’s harder to get started if you’re looking at an empty form. Do that little bit of work for them so there's not a blank canvas staring back at them.
Use click-triggered modals instead of automated, time-triggered ones
Automated, full-screen modal lead forms are popular but aren’t very user-friendly. A general rule in UX is to never perform actions your visitors haven’t requested, and that certainly applies here. If you want the experience of a modal, consider making it appear only when a user clicks a call-to-action button/link and allow the user to dismiss these modals with a clear exit method (like a “close” icon). While snazzy animations add flair, opt for subtle or fading effects to avoid flight-or-fight responses from surprised visitors.
Always test and seek feedback
Understanding what your customers think is critical, because bad experiences spread faster through word of mouth than good ones. Every unhappy customer will tell 16 people about their issue with you, which hurts your reputation. For every person who complains, there are 26 more who just leave (Lee Resource). We can avoid that negative press, though. If you can make customers happy by solving their problems, then you’ll get positive referrals instead of negative ones. Integrate feedback collection everywhere and make it as minimal/simple as possible.How can we avoid these negative interactions? One of the most critical aspects of UX is user testing. Before investing time and effort into adding something to your product, verify if it’s the right thing to do.
Testing moves your team from thinking that a concept will work to knowing that it will.
Why testing is so valuable
Testing centers the conversation around your customers (instead of your stakeholders) and lets go of team-members' ego and bias. Furthermore, it places the value of data over opinions and puts your concept through real-world scenarios. Unexpected issues will pop up and you can easily pivot direction without the costs of doing so after launch. Most importantly, testing moves your team from thinking that a concept will work to knowing that it will.User testing isn’t a focus group: in these sessions, you’re not asking for their opinions or ideas. This is the time for participants to complete tasks in your fleshed-out prototype so they can provide real, contextual feedback.
How to start testing
As Christopher Ellis of Mentally Friendly explains, begin testing by creating hypotheses (general anticipated outcomes). To test these hypotheses, use real-life mini-challenges (known as task scenarios) for participants to perform. When creating these task scenarios, have a goal and mind and anticipate the steps to complete the scenario. What you want to learn from user testing:
- Can they complete the tasks unassisted?
- Are there any blocks preventing the user from completing the tasks?
- Are they completing the task as we intended? If not, how are they navigating to complete the challenge?
Take them through the journey and see how they fare. These sessions will shine a light on what works well and which roadblocks need to be readdressed. Aim for fewer participants and more frequency, and verify ideas early and often with pointed feedback. By doing so, your iteration process will become streamlined and you'll have a time buffer to course-correct if needed. User testing gives you a snapshot of what the concept will look like in real-life. With this, you can validate your theories or pivot if it doesn’t quite work as expected. The results are worth it: you will be more confident in how the concept will perform in the market.
Creating experiences your customers will love
Customer experience is more than your reputation or service—it encompasses every touchpoint and interaction customers have with your product, and how they perceive those interactions. Center your product development around the benefits gained instead of the features or technology. As a result, customers will easily adopt your products into their everyday life.To get a head start, focus on your products' user experience.Consistent touchpoints and branding will instill your brand's consistency and dependability in customers' minds. Get to know what they sense and understand about you, and understand the brand you want to portray. With those two ideas in mind, establish guidelines that you can apply across all creative and interactions.User-driven, benefits-focused messaging allows customers to visualize your product as their ideal purchase. Then, clinch that conversion with effective and direct calls-to-action. Next, create user-friendly forms that only ask the information you need to begin the conversation. Above all: test, test, and test again. Frequent testing puts your concepts through real-life scenarios and gives you confidence in that your concept will work out in the market.With these proven strategies, you'll create experiences your customers love and keep them coming back.