Consumer brands aren’t the only organizations who need to focus on delivering a positive and seamless user experience. Sure, those who subscribe to meal delivery services want their purchases to be fresh and delivered on time, and nobody wants an unreliable snow blower in the throws of winter weather, but service providers and nonprofit organizations can also benefit greatly from taking the time to ensure a positive user experience from the first exposure through the final action. When evaluating the user experience your company or cause currently delivers and identifying areas for improvement, consider the following:
- When are stakeholders engaging with your brand?
- Where are stakeholders engaging with your brand?
- Why are stakeholders engaging with your brand?
Once you’ve carefully evaluated each of these questions and amassed quantitative and qualitative data to help inform the responses, it’s time to answer the biggest questions of all:
- When are stakeholders experiencing friction with the brand?
- Where are stakeholders experiencing friction with the brand?
- Why are stakeholders experiencing friction with the brand?
And, most importantly:
- What can be done to alleviate friction at all junctures?
Simply put, friction occurs when two things are in conflict because of differing views, opinions, priorities, etc. For a brand and its stakeholders, friction can arise anywhere in the acquisition, engagement and sales cycles. And, to understand how to alleviate friction, it’s critical to understand the when, where and why of how audiences are engaging with your brand.
Here are a few common scenarios where a heightened focus on delivering an ideal user experience can help to alleviate friction.
Your company is hosting a renowned speaker at its upcoming event. You have limited capacity for attendees, so you’ve decided to offer everyone in your email database the opportunity to enter a drawing to win a signed copy of the speaker’s book. You’re email marketing uses a responsive template design and your website is also responsive. But, the forms on your website are from a third-party CRM software and those forms aren’t responsive. In turn, those reading the emails promoting the drawing on their mobile devices and clicking through to enter via those devices are clumsily pinching and zooming trying to fill out a form that’s less than smartphone-friendly.
The solution: (1) know how stakeholders are engaging with your content (smartphone, desktop, etc.); (2) go through the “buying process” in their shows; and, (3) pinpoint and address any glitches in the process before deploying the campaign.
Your nonprofit maintains a content-rich website that is full of helpful resources for clients and referral sources. You’ve leveraged your team’s expertise to develop toolkits, informational blog posts, video tutorials, etc. The content is great – but the process of finding it isn’t ideal. The navigation isn’t intuitive and it takes many clicks for users to find what they are looking for. And, just because you found the information you needed once doesn’t mean you’ve cracked the code for easily finding other information you may need in the future.
The solution: (1) use your website analytics to determine what content is most popular and reorganize accordingly; (2) deploy a user survey to determine what information people crave and where your content gaps lay; and, (3) push out direct links to highly valuable content via social media and email marketing until you can dig deep and embark on a comprehensive website redesign.
Your website traffic grows month-over-month thanks to a strategic blend of original content/thought leadership, social media marketing and an adequate digital marketing spend focused on lead generation. The time people spend on your website is increasing, and users are viewing more pages when they visit, but the conversions on calls-to-action (e.g. register, attend, purchase, etc.) are weak. Your data collection forms are mobile responsive but the “checkout” process is a bit detailed.
The solution: (1) understand when people are making “transactions” with your brand (during another conference call, while waiting to pick up kids from soccer practice, while standing in line for a morning coffee);(2) determine how much time they will invest, and what information they are willing to share, to receive certain types of information, experiences and incentives; and, (3) modify the “checkout” process to meet users where they are.
Stakeholders have multiple touchpoints with brands, from the time they are first introduced to the time they eventually become “customers” – not to mention the many touchpoints that comprise an effective retention phase. Each one of these touchpoints informs their perception of the user experience and it only takes one ill-timed misstep to tarnish a brand’s reputation. Remaining focused on delivering and maintaining positive user experiences can help to bolster social media engagement, generate word-of-mouth referrals and positively impact overall brand equity – all of which supports strong sales and retention. As you work to hone your brand’s user experience, focus on leveraging quantitative and qualitative data to inform your strategy and take the time to test refinements with those who impact the continued success of your brand.