Recent studies show that 75% of executives hope to use customer experience as a differentiator. The problem is that ‘hope’ is not a strategy.
A UX Strategy project is the newest, most advanced ,and difficult project in the user experience design field. Yet it answers just two questions. It starts with the executive intent. This might be how to differentiate in order to maintain market share in a competitive market. It might be how to minimize service and equipment costs. It might be how to attract Millennial Generation staff. The UX Strategy project describes two things…
The motivation strategy is based on our PET (Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust) Design methods. If the executive intent is to migrate customers to low cost digital channels (we hear that a lot), then what will actually motivate customers to switch? Making the digital channel easy to use is good. ‘Easy’ is a hygiene factor. But that alone won’t migrate customers. You can pay people to migrate, but that is an expensive and troublesome strategy. You may need to KEEP paying them. Instead, we find more powerful methods of psychological influence.
The cross channel solution reflects the reality that we must usually transcend siloes to be successful. The motivational strategy creates the focus. But then that focus needs to extend to a seamless user experience. We must often design for three or four different classes of device. We must often integration point of sale, call centers, and human intermediated sales. It takes time to get to fully deploy a strategy. But it stops the creation of misaligned solutions.
At the end of our strategy projects we always deliver concrete design concepts that illustrate the strategic solution. These are not yet ready to code. There is serious structural and detailed design needed. But they make the strategic direction unambiguous. After all we are known as being ruthlessly pragmatic.
An Internal HFI Communication….
Last week, Eric, a few other folks, and I went out to [client] to kick off two projects – a UX Strategy project and a Methodology project. The projects and the client are interesting for several reasons, but I think the most important thing that I learned while there was about the importance of doing the Strat project. The conversation with [client] started long ago like so many others did. They needed help getting better at usability. Fortunately, though, we did not go down the path of "yes, we can help redesign your web site." That came up many times in the conversation last week and before then. Many times, we (scopers and sales) are "guilty" of agreeing to help a client with something fairly tactical as a way of getting a foot in the door with the expectation that we'd get to the more strategic stuff eventually. Had we done that here, however, we may have been helping our client go out of business.
The client’s brand is all about xxxxxxr fanatics (or "enthusiasts" if you prefer). Think Harley Davidson or Apple… but for xxxxxxx. Their web site, however, is nothing more than a commodity-based eComm play. Buy stuff… get 10% off… free shipping… etc. Positioned that way, they're going up against Amazon and Walmart to sell xxxxx. That's absolutely a losing proposition for them. Had we agreed to improve their web site for them, we'd have been reinforcing their current wrong strategy and helping them down the road to failure. Instead, we're working with them to understand how they've created fanatics offline and developing a strategy that will take that online… and differentiate from Amazon and Walmart. It's a fun project :-)