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The Importance of Great UX/UI for Customer Retention

This article on user experience design is part of our CX Optimisation Guide.

Going digital is not enough.

Think of all the online shopping journeys that have either looked bad or confused you. The ones that make you want to just call up and talk to someone to get what you need.

If you are replacing paper-based processes and your new digital experience is below standard, customers are going to choose another channel, or another company.

This article will support you in ensuring your customer touchpoint optimisation enhances the user experience to help increase customer retention.

If you have yet to run through the hows and whys of optimising your CX touchpoints, take a look at The CX Optimisation Guide: How to Transform Your Customer Retention.

The cost of bad UX/UI design

Eventually, relying on any kind of poor experience is going to affect your customer retention. This absolutely applies to user experience as well as customer experience.

The bar for UX and UI has already been set high by the likes of Amazon, Uber and digital-first banks such as Starling. Digitally led consumer brands have spent the past decade refining their user experiences – one-click buy, no login required – and have conditioned shoppers to expect the same from every other brand they use.

Customers often opt for the path of least resistance. Today, they expect an easy, seamless interaction from all brands providing their services. People are busy, so if they hit an obstacle or can’t get what they need quickly and with minimal effort, they will likely abandon the journey, and worse, look elsewhere.

The cost is simple. Invest in good user experience or lose customers.

Making it look good

Good UX is a great way to impress your brand upon your customers. Done wrong, it can quickly damage their perception of it.

High-quality look and feel lies in how closely the design of an experience represents your existing brand – the language and the imagery, right down to the clickable buttons.

So if you are bringing in a third party to build your digital process, it’s critical they can replicate your brand experience across all of their solutions, no matter how small the interaction. Even something as simple as a change of address can cause complexity within the customer journey.

Ensure that your vendor has access to, and a clear grasp of your brand guidelines, with key brand and marketing teams involved at an early stage so your partner can communicate your brand effectively. This will avoid any delays and redesigns further down the road.

Less functionality is more

UX is a touchpoint in time while CX is a series of UX journeys. By keeping functionality to a minimum, removing as much friction as possible, you will be optimising the customer experience.

Minimal functionality, and the ability to accomplish everything in as few steps as possible is crucial to providing a compelling UX.

When designers want to add more bells and whistles, it will likely add cost and complexity, with confused customers clogging up the phone lines at your contact centre. And when you factor in that each call costs the average business £10, you can see that good UX not only helps with retention but also keeps your costs down.

The right level of customer data

In any customer journey, you want to get the minimum possible level of information from a customer that allows you to progress a transaction.

When forms need to be long, they can feel endless if you don’t clearly communicate to the customer where they are within the journey. Customers can lose interest and may choose to do other tasks if they don’t know how long an interaction is going to take.

There are many straightforward ways to help tackle ‘form fatigue’ – for example, splitting up a form across several pages, with a numbered progress bar along the bottom to indicate stages completed.

You also need to be clear on what information goes where, and in what format this needs to be supplied – like dates, for instance – or you risk errors and the need to spend time clarifying the details with your customers manually (defeating the whole point of a digital experience).

How to execute a project well

First you need to identify friction points in your customer journey by mapping out the current process. Then you can deconstruct it and re-engineer it to simplify the process, reduce the number of touchpoints and improve customer outcomes.

Once the solution has been created, you need to test and improve where required. Identify the key metrics, spend time analysing each step, investigate drop-off rates and scrutinise form completion rates. In our experience, form completion rates can increase by up to 50% when UX/UI best practice is implemented effectively.

With good analytics, you can pinpoint which fields are causing problems, and identify where a customer has needed to call the contact centre. Join up the dots and you can see how and where you are losing customers to another channel.

Tried and tested marketing data-led optimisation techniques can help to optimise your business processes – think Conversion Rate Optimisation for your customer communications. Using data to inform content, layout and flow will improve outcomes, something marketers have been doing successfully for years.

The key to all of this is effective collaboration. If you choose to bring in a third party to help you solve your customer journey issues, and if the solution is a digital experience, it must be a co-construction.

It’s not about off-the-shelf workflows. It’s carefully constructed, agreed upon solutions that improve outcomes and enable a customer to get what they need. Service providers need to be flexible based on the requirements of the customer.

Example: Pension Co.

Here’s an example we mocked up for an imaginary pension provider, showing how a customer could be onboarded.

Pension Co - Digital JourneyClick to enlarge

This example demonstrates the importance of keeping the user journey as simple as possible, the branding consistent, and the functionality relevant to customer goals.

If you would like to know more about how good UX/UI fits in with your customer experience management (CXM), and how we could help you unlock the potential of two-way customer engagement, download our CX improvement pack.

The risks of staying still

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it – the antithesis of good customer experience.

Sometimes brands have concerns that what they implement won’t be as good as what they already have.

The beauty of digital experiences is that you can test and refine as your customers interact with it.

Robust data and analytics allow you to develop an actionable hypothesis, enabling you to make incremental changes for marginal gains that add up over time to big improvements. Without data, everything is hope. And hope is not a strategy.

By A/B testing the old journey with the new one – offering half of your customers the old one and half the new one – over a short period of time you can see which one is delivering the optimal customer experience. And this will help you to retain more customers.

Implementing better processes that significantly change the way you interact with your customers is often a big ask for a business. Making sure the UX/UI is given the focus it requires will mitigate any of the associated risks, enhance the customer experience, and help to increase customer retention.

For more on transforming your customer retention, see our full CX Optimisation Guide.