This article was originally written for and published by Forbes.
The user experience can make or break your business. According to a 2022 Propel study, 54% of customers would stop using a brand after just one bad experience. Poor customer interactions can taint your whole operation and make it very easy for clients to re-evaluate their working relationship with you, raising unwanted questions like: “Is this still the best solution for my business? Should I re-evaluate other competitive offerings? Is this company really interested in my success?”
These concerns can quickly have a domino effect on your relationship, leading to doubt and uncertainty instead of a clear path forward. As a CEO of a software company, I never want customers to question the value we provide. If you are like me, these questions should frighten you—or, at the very least, set off alarm bells.
As business leaders, we must make the user experience a top priority to instill customer loyalty.
Assimilation Is Critical
Clients won’t use what they don’t have. So, it’s imperative to get your products and services in front of as many clients as possible. But, what’s even more important is to find a way to naturally incorporate your product into their routine. When this happens, your product quickly transforms from something a customer could use to something a customer needs to use.
In technology, it’s easy to design an application or a process assuming that someone has to work with it, or chooses to use it. It’s significantly harder to design a solution that’s symbiotic to an employee’s workday. Hard as it may be, it’s crucial for all companies—not just software companies—to design user experiences around this idea. Processes and applications that achieve the most success are the ones that blend themselves into the flow of the customer’s natural patterns. My design goal is to make the process with my solution easier, more accurate and more enjoyable than the process without my solution.
An example comes from my local dry cleaner. As a consumer, I have the option to choose from many different dry cleaning businesses. Option A offers me a service where my clean clothes can be dropped off at my workplace versus many other options where I need to remember to pick up the clothes from a physical storefront or risk not having the clean shirt to take on my next business trip. As a busy CEO who often has things come up at the last minute, my schedule isn’t always easy to predict. Which company provides a better user experience for me? Hands down, it’s Option A. That dry cleaner has found a way to integrate its service into my life, making it easier for me to work with them. I’m not forced to remember to use their service; they bring it to me as part of doing business. A customer-centric approach like this leads to repeat business and ultimately greater customer loyalty. This oversimplified example is a strategy that wins every time.
Leverage Technology To Connect The Customer Dots
So, how can we apply my dry cleaning example to other business models like technology? Technology is a facilitator that amplifies the user experience and connects the dots for the customer. By using technology that is convenient and streamlined, a customer’s experience is enhanced, and the customer is more inclined to assimilate a product into their work life. It will come naturally to them, and they will ultimately begin to depend on it.
A great example of a software application that is used to heighten the user experience today is a platform like Slack. Slack is an integral part of many business organizations, as it allows for collaboration, communication and organization to co-exist in one convenient place—where the user resides as part of their workday. According to Slack’s Future of Work study, 87% of Slack users say the platform makes them more productive, and 47% say they are “extremely satisfied” at work, compared to 37% for non-Slack users.
By leveraging technology to promote cross-departmental collaboration, users can work together easily and effectively. The user experience is substantiated when communication can be open, efficient and organized all within a platform they are already working in, and the business will save time and money. Utilizing technology like this is a win for the user and a win for a company’s bottom line.
Future-Proof Technology For Lasting Business Value
Technology will be a driving force in amplifying user experiences for years to come, but it is ultimately up to business leaders to take the crucial steps needed to ensure that their product or service is seamlessly infused into the lives of their customers.
By naturally inserting your product, service or technology into the routine of the customer, you can become an integral part of the day-to-day operations. Doing this makes you indispensable to the company’s success, time and time again.
Ross Meyercord is a member of the Forbes Technology Council, an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives. Check out all of Ross' content for Forbes here.