From Words To Action: Turning UX Into ROI


Your customers are speaking to you all time, providing no-holds-barred feedback the good, bad and otherwise. But while comments from tweets, surveys, and other media channels tell volumes, it’s usually just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more going on in your business. The challenge is corralling all this valuable input along with the rest of experience data across your enterprise so you can get the complete customer story, and seize new opportunities for optimizing ROI.

In an earlier post by Peeter Kivestu, Searching for ROI in the Transportation User Experience, He outlined investments made by transit systems in large metropolitan cities including Chicago, Detroit and Boston to increase visibility of transportation and travel information for improving user satisfaction. Specifically, He cited the use of Dynamic Message Signs along freeways and the proliferation of smart phones/devices for their capacity to deliver user experience when and where it’s needed, quickly and conveniently.

Do these investments pay off? Does user experience really matter? If so, how do we know?

In transportation, as well as most consumer-centric services, it can’t be over emphasized: user experience (UX) is, first and foremost, a measurement issue. The user your customer is already having an experience. The only question is whether or not it’s the experience you intended for them. More directly, can you (really) see your business through your customers’ eyes?

Asking the hard questions

Achieving ROI requires asking tough user-centered questions that get to the very core of your enterprise. Customer experience is not about “soft”, discretionary items with uncertain rewards. It is about answering tough questions focused on user priorities. Asking the right questions, however, is not always easy. For example, while attending a recent conference for a leading analyst research firm, the president of a big-box retailer commented, “…with our customer satisfaction survey scores trending upward, even while same-store sales are flat or even down, we needed to ask ‘what was wrong with the experience?’”

The president then traveled across the country, and for several weeks visited stores incognito, walking the store aisles and observing activity from their parking lots. In the end he noticed that, while the stores attracted many customers, too many were leaving empty handed. Ultimately, the retailer’s solution centered on store format, both physical layout and distribution of employees.

And so the ROI journey began by asking a compelling question that relied on frontline data. Asking the right questions is crucial. And equally key is making certain that the information you collect is actionable and sourced from as close to the customer as possible.

Consider also a major electronics manufacturer who wanted to improve performance of its equipment post-consumer purchase. Achieving longevity was critical to its customer experience, but they lacked data to relate customer experience with manufacturing. To answer this question, they needed to connect details of raw materials with each step of assembly and then with field survivability. This is end-to-end user centered measurement, and its manufacturing data capture needed to be rethought to make it possible.

Lessons learned exceeded expectations in field results, and beyond. It survived a “black swan” event, saving millions on recalls when an inferior batch of raw materials required a quick assessment of how far into the supply chain the problem had progressed. It discovered serendipitously that changing a standard supplier specification yielded a substantial competitive advantage in survivability.

Turning customer experience measures into ROI

While retailing and manufacturing may seem far removed from transportation, the end-to-end data implications are similar. Their retailer has a lot of data, but had no way of knowing people were walking out of stores empty handed. Collecting sufficient data allowed them to ask the right, experience-centered questions. On the other hand, their manufacturer was rich in data, raw materials, manufacturing steps, and field reliability, but the data resided in separate silos. Siloed data is limited to specific analytics on data residing within a single silo, while real value comes from data integration; from tying the user experience to specific aspects of the business.

Regardless of industry, achieving ROI requires asking the right questions, tuning in to all sources of customer feedback, and bringing all the data together in one place to turn those new business insights into action. The more data you have, and the more organized it is collected and analyzed, the greater the chance of exposing opportunities to improve customer experience and turning user experience into ROI.

Source: Forbes Teradata