Every day, we are inundated by messages, multiple channels and inputs, including as many as 5,000 marketing and advertising messages in one day. On average, people spend up to four hours each day on their smartphones. The average adult watches upwards of five hours of television a day.
Clutter, noise, and complexity now encompass everyone's journey every day. Which raises the question: How can something stand out among the competition and commotion? The answer is to create a simple, useful, and streamlined Ideal User // Customer Experience.
“A general 'law of least effort' applies to cognitive as well as physical exertion. The law asserts that if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action. In the economy of action, effort is a cost, and the acquisition of skill is driven by the balance of benefits and costs. Laziness is built deep into our nature.”
― Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking, Fast and Slow”
As everyday life becomes ever more complex, it is increasingly important to create an Ideal User // Customer Experience by focusing on personalization, usefulness, streamlining, and simplicity. By focusing on the four previously mentioned pillars, Ideal User // Customer Experiences ultimately decrease user and customer frustration and increase satisfaction. In turn, satisfied users become loyal users, and loyal users provide higher long-term value for businesses. The Global Brand Simplicity Index (2017) and Gartner indicate that:
64% of people are willing to pay more for an Ideal User // Customer Experience.
61% of people are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides an Ideal User // Customer Experience.
Organizations that have fully invested in personalization will outsell companies that have not by 20%
80% of marketers say that a personalized experience is more effective at retaining and engaging with Users // Customers.
A personalized experience is one that is custom tailored to a specific user // customer; an experience that increases the value, connection, and contextual relevancy. Personalization is about adapting to and predicting the needs, wants, and desires of the user // customer, based on their interests and preferences to deliver a compelling, connected experience.
Personalization helps establish connections, enhances engagement, and provides contextual relevancy.
A useful experience is one that can be leveraged for a practical purpose, or that has several applications for the user // customer. The usefulness of the experience is what gives people a reason to engage – if the product, service, business, or offering isn’t useful, people won’t find value in it.
the user // customer experience is the next competitive battleground.
A streamlined experience is one in which an organization or system is made more efficient and effective through faster or simpler methods. Streamlining is about distilling the most important aspects of the experience in order to better meet or exceed customers’ needs or wants, making the experience more compelling, useful, and relevant.
confusion and Clutter are attributes of failure, not attributes of success.
A simple experience is one that is easily understood or performed; presenting no difficulty. Simple experiences drive loyalty by enabling pleasant, easy, and repeat interactions, empowering people through clarity, removing pain points and by reducing confusion. When confusion is reduced, consumer defections decrease.
Constructing and growing the ideal user // customer experience
There are five key steps to making an experience successful:
Get people in the Experience
Get your audience aware, interested, and into your experience. Give people good reason to seek out, engage, and use your experience instead of the competition's. Leverage incentives, memberships, communities, promotions, trials, and user referrals (among other tactics) to entice your user base to get started in the experience. Understanding your customers’ wants, needs, and desires will help deliver an experience above and beyond sheer usefulness.
Grow and Extend the experience
Give people every reason to stay. Once people are involved with your business, product, or service, grow the experience in ways that will directly benefit your users. Leverage personalization to enhance and connect with people. Strategically expand services and offerings to help create a stronger connection. Make the experience you offer something your users have good reason to come back to — and, more importantly — that they will want to come back to.
help people establish roots
Construct an Ideal User // Customer Experience so compelling that people won’t want it to end. Design a customer-centric experience that fosters loyalty; the best customer experience will beat out the competition. (As noted above, while price can be a competitive differentiator, many users // customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.) Users // Customers are quick to switch to a competitor if they feel dissatisfied or if their experience isn't personalized; the more invested people are in your experience, the more they will come to rely on it, and the less dissatisfaction they will feel.
Streamline and Simplify — Design for Habit
Reduce Friction: Consider friction areas as small pain points or speed bumps that might cause user frustration and might detract from the overall experience.
Remove Hurdles: Consider hurdles to be medium-sized obstacles that make it hard for the user to complete or re-start their journey.
Eliminate Roadblocks: Consider roadblocks to be large obstacles that completely inhibit people from starting, continuing, or engaging in the experience.
Practice Continuous Optimization
Learn, adapt, and optimize as you go. As both your experience and user base grow, it's important to monitor audience needs and expectations and any external competition. Leverage qualitative and quantitative consumer research and strategic data to identify what's working, what isn't working, what could be better, and what facets of the experience could be streamlined. It's important to acknowledge that continuous optimization can also include removing under-performing aspects.
In Summary: straight to the point
The more useful your experience is directly influences the value that users // customers will find in it. The more simple your experience is directly influences the amount of frustration your users // customers will find with it. The more streamlined your experience is directly influences the ease of use your users // customers will find. The more personal your experience is directly influences how users // customers will connect with it.
Focus on creating an Ideal User // Customer Experience that is Personalized, Simple, Streamlined, and Useful.
Get People in the Experience: Get your audience aware of, interested in, and into your experience.
Grow and Extend the Experience: Give people every reason to stay.
Help People Establish Roots: Make the experience so compelling that it's hard for people to leave.
Streamline and Simplify — Design for Habit: Eliminate roadblocks, remove hurdles, and reduce friction.
Practice Continuous Optimization: Learn, adapt, and optimize as you go.
"What makes people passionate – pure and simple – is great experiences. If they have a great experience with your product and your service, they’re going to be passionate about your brand, they’re going to be committed to it. That’s how you build commitment."
– Jesse James Garrett