Home > User Experience > 7 Blind Spots That Sabotage the User Experience | by UXDA | Financial UX Design | May, 2021

7 Blind Spots That Sabotage the User Experience | by UXDA | Financial UX Design | May, 2021

7 Blind Spots That Sabotage the User Experience | by UXDA | Financial UX Design | May, 2021

How would you react if your company spent half a million and two years on developing a new app but after launching it, the customer satisfaction decreased? There are several non-obvious factors that can completely sabotage all of the huge investments and efforts of creating a delightful design. So, let’s find out why customers might not like an expensive new product.

Post by Alex Kreger, financial UX Strategist/Founder of the UXDA

There’s no doubt that great user experience (UX) is mandatory to retain a competitive edge in the digital world.

Despite that, the efforts to improve user experience do not always lead to success due to certain critical blindspots.

It happens that failure is pre-installed into the project, regardless of the budget size and the efforts of the team.

In fact, if implemented inaccurately, design can lead to losses caused by the so-called “experience gap”.

This was the case for a certain bank that invested nearly half a million dollars to improve its mobile banking app but it resulted in a decrease in overall customer satisfaction. The root cause of it was several internal experience gaps at different levels of the financial company that the team failed to spot and prevent. How to identify and avoid these blindspots in time to protect the success of expensive, large-scale digitization projects?

It would seem that everything is simple — to see a significant increase in profits it’s enough to provide the best experience. But in real practice, this is not that easy. 80% of CEOs believe they deliver a superior experience, while only 8% of customers agree with that, according to Bain & Company research.

The main reason for that can be explained through the “experience gap”. It is the negative difference between customers’ expectations and the experience they get from a digital service. If the experience is significantly worse than expected, it can have many unpleasant consequences, like decreased customer loyalty, tons of negative reviews, and even customers who decide to leave the brand.

In most cases, the real experience gap is not recognised.

The leaders and employees of the company often do not understand what and why to improve, even if they feel that something is wrong. If something is not consciously recognized, it is not possible to manage it.

Nevertheless, the bank spent three times as much time building the new application by themselves: 1 year and 8 months. This was a serious project not only in terms of time but also the budget invested. Judging by the scope of the project, the improvements made and the timeline, the overall costs could be estimated at around half a million.

However, the result did not live up to expectations at all. After the new application was released it decreased to 2.4 from the previous 3.5 and has kept dropping even a year after its first release as it did not improve, but significantly worsened the user experience.

How could this happen if the bank did everything to improve the user experience and the whole team worked hard for almost two years?

In this case, there was an “experience gap”. Despite that dozens of the bank’s top professionals have spent 20 months and half a million creating an improved product, it has failed to meet user expectations.

Though the real reason for customer dissatisfaction is the unconscious experience gap, often the companies tend to explain it by blaming external circumstances. Such as changes in the market, the activity of competitors, the emergence of innovations, changes in consumer patterns. Of course, there’s objective truth in that, but a company capable of effectively adapting uses these factors for its growth, not as a scapegoat.

But the most important way how the effectiveness of adaptation can be measured is by how well the company’s service meets or even exceeds the expectations of consumers. Companies that are unaware of the gap between their service and customer expectations are unable to adapt.

In some cases, the company’s actions even lead to broadening the experience gap to critical levels. This often leads to an alarming drop in demand for the company’s products and services.

If we go back to the example, it seemed that management was confident about the success of the significant improvements made, and devoted large funds and efforts to advertising. The ads promoting the brand new modern, innovative, and user-friendly mobile app caused overestimated expectations among consumers that significantly exceeded the actual quality of the service.

As a result, when the product was finally released, the customers were surprised to find out that their expectations are disappointed and that the new app is even worse than the old one. This led to a massive wave of negative reviews not only on the App Store and Google Play but also on social media. People were tweeting their struggles ironizing about the failed digitalization project of the bank.

The main difficulty in bridging the gap is that the higher the hierarchy level, the higher the unawareness of the experience gap. In fact, at the top of the hierarchy, the root cause of the gap is usually found. The lower in the hierarchy, the closer to the user and the more employees feel problems and gaps, but they often do not have the authority and ability to eliminate them, they are constrained by culture.

In this particular case, the support department received thousands of calls every day about the struggles caused by the product but due to fragmented business processes, they weren’t able to do anything about it.

Customer frustration grew even stronger. They faced issues that made it difficult to execute even the simplest everyday scenarios but the “support” they got from the bank employees was that they are not the only ones struggling and that currently, the bank is busy delivering new features, instead of fixing the current ones.

What makes things complicated is the fact that the internal processes behind the experience gap are caused by the same mechanisms that have facilitated company survival and growth in the past. The company becomes a prisoner of its past success. Just like the terrible fall of Nokia, the world’s biggest hardware-centered phone factory that was outcompeted in the software revolution led by Apple’s smartphones.

Since any organisation has inertia, these mechanisms are supported by inner beliefs and values and create resistance to adapt to the changing market and bridge the experience gap.

First of all, the gap should be addressed at the management level. Thus, the lower in the hierarchy, the farther from the leadership and the closer to clients, the more the gap is felt and recognized. Naturally, front-line workers will have the most data. They got it from the clients whose expectations are not being met.

In the modern world, digital channels have become the main “marketing” and PR of the brand.

A negative experience with a mobile application can sabotage all the efforts of brand promotion even if it has a hundred-year history of serving clients and an excellent service on other channels.

It’s simply because in the digital age, the mobile channel dominates and for some, it’s becoming the only way to interact with the brand. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of the ways to bridge these seven experience gaps that might arise when creating digital products.

Awareness alone makes a huge difference, but awareness combined with action leads to long-term success in becoming a greatly demanded and loved brand.

Originally published at https://www.theuxda.com.

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