design
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User experience can become your best competitive advantage

2021-09-06
Eeppi Nieminen

Whether it's a consumer service or work software, modern users expect robust user experiences. Similarly, lackluster UX might seriously hurt your business. Investing in it is worth it and is likely to be less daunting than expected.

Imagine this: you're sitting in your company’s quarterly performance review and your management is sharing some bad news. The company has been unable to grow its revenue, customer satisfaction is down and complaints pile up about bad user experiences. The competitors are so far ahead they seem to be disappearing into the horizon, taking your former customers with them.

This could be a story from any industry that has been transformed by digitalisation during the past decade. Software is eating the world for breakfast and that means nearly all companies are digital companies, whether they want it or not. Moreover, almost every business now needs to compete not only within their own country, but in the global digital economy. This is because users are not comparing the level of your digital user experience to their local alternatives, but rather to the ones that the tech giants provide them with on a daily basis. Think Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Users are not comparing the level of your digital user experience to their local alternatives, but rather to the ones that the tech giants provide them with on a daily basis.

Simply put, if you're not investing in your digital user experience and aiming for this high benchmark, you're leaving your company with a disadvantage it may not recover from.

The fortunate thing in all this is that digital user experiences and software are scalable, so the playing field is more even than in the past when large companies could build competitive moats due to their sheer size. Today, building great user experiences is accessible for most companies regardless of size, even if it remains true that the tech giants operate on a way larger R&D budget.

Examples from the field

At Taiste, we’ve seen many of our clients starting to adopt the mindset that digital user experiences are increasingly a big part of the competitive advantage. This seems to be true even for companies that haven't traditionally been considered tech or digital companies.

For example, Hesburger is making significant investments in their internal ERP-software. The goal is to provide an internal user experience that is more user-friendly and thus results in greater efficiency on all levels.

In the energy sector, Helen is investing into world-class design on their website’s product and campaign pages and in their customer platform as well.

A common misconception about UX is that its main goal is to make things look good. In reality, the reason quality UX is a smart investment is that it increases efficiency and satisfaction.

We’re also seeing that companies with high-end hardware have also turned their eyes on offering the best possible UX – one such partnership in our roster is the work we're doing with dilution refridgerator manufacturer Bluefors.

Reasons to invest in user experience design

A common misconception about UX is that its main goal is to make things look good. In reality, the reason quality UX is a smart investment is that it increases efficiency and satisfaction. Thus, the effects can be seen in your analytics fairly quickly.

The following examples further illustrate this idea.

Great user experience drives retention

One of my favourite examples of why user experience matters comes from the banking sector. These days, it’s not uncommon to hear that someone is not going to even think about switching their bank because they appreciate the user experience of their current one so much. It’s also just as common to hear that someone dislikes a bank’s user experience to such extent that  they've decided to take their money somewhere else. With face to face situations becoming even rarer, the digital user experience is how you most regularly interact with your customers.

Deliver great UX internally = more employee satisfaction & efficiency

The era of cumbersome business software is coming to an end. Especially in the tech industry, we see people gravitating towards jobs that offer the best tools. There is little doubt that this trend will carry over to other industries over time. The reason is relatable: frustration over bad UX is multiplied if it happens with a software you need to use on a daily basis.

It’s not just a matter of work satisfaction either. Better user experiences mean that less time is spent on figuring out slow or confusing systems, which translates to more efficient workflow – and significant savings.

Consistent brand experience

Having the power of a dedicated UX team also makes sure that your brand experience is consistent across all platforms.

We have previously written about design systems, custom-made libraries of reusable design elements that work especially well if your service is spread across several channels. However, even if this is not the case, the same philosophy can still be applied. Thinking in templates has the benefit of being easily scalable, resulting in world-class brand feel with reasonable costs.

UX is vital both today and tomorrow

According to the Design Management Institute, design-led companies outperform the S&P index by 228%.

These design-led companies include: Apple, Coca Cola, Ford, Herman-Miller, IBM, Intuit, Newell-Rubbermaid, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Starwood, Steelcase, Target, Walt Disney and Whirlpool.

To recap, some reasons you should follow in their footsteps include:

  • UX drives retention with fast results
  • Delivering great user experiences increases efficiency, employee satisfaction and offer a consistent brand experience
  • Companies investing in user experience design become market leaders

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post. If you did, consider following us on social media. Also, don't hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to discuss how to get started in building competitive advantage with better user experiences.

Eeppi Nieminen
About the author
Eeppi Nieminen

Having run his own company for the past 4 years, Eeppi is a business development professional and startup entrepreneur, experienced in business design, project & product management. In his free time, Eeppi enjoys yoga, meditation, journaling, reading, hiking and airsoft.

About the author
Eeppi Nieminen

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