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Even as software developers are still figuring out how to work with user experience experts, along comes another "new" idea -- customer experience, or CX software. Isn't that user experience? It's not, apparently. To find out what's really going on in the UX/UI/CX world, SearchSoftwareQuality editor Valerie Silverthorne reached out to Decibel Digital's creative director Richard Trigg for help. Decibel Digital is a U.K.-based consulting firm that specializes in CX.
There's UX, UI and now CX. Could you explain how the customer experience role works when it comes to software development?
Richard Trigg: Our agency's motto and frequently used hashtag is #experienceiseverything, which serves to emphasize the importance of customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) as key factors to digital solutions -- as it is with most other walks of life.
Customers not only tailor products, but the success or failure rate of these products. Therefore, customer experience (CX) has to be one of the strongest considerations for software development firms when strategizing their approach to a new product or iterations to existing products. Software products have to connect with customers and be made for ease of access, usability and interaction. In addition, the customer experience as a whole has to be tackled. It is not enough to just consider the UX of a product, as this only satisfies the needs of customers throughout its usage. In the case of development, CX software therefore dwarfs UX as critical outcomes need to be considered beyond the usage of a software product. CX allows you to receive invaluable feedback on a product's usability. Not just this, but you will also learn how customers will be managed and served going forward.
Organizations have a core responsibility to manage the customer journey and customer experience effectively. Much of this can be achieved by using products -- like customer relationship management (CRM) systems -- which serve to manage customer data effectively.
If you're a software developer, what are the three UX things you must always keep in mind -- even if you don't have a UX person on the team?
Trigg: The three considerations are:
- Develop for the user. Developers need to sit outside the box and put themselves in the user's shoes each and every time they approach a project. They should ask themselves questions, such as how would they expect software to best serve their own needs?
- Use statistics, not bare assumptions. Very rarely can outcomes be a success based upon loose theories which aren't substantiated. Developers' ideas and hypotheses need to be substantiated by statistics and analytics on product usability to help the case for any suggested implementations.
- Don't work in a silo. The input of the wider team needs to be valued and considered at all times. It doesn't matter whether a software developer is working in-house or client-side; the flow of communication is imperative to influencing successful outcomes. Developers should be liaising with project stakeholders and marketers. If there is no expert UX, and this proves to be a sticking point, our advice would be to seek a consultant.
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