As market conditions show little sign of improving anytime soon, it's an excellent opportunity for your organization to sharpen its approach. While full redesigns, re-platforming efforts, and other big-ticket items may be paused or delayed in an uncertain economic climate, that doesn’t have to mean the ongoing improvements you’d like to make to your digital experience should grind to a halt.
Naturally, tough economic times require tough decisions. You're undoubtedly looking to maximize your project ROI and use your budget wisely. You might be wondering, what are some relatively low-effort, high-impact opportunities to enhance your user experience and keep your customers coming back for more?
So glad you asked.
There are a few paths to consider that place your customer's needs first and can generate substantial ROI. Re-affirming user centricity as a primary priority is the best place to start. By focusing on what your customers are trying to accomplish, you can fine-tune user experiences that facilitate those activities and cater to their needs.
We’re excited to share some areas where you can make the most of incremental investments in your digital experience and identify when it might be time to invest in that large-scale effort you’re considering, even in challenging times.
Harnessing the Value of Continuous Improvement
There are countless ways to improve your site and make it easier for your customers to do business with you. Whatever industry you're in - healthcare, retail, financial services, or countless others - anytime you have a customer-facing site or portal, you have an opportunity to make the experience better, faster, and easier for your clients. Some of them are relatively easy to implement quickly and realize ROI. Let's look at a few of our favorites:
Your site navigation represents all the different ways a user might browse your site to find information. This includes your global navigation patterns, your presentation of related content or products, and wayfinding aids like breadcrumbs to show users where they are on the site.
Revisiting your navigation is not a heavy lift to implement, but it makes a massive difference in site accessibility and customer experience. One of the first ways a customer engages with your company's assets is through a desktop or mobile site. Users form an opinion about your site in about 50 milliseconds, determining if they'll scroll further or close out. Your site navigation plays a huge role in deciding if they can find what they want in those mere milliseconds. Make sure you make it easy for your users to explore.
Fine-tuning interactions for touch devices, various browsers, and screen resolutions can also make a big impact – and while you’re at it, be sure you’re hitting the mark on accessibility.
Similar to your site navigation, your site taxonomy is crucial in determining how easily a user can find what they need – and their desire to continue using your site or product. Don’t forget, your taxonomy also influences your search engine rankings.
Review your taxonomy to ensure the content you're showing truly reflects what's on the page and is consistent from page to page. Perhaps more importantly, use language that resonates with your users. Customers might use terms differently than your internal teams do – so keep things simple and don't overuse ‘insider’ language. What matters most is that your user can accomplish the task they intended on your site. This issue is especially prevalent in healthcare and other industries with lots of jargon, where terminology can confuse those not interacting in the industry daily. Understanding what search terms drive traffic to your site can be a great sanity check on whether the labels you’re using are effective for your target audience.
Where higher time-on-site was once considered a positive analytics metric, it's not always the case. Sometimes it indicates that your users can't easily find the information they need or complete their desired tasks. By improving your site search, you can reduce the time a user spends on your site and improve their overall satisfaction with the experience.
How easily searchable is your site? How helpful and accurate are the results that return? Optimizing your site search may be an opportunity to dramatically improve the user experience – especially for sites with a high volume of content, or where personalization is challenging. Many users may treat a search bar as the primary way to navigate your site and, for users who do prefer to navigate independently, it’s often the last opportunity to find what they need before they bounce.
Dabbling in Personalization
Personalization is a notoriously weighty topic in any digital endeavor. One of the biggest mistakes we see organizations make is thinking that personalization is all or nothing. Not true! While the goal for some companies is to treat each customer uniquely, a large swath of organizations would benefit from incremental personalization.
Instead of focusing on achieving one-to-one personalization, perhaps consider one-to-many personalization. Identify a small number of key groups who might have similar behavior and customize to those groups. Then, taking it a step further, you could refine those groups into smaller personas and implement a one-to-few level of personalization.
Any progress you make towards personalization can improve your customer's experience – and there are a lot of great tools to help drive personalization and make it less daunting to implement in simple, strategic ways. Investigating what your existing platform or CMS offers out of the box is a great place to start. And, of course, remember the mantra of all good personalization efforts: “Don’t be creepy!”
Diving into a Replatform
I know, I know. When you think "quick wins," a replatform effort probably doesn't jump to mind. Still, the truth is there are circumstances when it's just time to do it. An outdated experience can overshadow any incremental benefit you might make since often this can lead adding technical debt with each iteration. Two key situations come to mind where it might be worth investing in a new platform now:
As you're thinking about your strategy for 2023 in the face of a tough operating environment, we recommend looking for ways to make it easier for customers to do business with you. Digital and user experience enhancements top the list - there's a strong case to quickly show ROI and remove friction for customers to engage with your business. By optimizing your website, personalizing your customer's experience, and determining whether the time is right for replatforming, you will be in better shape for the coming year – helping you to weather any economic storms as a more resilient, efficient company.