Is UX more important than the price in 2021?
A few years ago researchers and trend watchers worldwide predicted that in 2020 User Experience would become more important than the cost of products.
Now, as 2021 gets going, it’s about time to say “check”. Has UX become more significant than the price when faced with the unexpected events of 2020? Will customers pay more for a better experience in the midst of the global economic crisis?
What is UX?
User’s perceptions and responses that result from the use and/or anticipated use of a system, product or service.Formal definition of User Experience provided by ISO 9241-210
It also provides main factors that influence the user experience. Some of them are directly connected to the product or service (e.g. functionality, system performance or brand image), while others are more connected to the user (e.g. prior experiences, skills or even personality). And the last very important fact to take into consideration here is the context of use. A well prepared IT strategy has to cover all this aspects.
When working on the User Experience aspect of the product or service it is not enough to consider only the product itself. What we also need to do is to build a persona to focus on the user in the broader perspective including the context in which he/she lives in and uses the product. This allows us to provide better service and at the same time increase the revenue.
Why users pay more for a better UX?
To answer this question, let’s look at the PWC report, “Experience is everything: Here’s how to get it right” (2018). According to it:
- 73% of all people point to customer experience as an essential factor in their purchasing decisions.
- At the same time, respondents indicated that they could pay more for a good Customer Experience: from 7% more for car insurance or a winter coat to 16% more for a coffee.
- The same PWC report explains what UX means for people. The most critical factors are efficiency, convenience and friendly service.
- Almost 20% of participants also mentioned as discouraging the inconsistent store experience or the fact that technology doesn’t help guide purchases.
Are the same factors relevant in 2021?
Efficiency & convenience
Users have lost the possibility of satisfying their needs traditionally (e.g. eating in restaurants or buying in brick and mortar stores). Given the need to look for new solutions (like delivering food or measuring the foot to fit shoes online), the possibility of implementing it the quick and easy way will be crucial in building brand loyalty. Simultaneously, new ways of dealing with old matters will stay with us for longer, especially if they are convenient and help develop new contact channels with the user.
Empathy & friendliness
Confronted with interpersonal relations problems, the way we contact our clients becomes even more critical. Especially when they are in their day-to-day life confronted with the need of isolation, increasing loneliness and separation from their loved ones. The conviction that their needs are heard and taken care of by a friendly and trustworthy person on the other end will be of great importance in building brand attachment.
At the same time, the feeling of automaticity in communication will act as a disincentive. All positive experiences will be valuable when faced with the progressive automation of contact (e.g. chatbots). Companies already investing in personalised UX, skilfully designed conversational interfaces in this area will gain an advantage.
Cross channel experience
We do not contact in one touchpoint anymore. Instead, we use different channels to a greater extent. This trend, existing earlier, accelerated in 2020, including areas so far reluctant to change. Technology support is essential, regardless of service type, even the one associated quite clearly with face-to-face contact (e.g. visits to a doctor and acceleration of telemedicine development). Users expect a consistent image in each channel that builds trust in the brand.
Security has become one of the most popular topics of 2020, from physical security in physical services (e.g. contactless deliveries) to digital security. It is also the aspect of the greatest importance in case of performing data sensitive activities online – e.g. official matters like voting, medical advice or remote learning. A sense of security, open brand communication and an ethical approach to data processing are the issues that users are increasingly aware of.
Sustainability and ethics
Although the topic was popular earlier, and environmental care and ethical behaviour became an increasingly frequent factor in choosing a service in developed societies, COVID-19 made us aware of being responsible for each other. Companies that focus on these issues will gain an additional advantage. In this respect, there is growing support for the local community, issues related to ecology and caring for the natural environment, and ethical aspects of running a business (e.g. treatment of employees during a crisis).
Why is UX worth investing in now?
As the global situation shows, UX becomes even more significant than the price now, and nothing seems to change that trend. Investing in well-designed User and Customer Experience is substantial as it:
- Ensures loyalty – having loyal customers during the pandemic proved to be a great value, and people willingly turned to what they knew and appreciated in the world of unknowns.
- Means easier acquisition of customers who have used the service more traditionally so far. The more comfortable and more human contact we provide, the easier it will be for people who were previously digitally excluded.
- Based on research, it allows us to quickly adapt to the changing world – if we observe our clients and their needs and continuously examine their satisfaction, we know them better and adapt better to implementing changes.
- May be more important than the price in an uncertain world – a trust created by positive experiences is worth the higher price.
Build customer trust with best-fitted UX
UX affects many areas, especially services. As a multi-dimensional solution, positive customer experience can be built both by efficient service, an employee’s smile, a consistent mobile application, and the fact that I feel safe or use environmentally-friendly services. A user may be more discouraged to use the service by the lack of a secure solution or the uncertainty whether the service will be successful than by the high price.
2020 has shown us that the world and circumstances are surprisingly changeable. Users’ needs and experience are not taken for granted and can be suddenly reevaluated. And this can be well done during special workshop with external specialists.
One thing has not changed – you must continuously get to know your customers’ needs and provide a good UX, which is now even more crucial than before.