When it comes to User Experience (UX), a strong, relationship-based approach with users is the most powerful tool in creating your best possible product. Your day-to-day hinges on identifying challenges users are facing and pivoting those issues into opportunities to grow your business.
UX and product functions aren’t quite the same as maker roles like developers or designers. Instead, you’re charting a path for others to work on – and that path is highly dependent on the help of others both internally and externally. Your internal teams can help make your improvement ideas a reality, but those ideas should be driven and determined by direct feedback from your users.
The power of a relationship-based approach can be felt long after the initial interactions. When your customers feel heard and understood and see solutions to challenges they faced implemented in your product, you build a level of trust that keeps the door open to more feedback. This feedback loop gives endless opportunities to improve your product in a way that centers your customer concerns.
These are the most important steps of using strong relationships to build a better UX.
Understand Pain Points. Thoughtful UX is all about empathy for your end user and being able to put yourself in their shoes to create the best possible product. Knowing the details of why your customer is using your product and the goals they hope to achieve are key in strengthening that relationship and driving improvements. Instead of going into generic satisfaction surveys or interviews, prepare for your time with your customer by thinking about things like the context and environment they use your product in, the results they’d like to see, and anything that could possibly hold them back from their idea of success.
Solve Issues Customers are Facing. Once you have a better understanding of your customer and their goals, you can start to use results from surveys or interviews to drive change behavior. In UX there are an infinite number of improvement opportunities, but understanding specifically what matters to your customers will allow you to focus on the most important ones. Rather than focusing only on the delivery of new features as quickly as possible, your intent should be to couple improvements with intentional discovery of desired outcomes. This includes the legwork of knowing the problems your users are facing, validating potential improvements, setting attainable goals, and weaving each element into your delivery.
Show Gratitude Throughout the Process. The key to thoughtful UX that many companies miss is the opportunity to show gratitude to the customers who help you to come up with ideas and identify problems. Without customer feedback, your UX team would be wandering blindly into improvements that might not be necessary while missing the pain points that actually matter to your users. Sending a quick thank you or coordinating a gesture of gratitude for taking the time to improve your product is an opportunity to differentiate your team from others they may be speaking to in a powerful way. Great applications and products have the idea of gratitude and appreciation for their users built into their core – and their UX team is an opportunity to show gratitude and a willingness to listen.
Through a relationship-based approach, a genuine desire to understand your customer, and a deep sense of gratitude for their insights, improving your UX becomes a seamless process. In a function so heavily dependent on feedback, letting customers know you care about their struggles and are grateful for their thoughts helps to keep them engaged and more likely to share their insights. As a result, your product will continue to get better and meet the needs of more customers.