By Noah Rue

Small business owners are used to having a laundry list of responsibilities constantly demanding their attention. Product development, quality assurance, accounting, inventory, shipping and handling, customer service, website security, even simply paying the bills so the lights stay on — there are countless demands constantly pulling small business owners in different directions.

However, one critical element that always seems to fall through the cracks far too easily is user experience. This is often because entrepreneurs underestimate the myriad benefits of providing a good user experience, as well as the profound costs of failing to do so.

Why User Experience Matters

User experience (UX) shouldn’t simply revolve around how your customers interact with your product once they have it in their hands. It should impact every moment that a customer interacts with your business, from research and development to customer service.

The concept of “putting the customer first” in every way possible is an excellent way to keep your company’s compass pointed towards what is genuinely worth your time. When thoroughly applied throughout your business operations, good UX can lead to both happier customers and greater profitability.

Where UX Should Factor Into Your Business Plans

When a UX focus is applied across all of your business operations, it can reduce development time, increase selling efficiency, and reduced customer support costs. Here are a few of the top spots where UX should be front and center in your business plans:

Developing a Product

From the moment you begin thinking of creating a new product or offering a new service, you should have the end user’s experience in mind. Obviously, you can’t test something that doesn’t exist yet. However, it can be very beneficial to go about developing a new product or service through a human-centered design process. This includes carefully stripping out your own assumptions and then informing your design by conducting user experience research in order to understand what the customer wants and needs.

Selling a Product

Of course, once you have a product that is user-friendly, that doesn’t mean it will automatically find its way into your users’ hands. Hence, you should maintain a UX-centered mindset as you go about marketing and selling your product as well.

If you’re marketing online, focus on providing quality custom content across all of your website and social channels. If you conduct a giveaway on your social media profiles, make sure the item being given away is genuinely useful for the person receiving it.

If you’re working on your website, make sure to develop helpful, unique, informative content. As much as 90% of consumers reported that they found custom content useful. In addition, make sure that your website is user-centric in every way possible, from the home page to easy navigation and a simple check-out process.

Customer Service

Finally, remember that once a customer has completed a sale, their UX experience hasn’t ended yet. You want to make sure that you follow up with quality customer service. Make sure that you’re available to answer questions, address complaints, and generally that the customer is heard in every way possible.

One of the keys to providing a good customer service experience is to make sure that your customer service representatives themselves are also being empowered, heard, and motivated on a regular basis.

Strategizing With UX in Mind

Whether you’re creating a new product, setting up a killer website, or following up with stellar customer service, it’s always important to keep the customer in mind. Simply put, offering a product or service that doesn’t deeply and genuinely resonate with your customers is a surefire way to fail.

Instead, make sure to tie UX into the very root of your company’s vision and strategy. Make sure that you’re running everything through the filter, “what will the customer think of this?” If you can provide a quality user experience throughout all your business operations, you’ll find yourself cultivating a fiercely loyal customer base before you know it.

Noah Rue is a journalist and a digital nomad, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t frantically updating his news feeds, Noah likes to shut off his devices, head to the beach and read detective novels from the 1930s.

User Experience stock photo by 13_Phunkod/Shutterstock