Numbers, feedback, trends and other statistics coming from several areas which lie within and outside an organisation are factored so deeply in User Experience (UX) that they make their gathering, evaluation and the setting of action points an intricate science in and of itself. Indeed, the depth that is involved in the field of User Experience and its growing prevalence that spans through a wide range of industries can make it a daunting task to even decide which statistics are worth gathering and analyzing let alone how to analyse them and decide on what corrective measures to take based on their analysis.
The difficulty lies not only in the ability to cull the important statistics from the more superfluous ones but also on deciding how much is necessary. This is the headache that User Experience experts, and those in other related fields, must contend with on a regular basis. And to make it even worse, there are no set of rules that specifically state which statistics you need to pay attention to. We can depend upon nothing but the learned experience and wisdom of User Experience professionals who have seen enough success and failure in their careers to know what they are talking about.
What pearls of wisdom have these sages to impart, then? What statistics have they time and again seen to matter the most?
Frequently, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) seems to be one of the biggest source of statistics that contains useful values which are closely related to User Experience. More specifically, CRM is composed of at least three statistics – all of which are important for User Experience. This makes Customer Relationship Management the primary factor to watch. The three factors that comprise CRM are the:
- 1. Rate of Questions Asked
- 2. Rate of Problems Reported
- 3. Overall Resolution of the Above Two
Outside of the Customer Relationship Management set, there are three more key User Experience statistics to consider:
- 4. Net Gain of Customers
- 5. Churn Rate
- 6. Overhead
Let us discuss each in more detail:
1. Rate of questions asked
Your service may be failing in usability if many confused customers seem to be contact you to request clarification of aspects you thought were obvious during the design phase. This means that the user experience of the product or service may need to be refined so as to reduce its complexity. At times, it is the perceived complexity that needs to be tackled, that is, the complexity as seen by users before actually experiencing the product. This will involve a revision of the way that product is presented. At the very least, instructions may need to be re-evaluated or implementation of a self-service solution for users, should be assessed.
2. Rate of complaints
No process is infallible nor perfect, and as such, a defective product or a glitch in a service is expected. The more rare this is, the better. If this is becoming a frequent concern, the factor to watch out for is how often the same problems are being reported. This is an issue to then pass on to User Experience design and Marketing teams.
3. Rate of resolution
It is important that problems are resolved and questions are answered. However, if the problems and questions have yet to be addressed on a User Experience design level after observation, then resolutions are not always yet possible. As previously noted, the methodologies behind Customer Relationship Management do bear some factors that consider user experience as well. For instance, long hold times, complicated phone calls, or slow and inefficient help desk systems, cause negative effects on overall user experience.
4. Net gain of customers
If the rate of increase of consumer base declines over time, then there is likely a fault in the user experience in one of two ways. First, the fading of novelty begins to reveal some faults in the product or service, which becomes more visible. After the initial “wow” factor of the product is gone, its flaws become far more visible. It is inevitable, but a solid user experience can overcome these.
The other problem with user experience that may have this symptom involves a competing service or product that has a better UX design. This can unfortunately, call the attention of the customer base away from you. So as to determine which of these is the case, first it is best to look at the CRM set of factors. If these don’t suggest it is a flaw in the experience, then it is best to take a look at the gains of competitors and what they do differently. This can be a useful starting point for more in-depth analysis.
5. Churn Rate
A prevalent software-as-a-service term, churn rate involves the loss of existing customer base over time. Like reduced gain of new customers, it is likely a symptom of one of the two previously mentioned factors. In order to alleviate churn, a similar strategy should be employed to find the root of the problem.
Overhead occurs in any business and is composed of all the expenses incurred in rendering the service or product. This includes everything from facilities, resources, manufacturing/maintenance, employee wages and so on. If an overhead seems to be far heavier than it should be, there is likely to be something that is aimed at facilitating user experience that is causing it. This requires re-assessment of this overhead so as to check whether it really contributes to improving UX or, if it is actually contributing in a proportional ratio to its cost. Very often you will find that it is the proverbial “biting off more than one can chew”, and being overly ambitious in how a user experience is working.
To determine where fat may be trimmed, listen to users and find out what features or functionality they find unnecessary on average. Eliminating these features may lose a small percentage of customers that appreciate them. It will, however, allow you to focus and invest more in those factors that are really contributing in improving user experience. Be sure to factor it in before measuring customer gain or your industry’s equivalent of churn rates, as it will offset the parameters of this to some level.
While further statistics do bear some importance in times of less turmoil, these factors directly bear on the status of an existing user experience. The above statistics have proven time and again, backed by the teachings of many seasoned UX professionals, to be the most important to watch. Keeping a sharp eye on these factors will surely help maintain a positive user experience, if some discretion is included.