Talking the Talk: 3 Strategies for Researchers to Communicate the Business Impact of UX

Posted by AnswerLab Research on Feb 10, 2020

Winning companies focus on creating great customer experiences at every touchpoint. As UX professionals, we’re immersed in customers’ goals, pain points, needs, and desires day in and day out. But we aren’t the only ones in our organizations who impact the overall customer experience. There are many other stakeholders involved in the chain of CX who also have goals for their teams, and while they might talk about those goals differently from how we do, usually they ladder up to the same overall business objectives. Using empathy, analysis, and active listening skills can help us figure out those stakeholders’ needs, brainstorm how to help achieve their goals, and communicate the impact of our work on theirs. 

As UX professionals, we are often asked, “How is this impacting the business?” by teams across the organization, and time and time again, we have to make the case for user experience as a critical step towards achieving business goals. To successfully deliver a standout customer experience, you need to align your organization around users’ goals, needs, and expectations, which means learning how to communicate insights and effectively answering this evergreen question of business impact. It can be challenging to get executives and teams throughout your company on board at every touchpoint, but there are small steps you can take to communicate the ROI of UX and set your company on the right path. Sometimes these methods can even lead to the unexpected but beneficial byproduct of helping you align on not only your users’ goals, but also those of your colleagues and the business at large.  

As we kick off a new year (and a new decade), it can be helpful to take a moment to pause, refocus your efforts, and reflect on your company’s current state of CX. Are you struggling to communicate business impact and share UX insights? Are some strategies you tried recently not working as you’d hoped? Need to try something new to get better buy-in?

By shifting your perspective and using some new tactics, you can help motivate your organization to elevate customer experience across teams and products.

Determine your organization’s values and tie customer experience to them

What does your organization most value? Is it development, brand, or sales? Something else? How are performance and success measured under each of these value systems? New features launched? Brand opinion? Revenue generated and units sold?

Once you understand what the organization values most highly, you can learn to talk about the customer in terms that tie your CX focus to those values and goals. Meeting users’ needs often leads to desired business results related to these other values. But it can be tricky to communicate that connection successfully.

For example, you might argue that meeting user needs and creating a winning user experience leads to sustained revenue growth and increased brand loyalty. They’re more linked than you might think! Avoid using UX jargon like “personas” or “user journeys,” and instead talk to the team about business goals like building a competitive advantage or driving repeat business. Speaking the language of the company will make people more likely to listen and heed your advice. 

Focus on metrics and business impact

Most organizations struggle with how to measure customer experience and any improvements to it. But even proxy metrics can help drum up support for a customer focus. Consider trying to determine how well the company’s products, marketing, and services align with customers’ goals and needs. In other words, how good is the customer experience? Then, as you make changes to your user experience, how do business metrics respond? While it can be difficult to tie CX directly to revenue, it’s possible to see positive trends in customer product reviews or feedback, which can increase their likelihood of purchasing products or engaging with the brand. These metrics and trends can help you communicate the value and importance of UX and UX research to your stakeholders.

Involve executives for a top-down approach

Finding impactful ways to engage executives in UX is something we can all do more of. Increase awareness of the user by getting executives involved in your research and work. Have them actually interact with customers, or share video clips of user research through various channels to showcase your findings. Often, witnessing users’ frustrations or delight firsthand can have a big impact on a team’s mindset towards CX and encourage them to get excited about improving it. Emotional connections are your ally to show how UX affects a customer’s mentality and brand opinion. There are many creative ways to tie CX into the conversation. Figure out what’s most impactful through trial and error.

Speaking the language of the business is a critical step in the process of elevating CX in your organization. Help the executive team understand how great customer experience will drive revenue, help sell more units, and drive loyalty by appealing to the company’s values as we mentioned above. By answering questions about business impact successfully, you’ll secure executive buy-in, which can help you overcome competing priorities, misaligned teams, and organizational red tape to bolster CX’s role in the development process. C-level support puts momentum behind CX and UX teams, giving us license to evangelize this work to other business functions and teams.

Written by

AnswerLab Research

The AnswerLab research team collaborates on articles to bring you the latest UX trends and best practices.

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