Practice You-X not UX

It feels like there is a shift happening in popular culture where we are moving from anonymity, numbers and percentages to a world about actual people and their experiences.  People’s stories are being told with more colour and texture.

And yet when we think about what we do as marketers and business people, there are still a lot of big data dashboards and numbers dominating commercial decision making, and not enough of these human stories. Real stories about what people want from your brand experience.

Don Norman, who coined the phrase ‘User Experience’ when he worked for Apple in the mid-90s, would always recommend watching people to understand how they are interacting with your brand and its experience. He talks a lot about the importance of understanding the emotional side of people … because emotion assigns value.

But how can you build stories about users? 

Most companies are acutely aware of the need to know and understand their customers, so they can keep them happy and build a brand experience they actually want. But how can you do that effectively when you refer to every single one of them as a user?

The human aspect of your customer is immediately removed.

Such an anonymous, impersonal term doesn’t help build customer-centricities. So let’s change the term UX to You-X.

How is ‘You-X’ more powerful than ‘UX’?

1. You will see your customers

Compiling customer stories brings your customers to life. It brings the human back into an organisation. It’s inconsistent to talk about your customers, research them and be passionate about discovery, and then call everybody who buys your product a user.

2. You will deeply understanding the different experiences people have with your brand

When you actually deep dive into different customer types, you observe different needs, attitudes and different pain points that you’re trying to solve. So, while you can group those people together as they have some mutual traits, to classify them all as one user group is fundamentally risky because it ignores all the nuances of a real person.

3. You will change your company culture

Company culture is key to driving the ‘You-X’ focus. There’s an interesting statistic that is true across most industries – ‘healthy companies outperform unhealthy ones by a factor of three,’ where health is defined as a common vision throughout the company, strong execution of the vision and commitment to innovation and creative thinking[1]

So, to be one of these healthy companies you really need to know your customers well. It makes the vision and its execution so much easier. The ‘YOU-X’ must start with the board but filter through the whole organisation.

There may be hundreds or thousands of people in the head offices of some companies who don’t have the opportunity to engage with customers. When you add that extra layer of calling the customer the user, the customer voice is quietened even further. So, you really have to get out amongst it and get a cross section of the company involved.

How do you make the shift from UX to You-X?

Make it part of every one’s KPI’s to meet with customers. You might first set a task of having to speak with two customers a month.  Many organisations outsource customer conversations but speaking to customers directly and hearing their ideas means there are immediate shifts in the way things are done in the business.  

More connection, greater clarity, faster solutions and ultimately a healthier business in a business practicing You-X not UX.

[1] ‘The human touch at the centre of customer experience excellence’ McKinsey & Company

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