Launch Scrubbed – Pre-empting the Problem

October 21st, 2016 by Kelly Staruck

facepalm

Many of you have heard about product launch disasters. New Coke. The Apple Newton. Heinz Purple Ketchup. At one time in some boardroom somewhere, these were all thought to be brilliant ideas. But in practice – flops. And no matter how hard the companies tried to control the launch, it quickly became clear that the brand and product perceptions were out of their hands. Pretty frightening, right?

 

So how to avoid that pitfall? One way is implementing user experience (UX) research before you get that far. UX is focused on understanding how your customer interacts with your brand, product or service. When we conduct UX research it is to help our clients make better decisions about not only the design but also customer satisfaction. Research is focused on user needs, usage, behaviors, attitudes and even emotions, not just sales figures.

 

User experience research for developing and improving products has been around for a very long time. Applying the same principles to a service or brand is not that different. You will want to think about all of the various touchpoints a prospect may come into contact with the brand, including earlier phases of exploration, what they see and hear when they search the web or reach out to their social network.

 

So why should you consider it?

 

  • Saves time and money in the development phases by improving the design or experience.
  • Reduces customer service needs/costs by releasing a product/service with fewer bugs or issues.
  • Improves customer conversion rates because first interactions and experiences will be better.
  • Higher satisfaction rates which impacts loyalty and willingness to recommend.
  • Access to competitive brand and product intelligence as customers often compare their experience or perception to other brands, products or services they are familiar with.

 

Identifying pain points from a customer perspective is key to understanding their experience and how to improve their interactions with a brand or product.  It is exceedingly easy for users to share their delight (but more often disappointment) with any product, service or brand. This makes it critical for companies to consider and plan for user experience research. After all, word of mouth is highly influential when it comes to learning about products or services to consider and also heavily impacts brand perception.

 

And it’s better than being the next Zune.