Facing up to the new customer experience challenges in 2018


When it comes to maintaining constant ‘uptime’ for customer experience, even the most reputable industry players face hurdles. In 2018, businesses could do well to get to grips with their services in terms of improving availability, driving optimum performance and delivering the ultimate customer experience.

Here are some new customer experience challenges businesses are facing – and tips on how to solve them:

Addressing availability before user experience

Last year, we witnessed several major website and application outages, from Virgin Money Giving crashing the night before the London Marathon, to WhatsApp going down on New Year’s Eve. The financial and reputational impact on businesses, whether caused by traffic volume or IT glitches, can be severe.

It was recently revealed that hundreds of UK parents are unable to access their tax-free childcare benefits via an HMRC-run website, resulting in unpaid – and unhappy – childcare providers. These examples demonstrate how much work businesses still need to put in before they can really compete on a user experience level. Failing to ensure constant availability and enforce a user-first mentality directly affects market positioning, and, often, the delivery of vital services.

The supply chain improving user experience

Application supply chains are becoming increasingly long and complex.

Consequently, we can no longer assume a positive user experience from monitoring individual components – or that the experience needs to be measured at the edge, at a macro level.

Exercising and testing the supply chain could be a real market differentiator in 2018 for businesses looking to achieve user experience excellence.

The UX-driven evolution of C-suite roles

This year, it will become more important for the entire C-suite to be involved in monitoring the ‘performance dashboard’, as businesses become increasingly digital.

It’s essential that roles evolve soon – for example, the CIO and CDO will begin to merge as the need for UX awareness and appreciation takes over from technical knowledge alone.

When it comes to supporting digital services, the Head of Customer Experience will play a key role. In some organizations, this could mean that CDOs start to tackle more customer experience requirements, and in others, it may mean that over time, CDOs become the customer experience role.

Through the design of user friendly digital services that perform at all times – including in periods of peak traffic – large industry players will be able to meet customer expectations with user experience offerings. In addition, smaller organizations are given an opportunity to compete in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Business will put web monitoring and load testing first

How long is ten seconds for a website home page to load? Long enough to lose you 40% of potential users if they can’t access what they want in that time-frame. Ultimately, regardless of whether a site or service’s graphic user interface is optimized for a great user experience – if performance and response times fail to meet user expectations, companies will suffer.

In the not-too-distant future, I believe we’ll see business leaders focus on web and application monitoring and load testing so that UX teams can concentrate on doing what they do best: developing forward-thinking digital services that make the user experience faster and better.