IGNORE USER EXPERIENCE AT YOUR PERIL

It is astounding how so many businesses care so little about the user experience and customer service.

I craved some Nigerian dishes (Pounded Yam with Edika Ikong and Goat Meat Peppersoup) last night and used HungryHouse (a takeaway service) to order dinner. That order was cancelled moments later. A subsequent email suggested the restaurant may be closed contrary to its published opening hours.

Today, it happened again with the same restaurant. After tweeting HungryHouse to get to the bottom of it, HungryHouse explained that the restaurant in question had not responded on the terminal, nor picked up the phone after several calls. For that reason, HungryHouse has deleted the only Nigerian restaurant in Leeds from Online Takeout ordering service.

In a competitive market, you cannot afford to deliver a poor user experience. The market will chew you up and spit you out (metaphorically, if not literally). Excellent user experience is not just something to keep your business afloat, it can actually lead to tremendous commercial success. Successful businesses have a true appreciation of the lifetime value of a customer. Once you come in through the front door, the business will bend over backwards to please you. The business understands that the first time they serve you, you might not spend a lot of money, and that they could even lose money serving you, but if they impress you, you will come back and buy more and more things with them over your lifetime. You will generate positive word of mouth and get your friends and social contacts through their front door too.

Apple is a great example of this. People who started off buying an iPod ages ago and got a great user experience out of that first Apple product would go on to buy iPhones, iPads, Macs, Watch and so forth. They could buy many of each of these devices over their lifetimes and pass on the old ones to others who also get sold on a great user experience. Apple may have made little or no money on that first iPod you bought for $100, but in a decade, you could easily have made them profits in excess of $10,000 because they delivered an excellent user experience to you that first time and most times thereafter.

Technology is making the world smaller. There are fewer captive markets for goods and services. Even physical borders cannot always keep the competition out. More businesses need to come to this realisation and start to put the user experience of their customers at the centre of everything they do. ‘Chuky Restaurant’ in Leeds may be the latest business to learn this lesson, but it won’t be the last.

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