The Whole User Experience: Closing the Inexperience Gap

The importance of a user-centred design can’t be emphasised enough. Product user experience – including your customers’ positive experiences with your product – can have long-term impacts on the value they place on the product, their brand loyalty and the company’s profitability.

However, there is often a gap between user intuition and just not knowing how a product functions. The cleverest designs may not be as intuitive or user-friendly to your target market as one may think, even after usability testing.

Product user experience: what don’t we know?

As Product Managers we close this inexperience gap by providing tools to help customers become more familiar with the product and its features after it’s been purchased. However, these tools are often black and white, jargon-packed, text-heavy product manuals that are tedious to read. Some users may never even refer to them.

Every aspect of the product contributes to the user experience, including product manuals. These additional tools can encourage and enhance the user’s interactions with the product leading to greater product appreciation and value. Closing the user inexperience gap is more than informing them about the product and its features; it’s also about building a stronger bond between the user and the brand.

When thinking through your product marketing, make the most of opportunities that directly contribute and influence your customers’ experience. Build the relationship between your product and the user post-purchase by creating engaging product manuals and other such reference tools. Here are four simple tips on how we can maximise this opportunity:

1. Design the reference tools with your target audiences in mind

a) Be clear on the kind of information you need to communicate to your target market. For example, is it a guide to the products’ benefits and features or instructions for use and care?

b) Determine the best communication style and format – i.e. manual, tutorial, fact sheet, or demonstration.

c) Select the preferred media your target audience would like to receive this information. This may include on-line, print, CD or DVD, or even a workshop. Consider the amount of information to be communicated and the complexity of your product when choosing the media. Some product reference tools come in both print and in a fun, interactive format on-line.

d) Be sure to include content, images and language that will appeal to your target audience.

2. Beat post-purchase dissonance

Affirm customers that they have made the right choice in purchasing your product. It may be as simple as congratulating them on their purchase, welcoming them as a new proud owner, or commenting their status as one of a large community of people who have also made the same decision. Affirmation is particularly important for customers who invest time, money and effort to research and think through the decision to purchase a product.

3. Reserve budget for the design and production

As an integral part of the product, sufficient budget should be allocated to create the right compelling tools. Knowing how to offer the information at the start of the development process will help you set aside the appropriate amount.

4. Equip the sales and customer service staff

Give your sales and customer service staff the full experience. Train customer-facing staff to use and be familiar with the product and the reference tools so they can better sell and assist customers. Encourage sales and customer service staff to refer customers to the reference tools to help minimize calls to customer contact centers for further assistance.

5. Surprise by exceeding expectations

Exert your creativity and give your target audience something different and unexpected. If they are accustomed to pulling out that boring black and white manual, provide something special. If no reference tools are normally provided, insert a new perspective on the product and its accessories. Nothing beats a pleasant surprise; something to get the user extra excited about the product.

Give your customers the whole product experience. Close the inexperience gap by strengthening the bond between the user and the product by providing engaging tools that enhances the user experience post-purchase.

Want more? Check out our courses Essentials of User Experience and Customer Interviewing and Insights for Product Managers.