Customer-Centric User Interface and its Impact on Business

Updated: April 02, 2010

By Sushima Dutt

We are face-to-face with User Interface at almost every sphere of interactive living today. From household appliances to web screens, from touch screen monitors at public terminals to corporate lobby security checks, user interface is pivotal to user's interaction with a system and it contributes in creating a "gold mine" of customer data that impacts heavily on shaping/re-shaping businesses.

User interface is user-centric. It has to deal with people and people issues are complex. A faulty user interface can be expensive. Here is a case where expected results were dampened by faulty user interface: Case: Retailer experiencing low E-com response:

A retailer experienced low response from its e-commerce web interface and, hence, conducted a survey to know the reason. Investigators found that users typed-in credit card numbers in clusters of 4 with spaces between each cluster as it appears on the credit card. The system was not designed to accept credit card numbers in clusters with spaces, therefore, prompted error message to customers resulting in loss of business. (See Computer weekly, 5/23/02 - "E-Biz can be ruined by poor user interfaces.")

In contrast, a small, goal-oriented, user interface can help enormously in impacting business growth. For example, "send to a friend" interface has helped Hotmail build 12 million subscribers. Similarly, appropriate use of interface design has helped Estee Lauder add 350,000 subscribers to their e-mail list. The Clinique web site features an "online help" interface - "Ask a Clinique Consultant" which links to a "customer care library" initiating dialogue with the customers.

Another such imaginative use of goal-oriented, customer-centric web interface is the popular use of online coupons (see www.coolsavings.com) which meaningfully contributes toward customer data capture such as brand preference, demographics, and the whole gamut of buying patterns.

User interface should be intuitively right to initiate and guide customer's interaction with a program and then help invite a business dialog. Bob Buckman of Buckman Laboratories International, Inc. says "If I can respond to a customer in six hours anywhere in the world at any time, that's competitive advantage..." FedEx believes their interface system is more valuable than their transportation system which enables them to interact with the customers. Well, how do we derive at interface designs that are intuitively responsive, user-friendly, ensures user acceptance, productivity and adhere to the aesthetic principles (look and feel) of a business environment ? Here are some proven recommendations:

  1. Using appropriate interface to initiate and capture a dialog with the customer is almost mandatory for businesses today.
  2. Adapt a "Do and Learn" customer-centric user interface schema.
  3. Create a systematic story-telling approach that is inherently progressive and intuitively customer-centric.
Featured Research
  • 2017 Business Intelligence Trends

    It's long been thought that business intelligence (BI) could only be utilized by highly trained analysts and was therefore unattainable for most businesses. However, advancements in BI have made it so that everyone can utilize BI solutions to help shape business decisions and drive companies bottom lines. more

  • Your Phone System and Your Bottom Line

    Businesses have been using phones to drive increases to their bottom lines for almost a century now. Telephony, much like the rest of the business world, has seen drastic changes with the increase in technological advancement. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), has enabled companies to connect with consumers at levels that have been seen as unheard of before. And trust us when we say this, it is doing wonders for the bottom line. more

  • How to Scale a Contact Center in 2017

    Are you on the fence about scaling your contact center and not sure how or whether or not now is the time? Studies have shown that 93% of executives expect that contact volume will remain constant or increase within the next two years. This means that now more than ever is the time to begin scaling and we are here to help. more

  • Making the Case for a New CRM

    Did you know that having an outdated CRM is just as bad as not having one at all? Do you find yourself working even just a little too hard to make your current CRM work to maintain your contacts and relationships? While it is increasingly more difficult to reduce customer churn, modern CRM tools are much more powerful and provide much more opportunity to develop stronger relationships with your clients that can provide more stability and revenue to your company and bottom line. more

  • 2017 Phone Systems Checklist

    As you are well aware, we are living in an age of extreme technological growth. With this, an understatement might be that phone systems have changed a bit over the last decade. If you are in the market for a new phone system, it is absolutely essential for you to have knowledge of this vast sector and just what exactly you need in order to have your business succeed. more