When building a startup you’re starting from scratch. Everything has to be created.
When you don’t have a brand or existing reputation to fall back on, everything you do is with the aim of creating trust; trust that you can deliver and execute on your promises. You need to convince customers that you can deliver value for them, convince investors that you’re capable of building returns, convince employees that your company is worth joining.
How do you build this trust? By providing a great experience.
User Experience Design is an increasingly in demand skill set, and rightly so.
“User experience design (UXD or UED) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product.”
The issue with this is that UX design is mostly only thought of in terms of the product. For websites it might be things like ‘how do we improve the signup process for new users?’ or ‘how can we make it easier to buy our products in the checkout process?’. But the truth is, EVERYTHING is an experience, and in reality, as an entrepreneur you need to be constantly designing great experiences.
Every time you meet with someone and have a conversation, you’re giving them an experience.
Every email you send is an experience for the receiver.
Every interaction with a customer or user is an experience.
Did you provide a good experience? Did you make a good impression? Did you build more trust than you had before?
I remember hearing once that with every conversation you have, you should always aim to leave the person feeling better than they were beforehand¹ (or words to that effect). A commendable goal, and if achieved think about what effect this would have on the way people perceive you.
When thinking about satisfaction levels, the net promoter score is a good measure. “How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend?” Although this measure is most often used on customers of a business, it is a great framework to keep in mind regardless of the situation.
In everything you do, you should be baring this in mind and striving to provide the best experience possible, always aiming to nudge that trust level in the right direction, enhancing your brand.
It is commonly said that you’ll tell one person if you eat a great meal at a restaurant, but you’ll tell three if the meal is terrible. That one bad experience is incredibly detrimental. Conversely, a great experience is an opportunity to win another advocate.
That’s what we as startup founders are aiming for; the opportunity to win one more advocate with each and every experience that we provide.
Easier said than done, of course. But before the end of your next conversation, before you deliver the next piece of work, before you send that next email, stop and think; how can I improve the experience I’m about to provide this person?
What examples of great experiences have you recently encountered? Do you have any tips on how you always try and go above and beyond to improve the experience? I’d love to hear about it – let me know in the comments.
¹ I can’t find/remember the source of this. If anyone knows then let me know.