A popular concept these days is User Experience or UX. Wikipedia defines UX as “the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product.”
A less-used term is Customer Experience or CX. Wikipedia defines that as “the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction includes a customer's attraction, awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy, and purchase and use of a service.”
UX is sometimes perceived as kind of touchy-feely; it can be difficult to get clients to appreciate how small, subtle changes to an interaction ultimately make a difference to the user. But CX, at least as we foresee it developing for a retail environment, is highly satisfying because of the near-instant feedback it delivers -- you can watch your efforts translate into sales.
ICS’ work in automotive touches both UX and CX. From the UX perspective, we build current and next-generation touchscreen-based In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI) systems -- the center console area controlling the music, GPS, climate control, etc. (1) From the CX perspective, we build large touchscreen kiosks for auto dealership showrooms, which convey everything from exterior and interior finish choices to financing and service options. (2)
Our UX work -- such as developing concept designs, conducting user testing and ensuring that the proposed interactions work well on the mated hardware -- occurs early in the product’s development. Our efforts are satisfying once the product ships and is in the hands of users, but it’s a deferred gratification that comes months later. In the auto industry, sometimes years later.
In contrast, we can directly observe CX in real time and refine the associated user experience on the touchscreen kiosk to enhance that experience (i.e. generate more revenue). In other words, the fact that the “user” of “user experience” is clearly the “customer” in a “customer experience” helps to focus our clients on a specific goal (revenue generation) that aids our mutual partnership in creating that great touchscreen kiosk customer experience.
Honestly, a lot of the gratification we’re experiencing with CX in auto dealerships is due to the fact that it is still the early days of a radical transformation in retail. Customer-facing technology is in the nascent stages of roll out and ICS is leading the way with large, touchscreen kiosks that empower retailers (and others) to deliver premium experiences that impress and engage customers. For buyers looking to purchase pricey items, such as a luxury automobile, that experience is key.
And because it is quick and easy to modify kiosk content -- to reflect changing inventory or spotlight different products, for instance -- retailers themselves benefit. For the auto industry, in particular, the migration to large touchscreen kiosks in their showrooms seems inevitable (3).
Here’s the takeaway: For any business, both UX and CX are essential. But the the focus on customer experience leads companies to build products and provide services people want to buy -- meeting the needs of the market by satisfying revenue-generating customers. At the end of the day, that’s the only metric that counts.
What do you think?
(1) See more about ICS’ UX work on In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI) at http://www.ics.com/services/ivi/future
(2) See more about ICS’ CX work on touchscreen kiosks at http://www.viewpointtouch.com/
(3) Download my Free eBook - Auto Retail: Lessons from the Apple Store here: http://www.viewpointtouch.com/resource/viewpoint-kiosks-ebook-auto-reta…