Redefine the User Experience for Your Employees and Customers

Last month I had the good fortune to attend Elliott Masie’s Learning 2017 Conference in Orlando, Florida. 

How is it that, having attended so many industry conferences events over the years, I’ve never been to a User Experience like this one?

Coupled with the quality of the speakers and my interactions with attendees, this year’s theme was enough to make me a lifelong convert.

The theme?

Learners are changing. Societal forces are triggering this change. And industry is reacting to it. As consumers, people have been conditioned to expect a certain caliber of experience when you want or need to learn something.

You go to YouTube to watch a video on how to do something. You Google the answers to your questions. You ask Waze to find the quickest route. You ask Alexa to complete a task. And you use Twitter or Facebook or any other social media tool to share your views and get the news as fast as it happens.

So why is it that people’s experience at work is so vastly different from their experience as consumers?

Even with the proliferation of big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud-based applications, companies are struggling to offer employees learning experiences that remotely match consumer-driven expectations for speed, ease, and quality.

Concurrently, the digital age is transforming the role — and prominence — of HR and learning professionals within their organizations.

Now, internal learning and development organizations not only have to meet new learner expectations, they also have to sort their way through the confusing world of digital technologies, experience platforms, and data analytics.

These are all areas that have traditionally fallen outside of HR.

While this makes your job harder, it also gives you a new opportunity to make a big impact on your organization’s success.

As Elliott Masie said during one of his roundtables:

“Vendors need to understand the landscape of L&D organizations and help them figure out what they can stop doing versus adding on more complexity . . . Be an optimizer and a multiplier to your customer.” 

Right now, I believe every organization has an opportunity to re-think the user experience for internal and external customers.

Having been on the customer side of the equation for most of my 25+ years in the business, I’ve lived the experience of feeling like a vendor was adding complexity to my professional plate, rather than helping me figure out how to streamline my business.

Only two companies ever became optimizers and multipliers to my business:

  1. The one I work for now, Mandel.
  2. Mandel’s learning technology partner, Intrepid Learning.

Both re-imagined and redefined what my user experience could be as a customer.

User experience (UX) — that’s a term you’ve probably heard a lot. It can mean different things to different people.

The best definition I’ve seen for user experience comes, unsurprisingly, from the Nielson Norman Group:

“User Experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother.”

How can companies create extraordinary user experiences for customers?

Adopt a new learning mindset.

Help people in customer-facing roles embrace continuous learning to become well-versed not just in your own offerings, but also in the areas below:

  • Fundamentals of business
  • Basics of digital technology
  • Mechanics of measuring business impact
  • Communication skills to talk credibly about those things with customers

Help your people develop the active listening skills, inquiry skills, and executive presence to demonstrate a deep level of curiosity about customers’ strategic initiatives and the financial demands of their current operating environment.

Only with this knowledge can sales professionals or account executives start to “connect-the-dots” on how your product or service can optimize a customer’s environment.

The notion of customer engagement isn’t new.

Sales books abound with advice on how to be customer-centric. But the term “customer-centric” feels superficial in today’s digital environment.

Technology has fundamentally changed business models and learning environments.

If you want to be viewed by customers as an optimizer or multiplier, you have to develop a new level of understanding about how a customer’s internal business units are connected or work together and about the pressures your customer is facing.

Finally, it’s time to redefine how you view customers. Customers are end users too — not just buyers of your products and services.

As “end-users” they expect a dramatically different level of engagement with you.

The big question is, can your organization deliver?

Does your workforce have the skills to create exemplary user experiences?

If they don’t, can you deliver training to your people in a way that meets their own consumer-level expectations for learning?

In my professional experience and in conversations with peers, these are two of the toughest challenges companies face today. If you’re struggling to solve them, you’re in good company.

While not an easy endeavor, I can personally vouch for the benefits you’ll reap when you start to do the work of redefining the user experience for customers.

You’ll create stronger, longer lasting relationships with customers who are not mere “buyers” of your products or services, but rather loyal and fierce advocates of your brand.

Learn More

Are you ready to meet your learners’ expectations for convenience, relevance, speed, and quality?

Mandel has launched a brand new online program called The Breakthrough Communicator™. No more boring, out-of-the-box online training. This new anywhere, anytime semi-synchronous learning experience is hands-on, social, and gamified.

And, it can be tailored to support your company’s business initiatives. Plus, your users will have an AI-driven personal communications coach in their pocket to give them instant feedback via their mobile devices.

Launch The Breakthrough Communicator to thousands of employees around the world at once. No scheduling or administration hassles. Learn more here.

Picture of Kate Day

Kate Day

Kate served as Executive Director, Strategic Implementation Services, at Mandel. She has over 25 years of international management experience in sales enablement, IT, and operations with companies like Oracle Corporation, Cisco Systems, and MetLife. Having been an enthusiastic Mandel customer for two decades across 24 countries, Kate has a deep understanding of how communication and executive presence skills can help organizations achieve their business initiatives. Kate has received multiple industry awards for her work, including the 2017 CLO Learning Elite Award. She is a sought-after speaker at international conferences in Europe, Canada, and the U.S.
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