August 14, 2020

How to Invest in CX/UX in an Economic Downturn

Group doing customer journey mapping with post-it notes on white wall

Recessions and major economic downturns can spell out hard times for businesses at all levels. But there are many actions you can take as a CEO, team leader, or business owner to protect and optimize your business during an economic downturn to ensure your customers, users, and/or clients remain happy with your services and products. In fact, one study suggests that the quality of an organization’s customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) can directly influence how they navigate a recession!

So what specific UX and CX-related actions should you be taking to side-step an inevitable economic downturn?

Reconsider cuts related to customer experience

Cost cuts are inevitable during a recession — but lowering the quality of your customer or user experience doesn’t have to be. Think about ways that you can trim the fat without reducing the high-quality services and products that you offer, and that your loyal customer base has come to expect from your company. Basically, take time to re-imagine your business model to prioritize customer support and services. To do so, you may want to host a brainstorming session or design-thinking workshop with team leads and stakeholders to reset priorities and develop a customer/user-centric action plan and future state.

Take Time to Check In with Customers and Users

There’s a good chance your customers are feeling the effects of an economic downturn just as harshly as you are. How has their behaviour changed? Have their purchasing patterns shifted? Have their needs transformed over the past weeks or months due to the economic downturn? Performing some simple human-centered qualitative user research need not be complex and expensive, and can lead to incredibly useful and actionable insights.

For example, create a user survey using an online digital tool like Typeform or SurveyMonkey, and send it out to your email list (and employees!) Or, interview some of your customers/users to better understand how their motivations and needs are changing in light of current events. If you have a UX or design team already, then you already have the tools to tackle this head-on. Take advantage of human-centered design and research to shift your services or products to meet customers where they are.


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Invest in Digital Applications and Remote Customer Service

As we’ve seen over the past six months, digital and remote services and products are hotter than ever. Being able to communicate with customers and users through non-traditional methods––like mobile applications and video-conferencing software––is a must for successful businesses in 2020. With insights from your user research, get a sense for how new digital or online touchpoints would improve your products and services. Again, investing in new tools during an economic downturn can feel risky––but it’s not a question anymore that customers expect to be able to access support and services in a digital, often mobile way.

Develop North Star Principles

A clear and well-communicated company vision is important at the best of times, and even more so during periods of transition and uncertainty. North Star (or “guiding”) Principles are essential for organizations and teams hoping to make stronger, more strategic decisions. At Outwitly, we offer Future Vision workshops and training to help team leaders brainstorm and clarify company priorities in order to better express and champion these priorities across their teams or wider organization. North Star Principles can also enable you to make more strategic decisions around customer/user experience.

Get your UX and Service Design tool through our North Star Principles E-Book.

There are many ways that an economic downturn can impact your company––but if you’re able to keep your customers and users happy, then you’re already winning half the battle!

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