Why great UX design is smart offense during a recession

Alfonso de la Nuez, UserZoom's Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer discusses why great UX Design creates an invaluable return on investment

In 2022 every company is a Digital Experience company competing on whether or not users love their product experiences and recommend them to others. While UX research used to be a nice-to-have; a luxury only the most successful software companies enjoyed, that’s no longer the case. The pandemic, as well as the SaaS (Software-as-Service) or software on-demand market, made it much too easy to switch vendors at the drop of a hat.

This week, I’m launching my new book, The Digital Experience Company and the timing couldn’t be better. Even when an economy is booming businesses can’t afford the risk of bad customer experiences; as we stare down a potential global recession, companies at every size need to do more with less to protect customer loyalty. I believe creating a customer-centric culture that embeds UX research and insights at every turn in product development is a smart offense, especially given our current business climate.

My goal in writing this book was to help business leaders understand why great UX Design creates an invaluable return on investment and faster growth compared to competitors. Additionally, I want every business leader to realize that great UX Design actually starts with a customer-centric culture and grows stronger with scalable user testing and research.

The fact is, teams that embed real user testing and research insights at every stage of product development outperform those that don’t. Research by McKinsey reinforces this. In their report, The Business Value of Design, “top-quartile McKinsey Design Index (MDI) scorers increased their revenues and total returns to shareholders substantially faster than their industry counterparts did over a five-year period—32 percentage points higher revenue growth and 56 percentage points higher TRS growth for the period as a whole.”


The great news is that it’s easier than ever for companies of all sizes to gather and use those insights.

While my book takes a deeper dive into the strategic reasons to invest in Digital UX research and insights, here are three very timely ones leaders need to understand right now:

Digital UX is a smart offense for the bottom line, and competitive advantage

During a financial downturn, organizations naturally look for opportunities to do more with less time, money and talent resources. Digital UX research provides a great opportunity for just that.

A Forrester report on the business impact of good design reveals that companies focused on good UX and CX design experience benefits such as greater customer loyalty, increased revenue, a higher market valuation, and better-performing stock. According to the report, on average every $1 invested into UX results in a return of $100, that’s an ROI of 10,000%.

Embedding UX research throughout a customer-centric culture de-risks product development

When it comes to creating great digital experiences, company silos prove deadly. Companies need to ensure they’re not bucketing different points of experience into its own silo. Rather than focusing on just customer experience (CX), user experience (UX), or even digital experience (DX), companies need to combine, extract and share insights from ALL of these areas across teams.

Organizations that embed UX research teams into product teams make smarter, faster moves on the front end instead of cleaning up mistakes after the fact. When everyone is tapping into real-time insights, they can understand each other’s goals in real-time, make better informed decisions more often, and design exceptional experiences for users BEFORE a product is launched.

Digital UX protects customer loyalty when spending gets tight

Business leaders know that winning new customers is more expensive than keeping loyal ones. As consumers tighten their own spending on non-essentials, exceptional user experiences strengthen their personal perception of value. According to Pew Research, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. On the flip side, they won’t hesitate to switch service or product providers when an experience lets them down. Recent research from Zendesk shows that after just one bad experience, up to 61% of customers will take their business elsewhere. 

During a financial downturn, maintaining and improving exceptional experiences requires keeping your finger on the pulse. Consistent UX research is a smart, efficient way to ensure your product or service remains a necessity.

The good news is that it’s easier than ever to pursue user-centric, analytically informed design 

Cloud-based technologies and software tools have brought down many of the barriers to conducting thorough UX research and usability testing and extracting insight from real users. Today, customers across all types of industries can feed businesses their opinions in real-time, allowing teams to measure UX designs faster and more accurately than ever before.

Whatsmore, the business benefits of Digital UX are now accessible to organizations of any size. While SMBs may still fear they don’t have the resources to compete and deliver top-notch experiences, Digital UX research software automates the entire process making it both agile and scalable - no matter how big the research teams are or where the user participants are located. 

I have no doubt that the organizations that recognize the power of Digital UX research and insights will outperform their competitors in the months and years to come. They will be the standouts that seem to defy the ‘uncontrollable challenges’ that wreak havoc during a recession instead continuously innovating to deliver exceptional experiences their customers count on.

The Digital Experience Company

Winning in the Digital Economy with Experience Insights

A call-to-arms for leaders looking to optimize UX design to engage customers, explode brand loyalty, and drive critical business metrics. Every company is a digital experience company - whether you want to be or not.