3 reasons why UX is important for your internal systems
Historically – and understandably – the focus for user interface and user experience (UI/UX) has been prioritised for customer-facing software. Naturally, you want your customers to have the best experience possible to drive product differentiation, uptake and retention.
However, technology for employees is seen as a means to an end, rather than an integral part of business strategy. New platforms and tools are introduced internally without considering how they fit into the digital workplace, how employees will respond to them, how they can be optimised, or how they can work together. The result is often a fragmented digital experience for employees, impacting on how well they can perform their roles.
Below are three reasons why investing in UX for internal systems is critical, and growing:
1. People’s roles are more complex than ever
Thanks to technological advancements in areas such as robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI), menial tasks are easy to automate and internal admin-heavy roles diminishing. This has resulted in the creation of more complex roles where employees need to use more judgement, make more decisions, and understand products and customers to solve complex problems – the type of problems that RPA and AI can't address.
If you consider an employee who works in a call centre, they would need access to multiple systems when receiving a call from a customer. Customers expect your employees to have an oversight on their profile, products they’re linked to, transaction or product history, and many other factors core to your business. It is unrealistic to integrate all these systems seamlessly, and there should be an effort made to aid these complex roles as much as possible.
2. We need to stop serving ourselves last
We all recognise the importance of UX for customers – and that shouldn’t change. But completely neglecting the internal systems your employees need to work on daily will have a negative impact on the business and will actually not be cheaper in the long run. Employees become less productive when systems are not intuitive, and it’s more difficult to recruit and train new team members.
Systems should be inviting and clear for employees to get their jobs done, instead of just assuming that they will figure it out even if the UX is bad. Internal systems should present an obvious interface that doesn’t need a manual. Streamlined UX for employee software is directly translated into a streamlined workflow.
3. Poor internal UX will eventually cross the boundary and affect customers
Businesses often overlook internal systems because customers won’t have to interact with it. However, eventually the experience will jump the gap from internal to external, and customers will be affected by bad UX.
These consequences can range from frustrated customers noticing when call centre employees are struggling to find their information, to more serious cyber security or privacy issues. Poor UX can also lead to more human errors, which can be very costly (even as costly as this fake missile threat alert in Hawaii in 2018). Taking the time to evaluate the internal user experience and investing in the necessary changes will result in better business value. Compare the technology you use internally to your consumer platforms and establish what can be improved. Seek feedback from employees on their main frustrations, what could work better and how they can be engaged more effectively.
The principles that apply to how you design systems around your customers (their needs, roles, feedback and behaviour) are exactly the same for your employees. Employees should be elevated to first class users, empowering them further to drive productivity and sentiment. The easier it is for your employees to fill their role, the better experience they can craft for your customers.