What is “User Experience”?
User experience is defined as the sum of all interactions that an individual has with a business, from in-person encounters and phone calls to websites and social media. Every interaction between a student and a yoga studio presents an opportunity to build trust, cement your brand identity, improve student retention rates, and strengthen client relationships, says Katie. “It is the easiest thing to implement,” she adds, “All you have to do is put yourself in your customer’s shoes. You have to start thinking like your students.”
Katie recommends three goals for yoga studios planning a UX strategy:
- Design every experience with the customer in mind,
- Learn to think like your clients and anticipate their needs, and
- Create balance between the message you want to communicate and the needs of your clients.
While you want to create a welcoming studio environment and website for your clients and meet the needs of your students, it is important to draw boundaries as a yoga teacher and know you do not have to be a customer service representative. Katie: “This does not mean that you do everything that your customer – your student – wants you to do. It does not mean that your student dictates the class or shifts the sequence. It’s nothing about that. This is all about making sure they have a good time, making sure their needs are met within the confines of the class you are running.”
User experience should be an important consideration for yoga studios because consumers have more choices at their disposal than ever before. In her presentation, Katie mentions a recent study that revealed the number of yoga studios is projected to increase by six percent annually, so finding that unique differentiation is crucial. Not only are there more yoga studios to choose from, but there are also gyms, personal trainers and boutique fitness studios with similar offerings that could catch a potential client first. “We've got to figure out what our edge is – what your individual edge [is] – and user experience can be a differentiator for you,” says Katie.
Benefits of Investing in User Experience
A prospective student’s – or end user’s – quality interaction with a yoga studio website, for example, gives that studio an edge in a variety of ways. Katie points out some benefits of investing in UX enhancements for your online communications:
- Reduction in the amount of time front desk and admin staff spend answering basic questions;
- More time to focus on meeting the needs of new students and converting prospective clients;
- Increased client trust;
- Brand reinforcement when a positive online experience translates into a positive in-person experience;
- Happier students and a stronger community by surpassing their expectations; and
- Instant brand ambassadors who spread their glowing reviews by word-of-mouth (which equals free marketing!).
Katie cites Zappos.com as a model of delivering exemplary user experience. “Do you tell your friends about Zappos? Yes – and you want [the same] to be true about your yoga studio,” she says, “You want people out there talking about how fantastic you were. You want people so excited about your offering that they are out there telling your story for you. That investment pays off down the road.”