Designing an effective customer experience strategy
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Customer experience is not only about quality products, timely delivery or service. It is also about the emotion attached, the touchpoints with people in the real world, people who don’t take money to say good things about you, and who market you organically via social media and offline interactions with friends and family.

According to the Digital Marketing Trends Report 2016, ‘customer experience’ ranked as one of the most exciting opportunities for a business, where 22% of the client-side respondents stated that optimizing the customer experience is something they always look forward to.

How to design an effective customer experience testing strategy?

To make a customer experience worthwhile, one must start at the grass root level, step one being -understanding customer behaviour. Customer behaviour includes both latent as well as functional traits – which are quite hard to judge if one does not look in the right places.

Socio-Economic, psychological, emotional, cultural and demographic factors often constitute the latent aspects of customer behaviour. Access, trust, intuition, user-friendliness and the like account for the tangibility of the product and user experience. While studies suggest 60% of the customers are often willing to pay for better customer experience, they often don’t get it due to the lack of understanding of customer behaviour on the organization’s part.

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Factors impacting customer experience testing

Here are the major factors that affect customer experience testing. Some of these impact the functional aspects of the experience while others are more focused on the intrinsic factors of customer behaviour:

  • Business or Organizational Maturity

    Understanding maturity is a great way of assessing your organization’s strengths and weaknesses – an important step in identifying the right strategy. People, process, data and maturity together account for an accurate measure of this.

    Here, the maturity in question is the measure of readiness of a business/organization to deliver products that are satisfactory to a customer. One must begin an effective customer experience strategy by assessing this maturity level.

    The interaction levels between the engineers, IT, marketing, QA and other stakeholders are a great indicator of this. While your strategy defines the right intervention, it must portray the ideal customer persona – to ensure your company recognizes a target market – and their user experience journey.

  • Emotions

    Emotion is a strong word – if used right it can make your relationship, whereas a flawed approach to/integration of emotion can wreak havoc on the relationship. Naturally, the manner in which you deal with the emotions of your displeased customers is what defines your product’s future. There are two key phases to this: capturing the emotion and working to enhance it.

    On a technological level, Twitter and Facebook have made collecting and analyzing human emotions pretty easy. Disgruntled customers tend to post their feelings on these social media platforms, and hence, tapping these platforms to capture these emotions and then comparing them with real-time findings can be a great way for businesses to arrive at conclusions.

    Sentiment analysis – through natural language processing – is one of the most popular methods of doing the same. All the issues that may have gone unseen during the user acceptance test or the UAT can be easily identified in this manner.

    Once this is done, directing the findings to the testing team could be a good path to tread on. If your company believes intending to customer emotions, this will prove fruitful in identifying emotional motivators and climbing the ladder of popularity amongst your target market.

  • Omnichannel and Analytics

    Ever notice how whenever you want to make a new account on any online platform, there is always a ‘Sign in with Google’ option present? Well, that is Google’s approach to going omnichannel. Quite evidently, this is a great way of enhancing customer experience and being on top of their mind.

    When it comes to integration with different channels, it is important to provide for a seamless transition and a flawless multichannel experience. Using design thinking approaches can help in moulding the perfect user experience for the customers. Keeping a track of the customer’s likes, dislikes, browsing histories, transactions and wish lists, and the like can also help in deciding the course of design developments.

    This often gives rise to certain confusions when the engineer/product developer seems to come up with two or more plausible user experiences. Here, an A/B testing approach is what helps take the best course of action. In multivariate testing, two or more features in consideration are tested by an internal or external crowd and a survey based insight helps the organization arrive at a decision.

  • Performance Testing

    One of the end steps to be taken before releasing a product is performance testing. This provides a realistic idea of how the product would turn out in when experienced first-hand by a user.

    If it’s a mobile application or a website, the user interface, layout, colour schemes, RAM usage, battery usage, launch time, run time, integration with smartwatches, responsiveness, etc. matter.

    And often, these turn out to be poorer than planned for. Testing it in advance while stepping into the customer’s shoes is the best way to identify unwanted weak points in the product.

  • Crowd Sourcing Opinion

    Beta testers are a common word in the digital world today. In more traditional organizations, they are referred to as wisdom of the crowd. A great way to get an idea of the user feedback is to get user feedback!

    Beta testing consists of stimulating a testing crowd that is similar to the end users – consisting of people who are not a part of the development process – and is an effective way of knowing the latent as well as obvious feedback of the users.

    The process fails if you do not realize your customer persona, however, is a productive exercise if you are able to identify a target market and choose a group of people who are demographical, socioeconomically and psychologically similar to your end users. UI, traversal, security and functionality can be tested by these beta users. Also, an exit form can help you capture their emotions. You can place a defect management system in place to record the defects and improve them gradually.

  • Conclusion

    A great example of a successful organization following these steps would be Amazon – a company that left Barnes and Nobles far behind due to its excellent customer experience testing strategies. Hence, designing an ideal customer experience is necessary as ease of usage and satisfaction is what makes the product sell.

    Once you start understanding your customers and work with them to build a long lasting relationship, success could be a regular dish served on your dinner table.

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