This week we feature an article by Anand Srinivasan who looks at a few ways a business can keep tabs on the customer experience through continuous testing. – Shep Hyken
Continuous testing is a term that is commonly associated with software development. The objective of this process is to reduce the time it takes for developers to gather user feedback data and use it to tweak the product. This brings down the time it takes to fix bugs and usability issues on the user’s end and thus contributes to a better customer experience. In some ways then, continuous testing can also be looked at as a marketing strategy. In this blog, let us look at a few ways a business can keep a tab on customer experience through continuous testing.
A website that does not provide clarity on the product or its pricing tends to frustrate customers who are then more likely to bounce. Conversion rate may thus be a good indicator of how good the visitors’ experience is on your website. Typically, user testing for conversion optimization is only performed during a webpage redesign or product launch. Once the test results confirm the predefined hypothesis, marketers abandon these user tests.
This is a problem because customer experience and conversions are impacted by dozens of different parameters that may not be summed up in a handful of hypothesis. Instead of investing in testing specific hypothesis using A/B or multivariate testing tools, it is a good idea to instead invest in tools that offer session recording of real users. This way, it is possible to build a database of user journeys that may be tested on dozens of hypothesis. Optimizing for conversion can thus become a process of continuous testing.
Randomized experience assessment
While visitor session recordings help test customer experience on a continuous basis, they may not always provide objective assessments of bounces. For instance, if a visitor abandons the checkout process midway, a session recording may not tell you if they quit because of the high shipping charges or if it was because the user could not find the product in their favorite color. Randomized experience assessment studies help reach out to customers during their buying journey to understand their thought process. Disney Store uses a tool that pops out a short survey once in a while during the buying process to understand the customer’s thoughts. This, combined with digital replays of the user’s navigation should provide insights into the dozens of factors that go into a successful customer transaction that may have been ignored in a binary A/B testing process.
The Net Promoter Score is a metric that measures the average likelihood for a customer to refer your business to their friend or family. NPS is one of the most effective continuous customer experience monitoring systems available. The NPS is usually tracked at the end of a buying process or immediately after the customer has completed an engagement with your support staff and is usually plotted as a chart to monitor customer experience over a period of time.
A customer journey is not a single continuous process. It could involve several interactions across multiple devices like print, desktop and mobile phones. Monitoring customer experience over one session may thus fail to provide the marketer with all the information that they need to assess the true experience being delivered. An Accenture report calls for a 7P strategy that begins with ‘Presence’ across all channels that a prospective customer is available on and then persisting and personalizing the experience over each of these different channels. By bringing together the experience of a unique customer across multiple channels and form factors, it is possible to establish a continuous experience monitoring system that spans throughout the customer’s journey.
Customer experience is a subjective term that is measured with objective parameters like NPS scores or conversion rate. While such metrics may not always be accurate in determining experience, they do provide a general trend when measured on a continuous basis. From a marketer’s perspective, this can be critical and is something that every business must monitor.
Anand Srinivasan is the founder of Hubbion, a free to use project management app for SMBs. Hubbion has been ranked among the top 20 collaboration apps by Capterra.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: Your Best Opportunity For Growing Business: The Customer Experience