Testing, Testing, Testing – Taking The Guesswork Out Of Customer Experience
The art and science of Customer Experience (CX) is rapidly evolving. One of the most interesting transformations is the balance of control from the brand to the consumer. It is increasingly the customer who decides what’s best for themselves and not the brand.
So why are so many companies still taking a ‘we know best’ approach to managing their customers’ experiences? Why are customer-facing leaders still guessing what their customers want?
Here are three ways to eliminate guesswork from your customer experiences ...
1. Put Your Customer Back Into CX Journey Mapping
Firstly, if you’re not doing CX Journey Mapping then start now. Whether this is for existing customer journeys, or those inspirational, future customer journeys that you’re designing. CXJM is a great way to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think about those small details that can have a big emotional impact. It also asks you the tough questions about whether you have the trained staff, processes and technology to support your desired journeys. [Here's how ...]
But how can you be so sure that the journey you envisage is really what your customers want? [While writing this, I had a flashback to a scene from the film “Love Actually”, where the customer wants speed, but the sales assistant – played by the brilliant Rowan Atkinson – is intent on a high quality experience, regardless!]
Testing #1 – Think about how you could involve the voice of the customer in your CXJM exercises for input before you start, or validation that it gives them what they want. You could do this via focus groups for qualitative feedback, or through questionnaires if more volume is required.
2. Optimise Your Customer's Digital Experience
Good digital marketing and graphic designers will already have a good idea of how to present your brand online and via email. But this is just the start. Different visual elements, the way they’re presented and navigation options can have a big impact on how consumers behave online (and therefore conversion rates and revenue).
Modern testing tools can help you set up A/B testing or multivariate testing. These can help assess what customers prefer. What attracts them and what repels them from your digital experience? What causes them to abandon their shopping carts or ignore your banner ads? [Enterprise omni-channel marketing automation tools, such as Responsys* and non-invasive testing tools like Maxymiser* provide rich capabilities for this.]
By combining these tests with first party data (i.e. ‘known’ customer personal information held by you) and third party data (i.e. anonymous information acquired from a data provider, like BlueKai*) you can create a more sophisticated experience tailored to your target customer personas.
Testing #2 – Continually optimise your customers' digital experience by adopting the latest A/B and multivariate testing tools. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so tailor the experience to your target personas using first- and third-party data.
3. Ensure Your Customer Journeys Are Scalable?
Theoretical CX Journeys are one thing. Making them resilient enough to survive the real world of omni-channel, large scale consumer demand is another.
Whenever I call a large UK telecommunications company, I always get the same message: “We’re experiencing higher than expected demand at the moment …” followed by the usual, indeterminate wait. Since it happens every time, the repeated message could be interpreted as inauthentic. And what about that annoying rotating hour glass while awaiting an online chat session? These are the more elegant ways that brands fail to cope.
There are tools that can test your omni-channel CX to destruction in a controlled fashion (from companies such asCyara). Whether it’s your inbound IVR, CTI, contact centre scripts or web chat, you can simulate your expected peak loads to see how well your CX systems and processes can cope.
Testing #3 – CX is about scalability as well as context and quality. Don’t skip this step, otherwise all of your carefully engineered Customer Journeys will be for naught.
A B C = Always Be Curious
CX professionals are often anxious about the experience they’re delivering to their customers. And these days it must be 24 hours, seven days a week.
A good friend and psychotherapist once said something that stuck in my mind: You can’t be anxious AND curious at the same time! (Perhaps this is because one process is internally focused and the other externally focused. More here.)
So, don’t lose sleep over your brand’s customer experience. Get curious and test, test, test.
[* I am an employee of Oracle. Views and comments are my own. Responsys and Maxymiser are Oracle solutions and mentioned here as examples. Other products are available.]