How many times do organisations truly consider the customer journey fully, especially in the digital age where directing customers to a website for FAQ’s and key information is cheaper and quicker to update at the click of a button?
Furthermore, how many organisations are guilty of focussing on the raft of analytics available without considering the true customer journey – which spans a progression of touchpoints across the organisation and has a clearly defined beginning and end?
But what happens when links are not updated, and become broken, or they haven’t been setup correctly? How does this affect your customers’ experience, and use of your site or app? Broken links will likely discourage your customers from continuing to any other pages, and as a result, your conversion rate on e-commerce sites will drop.
It’s no surprise that customers favour a website that works – and if your site is routinely updated, but web testing is not thoroughly completed across the wide spectrum of mobile devices, tablets and desktops that are now available worldwide, how do you know there’s not a problem on a specific browser or device?
So what if your site has a few broken links? The IT team are planning a refresh of the entire site shortly so it doesn’t matter…… and this is where the mistake of assuming development and testing either inhouse or by a third party agency will pick up all the issues.
Bad news travels fast – and not only do bad online experiences provide road blocks in the conversion process, but the time and money you have invested getting the customer to your site is lost if the Customer Experience (CX) is not up to scratch.
Your Customer Service team will certainly know about it – they’ll likely be receiving complaints from customers – either via social media, email or old school telephone contact – and that’s if the customer lets them know – they could just walk away and never come back.
Far too often the job of customer service falls on the team of Customer Service Advisors - whether telephone based, or in an increasingly omni-channel environment dealing with web-chats, social media postings, emails and yes, phone calls! Customer service isn't just the job of one person or one team - it should fall on the entire organisation, and unfortunately this is where it often goes wrong. If your organisation isn’t focussed on putting the customer at the centre of what they do, align it to deliver against tangible outcomes and re-evaluate your customer journey using digital technologies such as your website or app and that's where web testing comes in.
In an ever more demanding economy where customers are given more choice, easier access to competitors, and spoiled for choice with competitive offers - there's no doubt that companies are pressured to offer better service - and one that retains their customers - one that doesn't just deal with a transaction that leaves the customer satisfied - but actually HAPPY with the service or product they have purchased so they come back. According to Thunderhead and Populus, 25% of us will switch to the next best choice in the blink of an eye after just ONE bad experience, and 45% will walk away from buying something if they must go from pillar to post to purchase.
There's many references across the internet on the needs of the customer, and essentially, they can be noted in the following six basic needs - interestingly these are from the Dummies guide to customer service, which explain it very simply:
Every time your customers do business with you, they are, without fully realising it, scoring you on how well you are doing, not only at giving them what they want, but at fulfilling six basic customer needs:
- Friendliness: The most basic of all customer needs, friendliness is usually associated with being greeted politely and courteously.
- Understanding and empathy: Customers need to feel that the person providing the service understands and appreciates their circumstances and feelings without criticism or judgment.
- Fairness: The need to be treated fairly is high up on most customers' list of needs.
- Control: Control represents the customers' need to feel as if they have an impact on the way things turn out.
- Options and alternatives: Customers need to feel that other avenues are available to getting what they want accomplished.
- Information: Customers need to be educated and informed about the products, policies, and procedures they encounter when dealing with your company.
Whilst some of these are not obvious - they are implicit when the customer deals with an organisation, and it's key that the business providing the service or product understands the customer journey, and that EVERYBODY involved in that process is fully engaged and understands the importance of the role they play in providing the product or service to the customer.
The challenge is, how do you achieve these ONLINE? Some are easier than others – like Control, Options/alternatives and information – but how do you get across empathy, friendliness and fairness to a customer using your website or App?
Applying the BugFinders Crowdsourcing solutions at an early stage of a web development project helps to get the feedback of real customers and users. Engaging feedback on different options, layout preferences or the general Customer Experience will save you time and money in the long run, and help boost that ever critical conversion rate. Not only that, but our Community of Testers will actively look for issues in real scenarios that your customers will carry out. Your Customer Service team will thank you for the reduction in complaints – and a happier workforce results in better service, you never know, customers might just let you know how good your site is and how much your service has improved, now that’s something refreshing!
If this doesn't happen - customer service teams who are on the raw front end of dealing with dissatisfied customers are often left feeling demotivated, and unhappy customer service teams providing poor service to customers does not bode well for any organisation trying to retain their customer base.
So whether reviewing customer feedback from meetings with them, monitoring social media postings, tracking complaints or just monitoring customer phone calls from your customer service department - consider this - what does your customer journey look like, and what experience do you want them to have, and what are they telling you it should look like? Then consider your website or app – does it mirror this, and are you continuously checking it meets your customers’ requirements?