Combining both Customer Experience (customer service, advertising, brand reputation) with User Experience (usability, interaction design), the Digital Customer Experience looks to understand and improve how people engage with your brand online.
With an ever-changing digital landscape for businesses, we are frequently exposed to innovative websites and applications targeted at online customers. To compete in such a fast changing environment, providing the best possible digital customer experience is the key to coming out on top.
Much like in person customer service, delivering the highest standard of quality online is essential for making long lasting positive impressions of your business with its consumers. The impact of both positive and negative experiences are far reaching, and can lead to great success or potential brand damage.
Risks of a Negative Digital Customer Experience
The first few seconds when visiting a website are the most crucial for online consumers. Studies have shown that a 10 second wait for a page to load will result in 50% of consumers abandoning ship and searching elsewhere.
Online consumers are spoilt for choice and tend to shop this way for their convenience. The speed at which we’re used to being served what we want has led to us being less tolerant and less patient.
From both a functional and cosmetic perspective, online products need to deliver in terms of speed and quality. First impressions count more than ever!
To mitigate risk, all user scenarios have to be carefully considered. From viewing products and accessing information, through to getting in contact and making purchases. Disruption to any of these can easily turn users away.
A product that has not been tested cannot guarantee a seamless experience, and by exposing consumers to adverse behaviours and bugs, a business is risking their brand reputation, customer loyalty and a potential loss in revenue.
The risks of negative exposure is heightened online too, with consumers able to communicate experiences to each other faster and more easily than ever before; in the shape of forums, online reviews/trust websites, and social media platforms.
How testing can improve digital customer experience
1. Reliable functionality
Testing aims to eliminate risk, and aid businesses in delivering high quality products to their customers. By thoroughly testing your applications from a user’s perspective, you can identify and resolve problem areas that would otherwise have been missed.
From a functional point of view, seamless and successful user journeys and working components can be assured. Cosmetically, visual anomalies and rendering issues can be addressed, ensuring that the brand is represented in the intended way, in both a trustworthy and professional manner to consumers.
2. Consistent experience across mobile and desktop
Users are now accessing digital products using an increasing number of platforms and devices. Testing conducted on the latest mobile and tablet handsets, and on a range of desktop platforms and operating systems is essential for organisations wanting to cover all bases and provide a reliable and consistent digital experience to their users around the world.
Whether consumers are using Windows or Mac, Android or iOS, consistency between platforms is extremely important and cannot be overlooked.
3. Improved performance and load times
As we looked at in a previous article earlier this year, the performance of your online experience is vital. Crashing websites due to unexpected visitor numbers regularly make the headlines, and can be damaging to even the most trusted of brands. A robust load and performance testing strategy will help you to understand the stability of your products when placed under stress, and show you where improvements must be made, to avoid unhappy and frustrated customers.
4. Increased security for your customer data
Despite the wide publicity of GDPR and initiatives such as Cyber Essentials, we’re still seeing weekly news about data breaches and hacks at large corporations. Only in June this year, Ticketmaster announced a breach affecting 5% of its large user base.
Safety and security of users’ data is essential for the reputation of any brand. Security and penetration testing, following guidelines such as OWASP should be scheduled regularly to allow ethical hackers to uncover and fix issues before release to the public.
5. Accessible for all
More than one in five people within the UK report having a disability, which is a spending power, known as the Purple Pound, of £249 billion. While rules, regulations, and even strict laws exist, organisations are still missing out on engagement with customers and clients that have access needs. The Click-Away Pound Survey 2016, states that “71% of disabled customers with access needs will click away from a website that they find difficult to use”.
Testing for WCAG compliance (the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) is just the first step in improving your applications. A combination of expert assistive technology checks (screen readers, screen magnifiers etc.) alongside real disabled user testing is also essential to improving the digital experience for all your customers, no matter what their need.
You can read more about the benefits of building accessible web applications here.
All businesses are expected to deliver customer satisfaction and exceed expectations in this competitive digital era. To do so, an advantage has to be gained in order to stand out. By implementing a good test strategy, risks to brand reputation and revenue loss can be minimised or mitigated. Bugs picked up in early stages of development will usually cost businesses far less to fix, then after end-consumers have interacted with a live product. Testing is truly at the heart of a quality digital customer experience.
If you’d like to find out more about Zoonou’s test services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team will get back to you. Need help reviewing your QA and test strategy? Please see our Test and QA Advisory section for more information. If you’d like to get in touch about anything else, please head over to our Contact page.