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Showing posts with label Customer Experience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Customer Experience. Show all posts

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Top 5 Reasons for investing in Customer Experience

Gone are the days when the key to success in business is determined by a premium quality product/ service, value for money and good customer service. In this age of extreme competitiveness led by disruptive technologies and the allied digital transformation services, the key to success of any business lies in the Customer Experience that you are delivering. With the widespread reach of social media and real time interactions via the internet, the room for customer expectations has become broaden. The Customer Experience in this digital transformation era represents more of a cumulative experience of multiple touch points which results in a long term real relationship between the business and the customer. But how to create and deliver the most appealing customer experience is the question the business world is facing now.

Let us have a look at the Top 5 reasons for investing in Customer Experience
  1. Drive loyalty: Enhance brand loyalty through engaging programs and gamification
  2. Increase Revenue: Develop Omnichannel experience to create multiplier effect
  3. Improve Customer Service: Understand 360 degree customer view to contextualize interactions
  4. Reduce Customer Churn: Know how to keep your customer sticking to your brand
  5. Competitive Advantage: Enhance data capturing analyzing capabilities to gain a competitive advantage

The business value of a great customer experience is enormous which prompts the global businesses for putting the strategy, funds and processes in place to build an effective customer experience practicing. Those who are making necessary changes to strategically prioritize CX will definitely win an upper edge over the competitors.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

How to Select the Right Set of Devices for Mobile Testing?

Mobile phones have been a great revolution of mankind. Big static land phones have slowly got obsolete and mobile phones are now an indispensable part of our everyday life.  In today’s world, almost every person owns, at least, one phone and a few have more than one. The smart phones’ entry into the market have made people go crazy and it is the gadget in which people are so dependent that without it they would feel lost. It is now very evident for almost all the industries that it is easy to reach customers via apps. Most of the mobile solutions are dependent on the new age disruptive technologies. Compared to other computing devices the reach of mobile/ smart phones is huge. With its accessibility/ availability to the high profile business magnets to a road side tea seller, mobile phones have filled up the so- called “digital divide” to a larger extent.

Challenge
From its traditional role as a mere communication tool, mobile phones have now become multipurpose gadgets used for both personal and professional uses, which creates opportunities as well as challenges like both sides of a coin. Technology shifts, proliferation of devices/ operating systems are creating challenges for hardware manufacturers and application developers in terms of developing and rolling out new products or updating it. The mobile application testing across various devices and platforms has now become even more challenging. As there are quite a lot of mobile makers in the market it is almost impossible to ensure that proper mobile testing is done on all the devices, and to a certain extent, it is not required as well. Digital modernization has encouraged people of any age group to manage their important data or images in the cloud, rely on apps that can work as reminders, use messengers to keep in touch and many more. As the wants have now become basic needs, one of the key areas that should be in focus is the Customer Experience. The user’s geo, age group, and the targeted group of customer’s info is crucial in deriving the best customer experience the user can have. However, yet another point to be remembered is that in the competitive mobility  arena ‘go to market’ time has reduced much and if you delay, someone else will take over that place. Hence, quality has to be ensured in a short span. These facts will drive anyone to be choosy about the devices when it comes to validation.

Let us have a look at the various devices that need to be considered for any mobile application testing.

Solution
By considering a couple of parameters, we can nail down on the devices on which app needs to be tested.

Parameters to be considered are –
1.    Type of devices
2.    Form Factors
3.    OS

Type of devices –
Now a days, most of the apps are made available in almost all types of devices and hence we need to ensure that the User Interface and User Experience Testing parameters for the app are met in all types of devices including phones, tablets and phablets.

Form Factor –
In most of the cases, the size of the screen is miss-understood with the resolution of the screen. These are the two exclusive parameters to be considered. Resolution is the number of pixels on the screen, irrespective of the screen size. How the app looks and objects placement on the screen are dependent on this parameter. There could be two devices of screen size 5 inch but their resolution might differ.

Mobile Testing

OS (iOS, Android, Windows and BlackBerry) –
The app is always built with the combination of new development and third party features or services, in the end product. There is a possibility where a developer would have tweaked third party features to meet the product’s requirement. Hence, we need to ensure that the combination of all these features works fine in multiple OS and their different versions that are majorly in use. There is no point in testing outdated versions of OS as the users will keep on moving towards the updated versions. But this has to though through as to which is the oldest version that we need to support for.

Matrix of devices shortlisted for testing
Note –

1.    Below information is as per Gsmarena.com.
2.    Only iOS and Android is considered in the below matrix to explain the exercise.

Type
Device Resolution OS versions Size (inch) Test Type
Android Tab Nexus 10 2560 x 1600 5.X.X 10 Func & UX
Android Tab Nexus 7 800 x 1280 5.X.X 7 UX
Android Tab Micromax Canvas Tab P470 600 x 1024 pixels 4.4.x 7 Func & UX
Android Phones Sony Xperia Z5 2160×3840 5.1.x 5.5 Func & UX
Android Phones Nexus 6P 1440X2560 6.x 5.7 Func & UX
Android Phones Samsung Galaxy S4 1080×1920 4.2.2 5 Func & UX
Android Phones Moto G 720×1280 5.1.1 5 UX
Apple Phones iPhone 5s 640 x 1136 iOS 7 4 Func & UX
Apple Phones iPhone 5s 640 x 1136 iOS 9.x 4 Func
Apple Phones iPhone 6 750 x 1334 iOS 8.x 4.7 Func & UX
Apple Phones iPhone 6s 750 x 1334 iOS 9.x 4.7 UX
Apple Phones iPhone 6s Plus 1080 x 1920 iOS 9.x 5.5 UX
Apple Tab iPad Air 2 1536 x 2048 iOS 9.x 9.7 Func & UX
Apple Tab iPad mini 2 1536 x 2048 iOS 8.x 7.9 Func

Though the above list is handpicked list of devices, it looks exhaustive and very difficult to test in all of them. The idea here is to cover all the form factors, OS and types of devices with different brands and hence the list seems to be big.

There is no shortcut if we have to validate the functionality in different OS versions and User Interface & User Experience factors in different form factors. Hence, the combination of devices and OS selection are done keeping these facts in mind. For different versions of OS, functionalities are validated to ensure that the newly developed piece of code and third party features are working fine without any functional flaws. For different Form Factors, UX parameters are validated to make sure that all the object in the screen are fitting properly  inside the screen as per the decided mock ups and there are no overlaps or partially hidden objects.

While we do functional validation on different devices it is obvious that you will make out the UI and UX glitches. So when you are testing only User Experience related scenarios you would know what is covered along with the functional testing and more focus has to be shown in the other areas.
One should always keep an eye on the market to know about the new devices or versions of OS or browsers that come to market and see if they fit into the above table. With this exercise, it is easy to arrive at the devices to be considered for testing.


Despite the short development cycles, go to market pressures and increasing competition in the mobility arena, it is key to do the mobile application testing across multiple devices and platforms and it is daunting too. Effective and timely mobile testing can enable device makers and application developers in collecting appropriate metrics that improve the overall quality of products and will be able to deliver amazing customer experiences.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Is An OmniChannel Officer Inevitable?

The rapid advances in the technology landscape and proliferation of digital have taken customers beyond multi-channel to an Omnichannel retail experience. Global retailers that include the likes of Macy’s, Saks and Lowe’s have already moved in this direction enabling customers to shop anytime, anywhere and enjoy consistent and delightful experience.

Omnichannel retail aims at enabling sales initiatives through multiple channels – online, brick and mortar stores, social media, events, mobile, and the usual traditional sales efforts; at the same time creating consistent and uniform customer experience at each sales touch point. The channel operations are connected at the back end to provide the integrated, customer specific information whenever required. The availability of customer information across all channels through regular information sharing enables store representatives and online customers view the same data anytime, anywhere.

However, building an Omnichannel capability is easier said than done. It needs a totally integrated operation across all customer touch points - store operations, marketing, call center, and digital (which includes all forms of non-store-based commerce). This is made all the more difficult because the traditional organizational structure creates siloes.
To take an example, let’s look at product and customer data. Data is generated in-store through point-of-sale systems, e-commerce and m-commerce platforms, the contact center, and other systems.  This information is collected and stored across different systems because retailers have traditionally kept sales channels independent of one another. These systems generally don’t get the necessary attention to turn that data into real information assets. Rather than having a central repository that can syndicate product information out to the various channels, retailers create product assortments based on sales channels.
On the customer side, CRM systems are often struggling to get a single view of the customer. Customer information is among the most valuable assets in retail but it is rarely utilized properly. An order fulfillment system may be the lifeline of an Omnichannel experience but its deployment is usually deferred citing high investment costs, lack of integration with existing systems and lack of time and resources dedicated to deployment.

Technical problems apart, siloed skills create their own issues. Disconnects exist between retailer’s business and technical staff. Open conversations are rare between the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and the Chief Information Officer (CIO) around people, processes and technology. There are separate heads for all the functions - marketing, finance, merchandising, HR, stores, who report into the CEO or the President. Very few people who have the holistic understanding of the business requirements are available and all of them are among the topmost C-level executives. Unfortunately their hands are always too tied up to take up and drive an operation like the creation of Omnichannel retail capabilities.

Organization level ownership, commitment and accountability is needed to break these silos and to drive synchronization and alignment. Since such a capability cannot be built without active involvement, monitoring, facilitation and support from the leadership, the creation of a dedicated senior level position responsible for Omnichannel becomes an imperative for the success of this initiative. This will be the omni-channel   officer or Chief Omni Channel Officer, who has a good understanding of all the customer touch points, a holistic understanding of business needs and a direct reporting to the top leadership.

The Chief Omni Channel Officer will manage the development of strategies that will integrate the company’s stores, online and mobile activities; take on responsibility for systems and technology, logistics and related operating functions. It could also be a position different from the traditional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in the sense that it is becomes a P&L role where he/ she will also be looking after revenue generation activities along with a reasonable share of the profitability. Chief Omni Channel Officer will look after the store level/ digital level execution and will also be responsible for the ROI on marketing investment. Undoubtedly, the Chief Omni Channel Officer will have to play the prime role in accelerating digital growth while inseminating an organic acceptance of Omni-channel best practices across all departments of a company in such a way that it doesn’t affect the current high performing channels.

The ideal Chief Omni Channel Officer should be a candidate with an experience in store operations, call center operations, digital and marketing which is very hard to get. Someone with a strong digital/ marketing experience and exposure to the other business functions should be a good enough to handle the role properly.

Essentially, the operationalization of Omnichannel is an exercise in managing change and it should start at the very top with the leadership making it clear in no uncertain terms that this is one initiative that has been sponsored by them. All the stakeholders, right from the customer support executives in the stores to the senior C-level executives should brace up to whole heartedly support the initiative. Ultimately how effective an initiative has been depends as much on how it has been accepted as on how it has been implemented. This is critical to convert the Omni-channel investment into tangible long term returns and strategic advantage.


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Five Parameters That Influence Customer Experience

Here are Happiest Minds thoughts on what are some of the factors and parameters which influence these perceptions.

1.Expectation Management: Customer perceptions about the product or service depend on whether it meets, exceeds or falls below their expectations. Incidentally, these expectations are originally set and/or influenced by the brand. “Don’t make promises you cannot keep” goes the old saying and it continues to be true even in the digital world today. Sadly, we still have scenarios where providers raise expectations during the sales and pre-sales cycles but fall woefully short during execution, resulting in a negative experience.

2. Cycle Times: The digital age is about speed and agility. You cannot really take weeks to on-board a customer or days to address a complaint. Response times have to be in seconds and minutes, for example in acknowledging a customer complaint. Resolution times can of course be a bit longer, however it’s critical to keep the customer informed about the resolution status on a proactive and periodic basis. There’s nothing like a lack of updates to get customers mad at you. This sounds obvious and perhaps trivial and yet it’s mind-boggling how few companies practice and execute to this approach.

Customer Experience
3. Value for Money: Customer perceptions about your product or service are directly influenced by the value they derive for the money they’ve spent. Here it’s important to note that providing a good experience with a higher priced product or service is much better than a cheap product/service with a correspondingly cheap experience. ‘Never sell on price (e.g. my product/service is the cheapest) but always on value’ is something that all good sales specialists are well aware of. A focus on ensuring that customers get value for their money (before, during and after the sales transaction) goes a long way in creating positive perceptions about your product/service and your brand.

4. Integrated and consistent view: As multi-channel gives way to omni-channel, consistency and integration across channels becomes critical in influencing what customers feel about your product/service. There’s no better way to irritate customers than to give them a disjoint, inconsistent experience when they deal with you over multiple channels.

5. Transparency: Businesses often practice “Dark Patterns” – the art of hoodwinking customers with a multitude of fine print conditions, with the aim of trapping customers into products, features and services that they don’t want. I remember my father receiving a credit card that he had not asked for, being charged for it, and the hassle it took to return it and make the issuer refund the charges. Another example is the proliferation of companies being set up, with the sole aim of ‘building up the customer database’ – which means enrolling and on-boarding customers through dubious means. For those companies who want to make Customer Experience a core part of their business strategy, among my first recommendations would be to be totally transparent with customers. Junk the fine print and dark patterns, avoid hidden charges and surprises, and focus only on how you can make your customers happy.