Testing Customer Touchpoints
When testing a product, testers often are focused on which flow the user executes or how the user interface looks. It can be easy to neglect how support processes such as call verifications, email communication, online chat, and service request processes function. Does a user receive a welcome email upon joining the site? Does he get a verification call from the company? How is a complaint from a user handled?
These are all examples of customer touchpoints: the interface of a product or service with users before, during, and after a transaction. Touchpoints go a long way toward defining customer experience and an organization in general.
How user feedback is handled also builds credibility to the organization’s care for the users. If an email complaint from a user is never acknowledged or responded to, she likely wouldn’t try contacting the organization again. Instead, she would complain online in a forum or over social media, sharing her poor experience with millions of people and possibly discouraging others from buying the same product or service.
Key touchpoints include:
- The organization’s website
- Its brick-and-mortar store
- Calls and text messages
- Chat channels
- Service requests
- The field service team
Measuring Customer Touchpoints
Products have to be tested for different touchpoints to measure users’ experiences. Consider an example where the user needs to call a call center in order to activate a new cell phone number. Testers could use a questionnaire with queries such as:
- How long did it take to get to the call center analyst?
- Was the analyst courteous while communicating?
- Did the analyst take corrective action appropriate for the situation?
- How did you feel about the entire interaction?
These questions might seem unrelated to testing, but it’s just that instead of testing the product, they’re testing the process. And if we don’t test the processes that serve our users, the products themselves will fade away.
Another technique to measure customer touchpoints is recording calls and emails from customers. The traditional approach is to measure response times in seconds or minutes, but this leads to analysts responding to customer calls or emails in the quickest possible time rather than focusing on actually solving problems. Many call recording procedures now are monitored for studying the patterns of calls and improving the effectiveness of resolving customer issues.
The goal is always to provide users with a delightful experience, but this can be especially important when it’s in response to an initial customer complaint. Bigbasket.com is one of the leading online grocers in India. Bigbasket has a no-questions-asked return policy and compensates a customer every time it is not able to deliver as promised, resulting in high customer loyalty and repeat business.
It is becoming increasingly important to create good customer touchpoints because users are no longer looking just for products that serve their needs—they also want engaging experiences while using the product.
Parimala Hariprasad will be presenting the tutorial User Experience Testing: Adapted from the World of Design and the session How to Design a Custom Mobile App Test Strategy at STARWEST 2015, from September 27–October 2 in Anaheim, California.