In today’s world, there is no business without customers. Businesses need to delight customers and exceed their expectations. Your customers can access a huge number of alternatives in the market at a mere click of a button. Just meeting the customer’s expectations is not enough. Customers have high expectations from the software products they use. When software products do not appeal to them, they do not hesitate from showing their dissatisfaction online. Ratings and reviews by customers decide the success of your application. Customers can make or break a brand.
CUSTOMER IS THE KING AND CUSTOMERS ARE BUSINESS.
Customer Obsession is not a new concept, organization’s started to adopt this mindset with the rise of Agile. The first principle of the Agile Manifesto states, “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”
Customer Obsession is the key to customer loyalty. Customer-obsessed businesses are more successful than their competitors. It ensures that your customers choose your products and services consistently over your competitors. In this article, we will discuss how to be a customer-obsessed tester and exceed the expectations of our customers every day.
WHAT IS CUSTOMER OBSESSION?
Customer Obsession is consistently listening to your customers by adopting a customer-first approach. Customer-Obsession is a mindset that intends to create a better customer experience by keeping the needs of the customer at the center of everything you do. The word “Obsession” may sound negative but in fact, when it comes to business and customers it’s a good thing. Obsession with understanding, delighting, and serving customers is the best way to give your organization a competitive edge in a highly disruptive technological era.
UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS BETTER
Understanding your customers, their expectations, priorities, and thinking from their perspective helps you to design better tests. A Customer-obsessed tester focuses on satisfying their customers by thoroughly understanding them and acting on those insights.
- As a tester ask these questions to yourself before you design tests.
- Who are our customers?
- What problems are they trying to solve using our software?
- What do they love about our product or services?
- Why did they choose us over our competitors?
- How, when, and where do they use our software?
- What features do they use the most and to what extent?
- What frustrates our customers?
- What are their pain points and what can we do to solve them?
- How can we add more value for them?
- Learn how customers test your software by –
- Meeting your customers, watching and listening to them as they use the product in front of you. You can also give them some tasks to complete during this session to evaluate the usability and usefulness of your product.
- Join the product team and get involved in customer interactions, requirements, feedback meetings.
- Asking questions, your curiosity as a tester will help you to seek an understanding of the customers, their needs, and how they really use the software.
- Learn from the people who are in direct contact with your customers. Talk to people from other departments like pre-sales, CSM, support who work directly with customers, and gather information about your customers.
- Leverage session replay tools that record the visitor’s journey to understand the user behavior.
- Get insights from monitoring, and product analytics tools to enhance the user experience by designing tests that reflect real user behavior
- Analyze the statistics about which devices, browsers, Operating systems, configurations that your customers use. Use automation to your advantage to battle the browser, device, and OS fragmentation.
- Rigorously ask for customer feedback (Surveys, NPS, Public reviews, etc). Providing feedback should be made easy for the customers. Leverage visual feedback tools like ZipBoard to capture customer feedback, issues, and improvements.
- Make the feedback data accessible to everyone including testers. Translate this feedback into meaningful insights. Working on customer feedback will help you continuously enhance customer loyalty, user experience, and customer satisfaction.
- Create a process to collect and analyze customer issues. Investigating the root causes of customer issues will provide you actionable insights that will enable you to take the required steps to prevent similar issues in the future.
- Treat your customers as your highest priority and welcome changes even at the late stages of development. Value is delivered when customers use your product. Be empathic in understanding the changing customer’s value. Embrace Test automation and Continuous testing to move at the speed of your customer’s demands.
- Do not limit your testing only to your product. Evaluate your API docs, User guides, Troubleshooting guide, FAQs, etc constantly work on improving them. Your documentation plays a key role in increasing your customer adoption and retention.
BE A USER FIRST, THEN A TESTER
Sometimes when testing the application with the intention of find flaws, we fail to use the application like a real user. To be effective as a tester you should be a user first. Your testing should mimic and reflect the ways that the customers use the application.
- Design test cases/automated suites that reflect real-user behavior and use realistic test data for effective testing.
- Regardless of how well you design your test cases or automated suite, without varied test data your testing is not effective. Use production-like data that mirrors real user usage and edge cases. Production data may contain variations like special characters, lengthy characters, whitespaces, Unicode, emojis, etc which may break your code.
- Devise a persona-based test strategy that will help you to cover the real user behavior and characteristics.
- Pay attention to your emotions when you are testing. Does anything make you feel angry, frustrated, annoyed, surprised, awkward, embarrassed, bored, scared, or confused? Make a note of them and use this valuable information to enhance your user experience.
- Eat your own dog food. “Dogfooding,” involves having your organization use its own product to validate its real-world behavior, usefulness, and usability.
- Organize Bug Bash to harness the power of your entire organization. Bug bashes are effective in finding bugs, product gaps, usability issues, and potential improvements before major releases.
- Shift right and test in production. Shift-right approaches enable testing teams to test their products on real user conditions. Shift-right activities include monitoring and alerting, as well as testing functionality, performance, and user experience by employing different controlled experiments that enable your team to be more confident in releasing new features quickly without impacting or reducing the impact to end-users.
- Application performance monitoring (APM) Feature flags
- A/B testing
- Blue-Green deployments
- Canary deployments
- Chaos testing – inducing controlled failures to build confidence in a system
- Beta testing/crowdsourced testing
Testing isn’t just about functionality anymore, focus on what matters to the customers by establishing a customer-obsessed culture. Get rid of the processes and practices that do not add any value to your customer. A Customer-Obsessed tester’s role expands beyond the traditional testing roles to serve as a quality advocate throughout the software development lifecycle to exceed customer expectations. As a Customer-Obsessed tester offer your knowledge and expertise to help other departments to attract new customers and retain existing customers.
Are you a customer-obsessed tester? How are you as a tester providing the best possible experience to your customers?