If you’re looking to improve customer experience (CX), you’re probably already well-versed in the following research and analytics tasks:
- Customer interviews and surveys
- Usability research
- Mouse tracking and heat map analysis
- Card sorting and tree testing
- Social listening
- Cohort analysis
- A/B testing
Every element is crucial in helping you build a site that serves your customers and business goals. However, at Speero, we’d argue that nothing plays a bigger role in CX and UX work than testing and experimentation. Here’s why.
Why test at all?
It doesn’t matter what industry you work in or how many years’ experience you have; until you test out changes and features on actual users and get concrete data, your ROI will be sub-optimal. Testing and experimentation will help you get inside the minds of your visitors and understand how they use your site - and whether they’re finding what they need. Consider also how often workforces change and how many projects face interruptions. Solid data will help you build a clear picture of your users that’s futureproofed against opinions, competitor analysis and passing trends.
One size doesn’t fit all
While there are widely known best practices to follow when it comes to UX work and website design,you won’t know if these changes provide value unless you carry out the right experiments.
Find out what is and isn’t working with your website
Improving the customer experience is all about fixing the bad and making the good even better. Sometimes, a few tweaks are all you need to improve your UX. You might also find elements that work well for your customers and can be replicated across the site.
Your users are unique
You might have a set of assumptions - or even folders of detailed research - about your target audience and ideal customers. However, until you collate data about your site’s actual users, you can’t be sure you’re serving them. This might mean you discover that they don’t even use the site the way you expect, or that they’re not in fact your intended demographic. Let the data make the decisions for you.
Common CX testing mistakes
Customer experience work can provide a wealth of benefits for businesses. However, it must be carried out in the right way to get the biggest impact. There are several areas where businesses fall short when it comes to CX testing.
Failing to check if your tests are working
The first thing you should do after implementing a new testing tool is to check that it works. You can do this with an A/A test, or by choosing something simple to test rather than one of your hypotheses..
This will help you iron out any kinks in your processes early on. Having you and your stakeholders trust the data is critical in the process. If there are issues there then your experimentation will be severely imparied.
Testing too many variables at once
It sounds obvious to anyone who took science at school, but even the most experienced CX professionals can fall into the trap of testing too many variables at once. This most likely happens when you assume the impact of another element you’re testing, or think you’ll be able to break down your data enough to tell which was more important. When you change many different elements of a site, it can be hard to determine which changes were effective and which weren’t, so take the time to test one at a time. It can be tempting to want to get large wins, but if you think of experimentation as ‘learning’ rather than ‘winning’ you realise that consistent, quality insights win out over the long term over 2 of 3 successful uplifts
A/B testing can help you to change one or two elements and see which change made a bigger impact. This helps you to only focus on the CX improvements that will provide the most value for your business.
Failing to prioritize your hypotheses
When it comes to prioritizing your hypotheses, more than compiling an arbitrary to-do list, make sure you’ve prioritized according to impact. We recommend using one of the following frameworks:
- PIE framework
- ICE scoring
- Speero’s PXL template
Having a system such as these helps when there are a large number of stakeholders, all wanting to test their ideas. Use this as a starting point to objectively looking at the impact, confidence and effort scores to help evaluate which to test first.
Which experiments should you use?
Your hypotheses and prep research will dictate the type of tests you carry out.
If you’re looking to experiment with button copy, for example, a simple A/B test will do. However, if you want to get more detailed, qualitative data from customers, then user interviews and questionnaires will provide a more in-depth understanding of your site. Think about what you are trying to learn and determine the best method for obtaining that information.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common CX research and test methods below.
Minute-for-minute, usability studies yield a high level of insights, provided your test script and scenarios are structured, but flexible enough to enable visitors to complete tasks as they realistically would. Thinking of them as research rather than validation helps uncover areas you may not have previously considered ones worth focusing on.
Interviews and surveys
Customer interviews can help you get real-life insights into what isn't working with your website. You can use this research method alongside A/B testing when redesigning your site or introducing new products and services.
Card sorting is an easy way to map out your website, so you have a site structure that provides value for your customers.
Use this method when you want to:
- Redesign or introduce a new section to your website
- Find out how your customers expect to see your products and services grouped on your site
- Compare how different people understand different ideas or concepts
- Create a customer-focused menu
A/B testing (or split testing)
A/B testing allows you to change different elements on a site to encourage or discourage certain behaviors. By leveraging the power of quantitative data you can run these to determine the statistical significance of your hypotheses.
Use this method for changes to:
- Your website’s design layout and functionality
- Products and services
You simply cannot improve your CX without carrying out experiments, and there are a whole host of different testing methods out there to choose from.
Carrying out the right research and experiments will help you to make more informed decisions for your business, and implement changes that will provide real value for your customers. This will have a knock-on effect on your sales, revenue and profits over time.
It’s combining these techniques which unlocks the potential of an experimentation roadmap. As you conduct more research and run more tests you will be able to identify where you need to focus and which changes are creating measurable improvements.