We've all had the experience of having a mobile app updated or having our organization roll out new software only to ask ourselves, "who created this thing? It's so confusing!" or "This seems like it was designed by someone who has never had to do...X." The impacts can be low usage, adoption, calls to the contact center, or users taking their business elsewhere.
Creating a great customer digital experience requires real customers input. Organizations spend time and money picking the best partners, technologies, and content, but can fall short in a critical area. The most common mistake or shortcut projects take is not sourcing actual customers for participation in discovery, therefore missing the true customer needs. Below are some constraints I've seen and how to solve.
- Finding Actual Users - Project or product teams might not have access or a clear idea of who is using their product and don't know how to start engaging them. Engage the product or market research teams to find out who the organization is interacting with and what analysis has been conducted so far. Organizations may collect the Voice of the Customer from online surveys, contact center notes, customer interviews and focus groups. For smaller products, looking at direct communications to the business users should produce a group of either engaged or frequent users.
- Meeting the Timeline - Project timelines are tight and getting external users takes some scheduling. Not planning a mobilization period to identify users, reach out and schedule, and preparing the interview framework can lead to sloppy discovery and rushed requirements. Be prepared your users might not drop everything they're doing to talk to you about your app and be flexible when they can talk.
- Incentivizing the Users - Simply asking users for their input or feedback doesn't present a compelling offer. Put yourself in the users shoes and think about what they want to hear to get the conversation started. While some users will be happy to be heard and part of the process, make sure you're letting them know their input will be heard and acted upon. For new products, cash incentives or discounted product subscriptions might get them to agree to meet. Use this opportunity to start building an on-going relationship with individual customers, come back to them with designs and prototypes, get their feedback and use them as a litmus test for your design.
Are you planning to engage actual customers for your next digital customer project?