A great user experience is critical to successful customer acquisition, adoption and ongoing use (retention) of your web or mobile application. Understanding how your customers use your application — especially what they value and where they struggle — will allow you to prioritize improvements to make the customer experience even better. In small and large agile project teams alike, there are a few commonly overlooked ways to find new customers insights, which any development team can use to make sure any application is as successful as possible.
Web Analytics: Understand The What, When and Where
Analytics platforms vary from product to product. Your application might be running a sophisticated analytics setup that requires business analysts and data scientists using Hadoop, Python or R, or, you could be using a user-friendly web platform like Google Analytics, Flurry and MixPanel.
Regardless of your setup, web analytics are always a great place to start gathering key insights. Even basic web traffic data can tell you a great deal about the “what, when and where” for your users: where they navigate from, when they use your app, which devices they use, how long they use your app (session length) and which features and functionality are used most often. Analytics reveal which parts of your app might be difficult to use (certain interactions aren’t happening) or which features aren’t being found at all (no traffic). Such insights can be the starting point for exploring which user experiences might need reinforcement, simplification or streamlining. As well, after launching a new feature, analytics are the easiest way to quantitatively measure improvements in customer experience, based on benchmarks of use you observed before the feature was launched.
Customer Service Representatives: Understand the Why
Sometimes Agile or Scrum project teams do talk directly to users, in order to understand their needs and top issues with customer experience. However, it is often very difficult for Scrum Masters to ask the right questions to root out the key issues. Customers can hijack these interviews as opportunities to pitch pet feature improvements that may only be relevant to them. Indeed, getting a large enough customer sample to really get a sense of the biggest issues across your user base takes time and money, which most teams can’t afford.
On the other hand, your sales team, product owners and customer service representatives (CSRs) deal with user issues day in and day out, and hear first hand which parts of the customer experience cause the most headaches, and which parts add the most value. Great CSRs use empathy to deal successfully with customers, and will have great insights into the “why” behind customer difficulty, which is essential to making improvements to customer experience. Take some time each month to sit down with one or more of your CSRs and ask them about the top issues customers are having, if new features are being adopted favorably and their insights into the ways the app could be improved.