Here Are 6 Quality Questions For Testing Customer Journeys

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Customer journey monitoring is a key practice for aligning our organization towards the user experience. In a digital world, understanding the actual usage of our product is more than required. So how can we improve something we don’t measure?

We shared in previous articles about Where Quality meets Customer Journey Monitoring and The 5 Hidden Powerful Benefits of Customer Journeys, at the basis of our process. This article outlines the critical questions for implementing a valuable customer journey initiative.

Questions are an essential part of quality practice. We can use guides and models, but they lack the business context, a vital element of alignment. So let’s look at the questioning process for valuable customer journeys.

What are our business priorities, levers, and strategic areas?

First things first. We have limited resources to focus our effort, hence the importance to prioritize. Most test techniques benefit from a business approach, and customer journey monitoring is no exception; we need to start with our users and business.

This first step back is structuring to identify the focus area to truly work on. We can easily be biased with short-term priority and recency effects. A concrete practice is to ask the various stakeholders, especially sponsors and people acting on the investment, about the upcoming core initiatives.

Understanding our business priorities and underlying reasoning will give us what matters in the development of the organization. That way, we have the inputs to start working on our business-driven customer journeys.

What are the major business-driven customer journeys?

We need to balance various perspectives: the customers’ needs with our company value proposition, our current offer, and future offer, finally, our actual experience versus aimed experience. This context will give us the necessary context to identify the most relevant journeys.

Coming back to our effort, it must focus on today’s customer journeys on most active offers, while our plan will need to shift to our desired state gradually. This balance is key to maintaining our customer journeys up to date with reality and evaluating the gap with our expectations.

To support this stage, a traditional use-case approach with collaborative workshops is highly recommended to create a shared understanding, foster relationships, and usually get better outputs as a group.

Once we are clear on the journeys to focus on, we can identify its declinations.

What are the main experience characteristics?

Customer journeys are referred to as plural for being multiple but also have a set of variations. Marketing calls touchpoints the places and moments our users interact with our company. Digital experiences add a set of parameters.

The first element that comes to mind is identifying the desktop, mobile, and IoT devices in use. It is okay until we take the context into account. For example, if 80% of our traffic is on an Android smartphone, we can just take it for granted. But if we drill down to discover the usage is in a remote location with a low latency network, our customer journeys monitoring needs to reflect that setup to be aligned with the reality.

Therefore, a data-driven approach is required, not only for the beauty of dashboards but to align factually to what matters. Our analysis should not stop at the first reporting on devices; we must understand our various persona’s experience contexts.

The core customer journeys identified need scheduling, monitoring, and reliability from that point. We have to align the support IT systems.

What are the key supporting IT systems?

Customer journeys and IT alignment value lies in ensuring the functional and non-functional requirements will be met. Without the necessary IT capabilities, our customer journeys will just fail.

The first step is to decline the IT system touchpoints from our selected business-driven customer journeys. A recommendation is to do this exercise collaboratively to increase the understanding of the team. From that point, we know which systems are concerned in the first interactions.

Our next step is to map the test techniques and their implementation choices with each IT system identifying our requirements. For example, if we decide to use end-to-end functional testing with a refresh data set, each system supporting the customer journeys will have new data.

With this system alignment and the big picture, we can then drill down into the detailed requirements of each use case.

What are the user functional and non-functional requirements?

This stage aims to identify, like for the devices, the actual requirements of our customers. We must balance the actual and target user experience, for example, in defining the main user paths and acceptable loading times. A structured approach is to work on functional and non-functional requirements.

The functional requirements are derived from the use-cases. They must be completed with the analytics of actual customer journeys to reflect our user experience. Using session recording tools can be helpful at that stage, as the analytics composed of fixed data points is less aligned on the user experience motion.

Non-functional requirements are the most structuring and quickly forgotten; we usually find the need for reliability, testability, and availability. The concrete case is to create an account on an e-commerce website every minute, requiring stability of the platform and creating test accounts not considered in downstream processes.

Until now, we work exclusively with paper and post-its; that’s probably better and ore cheaper with the number of changes done. After that, we can start to think about reusing tests and leveraging automation. 

Which tests should I automate? Can I leverage existing tests?

Our test suite of manual and automated tests hopefully would contain part of the customer journeys we identified. The main gaps typically lie in the gap with the actual experience and test implementation; the work done in the previous steps makes sense here.

We can apply the same reasoning to this process during the implementation: focus on the business-driven ones, identify the touchpoints, specify the actual requirements. These elements compose the specification of our customer journeys that we can implement using our selected tooling.

A good practice is leveraging a subset of our test automation suite to execute it in production. Regular scheduling in this environment will improve the testability and reliability of our users. In addition, we will verify customer journeys in the test environments, limiting the risk of release impacts.

From there, we can iterate on our various customer journeys, leveraging the tooling for automation, alerting, and reporting.

Customer journeys monitoring is about Business

This proposed process starts and ends with our users and our business. It can seem cumbersome at some point, but the reality of a siloed test automation not creating value is too recurrent.

The investment made through this process improves the value of our quality effort. In addition, we support a joint alignment of the various stakeholders, from the product to the operational team. This is a pattern of a QAOps approach we discussed in this article.

The processes and tooling are structuring but must be derived from our business perspective. A good tooling will support visual alignment, cross-collaboration and integrate the various repository, execution, and reporting functionalities.

Cerberus Testing supports an integrated customer journey monitoring approach leveraging the test automation toolbox available. Iterate fast in the same interface from the definition, execution, and analytics of your customers.

You can use Cerberus Testing for free, letting you choose to Start Now.

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