Whatever you want to accomplish, whether on the internet or with your business, there’s most likely a software to help you do it with ease. To put this flood of software in perspective, think about the marketing world for a moment.
In 2011, there were just about 150 marketing software. In 2016, the number had grown to 4,891, and a year later, it stood at 5,381.
The Saas (software as a service) industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. If you’re thinking of developing a software, chances are, there are other software on the market that can already do what your software plans to do, maybe even better. So to stand out, provide memorable customer experience, apart from creating a great software of course.
A Walker study has revealed that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. In other words, lower prices or a great product idea don’t matter if your customer experience is crappy.
The question is, why does customer experience suck with some software? Consider the following reasons.
1. Poor or no market research
Some businesses do not carry out proper market research before creating and/or adding features to their software. And you know the worst part? They may think they’re providing a wonderful customer experience when customers do not agree with such assertion.
According to Bain, 80% of companies say they deliver superior customer service, but only 8% of customers agree that these companies deliver superior customer service. Don’t be a victim of such faulty reasoning.
Even after creating your software, where I’ll assume you performed sufficient market research, survey your customers to discover how they’re getting along with your product. Ask them what features they want to see in addition to already existing ones. Where possible, implement features the majority are asking for.
In my experience, if for some reason you can’t swiftly implement new features, your customers will still be impressed and happy you gave them a chance to air their opinions. It may seem insignificant, but it counts for better customer experience.
2. Terrible technical performance
We can’t rule this out completely. If you’ve used as much software as I have, you’ll realize that some are just whack. Bugs, poor design, horrible user interface, useless features, and a host of other problems can result in a terrible technical performance for your software.
Many companies still underestimate the value of quality assurance and testing and as a result, put themselves at greater risk of upsetting their customers and ruining customer experience. Apart from hiring great developers, here are some recommendations to reduce such risk due to poor technical performance.
- Create a thorough test plan including performing tests at normal conditions and “high activity” conditions to see if your software can hold its own without any glitches.
- Plan for situations when you need to move your software from one computing environment to another by using containers. According to the folks at Avatier, “when each unit is isolated in a container, a failure in one container module won’t crash the entire application.”
- Whenever possible, make important changes mostly during maintenance periods or slow business times.
- Hire professional software QA (quality assurance) testers. They will check your software for bugs and other problems, and give you reports on its usability while suggesting improvements where necessary. This will save you money and prevent disruption which can be costly.
3. Wrong assumptions
Similar to poor market research but different enough to warrant its own blurb, wrong assumptions can ruin your customer experience with your software.
Wrong assumptions can be made about software requirements and specifications, production timeline, teams’ abilities, and several others. The point is, there are many assumptions that must be made during software development so it’s only normal that some assumptions will be wrong. This can lead to bugs during development and maybe production.
Sometimes employees in some companies are affected by Confirmation Bias or Groupthink, and they subconsciously let internal affairs of the company affect their opinion on what’s proper or not proper for their product.
One way to solve this is through open communication. Allow responsible individuals to openly and frankly discuss any critical issues that may affect the software and the development process. “Responsible” here means the most qualified persons.
It’s common practice in some firms that executives call the shots, although they’re not outrightly qualified to do so.
If you have any doubts about your employees’ suggestions, you can hire an independent software consultant to give a balanced viewpoint. They’re often not wired to defend any parts of your software, and your firm’s internal concerns will not affect their opinion of what’s right or wrong. The same can be said of QA testers mentioned earlier.
Do your best to eliminate wrong assumptions while building your software, because it will ultimately improve customer experience and you’ll likely have a fat bank account to show for it.