Voice of the customer (VoC) is a research method that’s used to collect customer feedback. User experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) are elements of VoC that indicate ease of use, uncover new areas of potential, and can help to mend fractures in difficult-to-understand interfaces.
Studying what your customers actually value and catering to their wants can help to improve sales and increase brand loyalty. UX and CX testing isn’t new, but dynamic industry changes have led to new schools of thought and more effective ways to measure consumer feelings.
Usability testing: The power of five
Human factors testing is UX testing’s cousin. While UX focuses on what a person may like or dislike about an interface, human factors testing assumes that the user will harm themselves using a product and aims to eliminate that danger. For example, a UX portion of the study may be asking how easy a virtual temperature control program on a stovetop is. Whereas human factors testing will determine how easy the directions on the safety controls are so young children can’t burn themselves.
Eleanor Small, Ph.D., Johnson & Johnson product development manager, shared at the recent Insights Association X Event that 86% of all usability problems can be uncovered with a sample size of only five representative participants. This study has been verified by the Proceedings of the 2021 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care.
Even though such a small sample size is proven to yield accurate and representative results, management may be skeptical and hesitant to move forward without further market research. However, after realizing the accuracy and validity of the study upon the conclusion of the first round of testing, stakeholders will be encouraged by the results and understand the value a small number can have.
“ROI,” “KPI,” and “NPS” are standard metrics that business professionals know well and likely incorporate into business plans. These numbers historically have indicated aspects of success and have been used for forecasting future business direction. Yet, what happens when these metrics no longer accurately capture how a business is faring?
Customer-centric metrics can illuminate how customers view a product or service, how satisfied they are with the deliverable, and how much effort is needed to accomplish the desired goal. Every company should compile its own customer-centric metrics that are focused on the products and services it sells. For example, Anthony Schulzetenberg, Ph.D., LexisNexis senior UX researcher, developed a three-step approach to accomplish this.
- Identify use cases, such as sign-ins, searches, document views, and document delivery.
- Define key actions customers undertake – like how many sessions of searches, how long each session lasted, how many documents were viewed, how many documents were delivered, and the time spent on each document.
- Develop ratios to capture how customers actually use a website and how easy the documents were to find; e.g., document views/searches, document deliveries/engagement, and document engagement/views.
Making CX bolder
Another major CX-MRX (market research) takeaway from the X Event is that “neutral is synonymous with being white.” Kisha Payton, vice president, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at C Space, and Kenisha Thompson, senior strategy manager at Best Buy, shared how little aspects of life are geared towards the majority of people being white. When searching for an icon, the default color is white; you have to specify and narrow search results to find black icons.
Another example is that products catered to white skin, hair, and culture are the accepted as the “norm” and not marketed as distinctively white products. Products for black hair and skin are sometimes kept out of the beauty aisle and instead placed in an “ethnic” section. Payton and Thompson shared that this often leads to feelings of exclusion and confusion…because is ethnic not beautiful?
So, what will happen when white is no longer what the majority of people identify as? That time is not too far away. According to The Brookings Institution and US Census data, statistics project that the nation will become “minority white” in 2045. Companies should address advertising injustices and products and services need to better reflect this era’s average consumer.
UX, CX, HX, EX: Experience is the common denominator
Good experiences are desirable; bad experiences are not. Feeling valued, respected, safe – all these emotions and more are feelings people want to experience…again and again. Whether someone is identified as a user, customer, human, or employee in a given scenario should not overshadow that the desired outcome is a pleasant experience.
Consumers help to shape the products and services that businesses sell. Demand indicates when consumers favor your goods while declining sales usually indicate that something needs to be altered. Listening to the voice of the customer and making their experience the best it can be can dramatically and positively impact business.
For your VoC and UX/CX testing needs, contact us. We’ve been conducting customer intelligence studies for nearly 40 years.