Is your organisation's backlog of the development teams overcrowded? Then you may be of the opinion that investing in Customer Experience (CX) specialists is not a good idea at the moment. This is based on the assumption that the CX team will come up with suggestions for improvements for the website/app and therefore 'burden' the development backlog even more. Yet there is definitely added value in investing in a CX specialist, even when there is high pressure on the development capacity. PRECISELY when there is a high pressure on the development capacity…
Pressure on development teams
Due to the high demand for – and the limited availability of – developers in the market, many companies face a lot of pressure on their development teams. Only a part of the items on the backlog can be picked up per sprint. It is therefore important that the items are prioritised so that the items that provide the most value are picked up. That prioritisation is usually the task of the Product Owner (PO).
Value versus priority of backlog items
Prioritising is easy when there is a good balance between the number of items on the backlog and what can be picked up by the developers. In practice, we often see that this balance is hard to find. Several stakeholders then try to give their own item a higher priority. In that situation it is even more important to determine where the most value is actually located.
If this prioritisation is not optimally executed and low-value projects are given high priority, you are likely to spend a lot of money on development capacity that delivers much less value. In other words, the team's ROI in that case is much lower than it could be. And that is worrying.
How a CX specialist can offer a solution
The main goal of a CX specialist is to discover what the most important customer journeys are and where the greatest opportunities for improvement lie. Various research methods can be applied for this. Think of analysing heatmaps and session recordings to understand the behaviour on a web page. Or studying web analytics data to map out how visitors move around a website. You can create an overview from the collected research data by drawing customer journey maps or creating personas for the most important user groups. Everything contributes to creating focus on the most important problems; where solving these problems will yield the most value.
CX specialists thus optimise (digital) touchpoints by first of all creating insight into the user and his behaviour, wishes and frustrations. And by advising on the right solution direction; what works and what doesn't? Customer Experience Optimisation (CXO) is based on the belief that as an organisation you can achieve faster and greater growth by continuously learning and optimising.
Customer value prioritisation
This means that a CX specialist can help the PO and the rest of the organisation identify where the most value lies. In which customer journey, on which touchpoint, which step in the funnel, with which user group, etc. It is therefore the task of the CX specialist to provide insight into this for the rest of the organisation, so that everyone can make the right decisions based on this information.
In this way, the organisation will focus in a data-driven way on where the most value lies. They will initiate improvement proposals with more value potential, resulting in items on the development team's backlog that solve the right problems. The PO of a development team can also use the user insights of the CX specialist to make informed choices about which items of the development backlog to tackle first.
Optimisation without development capacity
In addition, it is important to realise that not all solutions need to be built by a development team. Some opportunities for improvement lie outside the 'user interface' or can be easily adjusted in the Content Management System (CMS). Also keep in mind that not all adjustments concern your website: you can also optimise marketing communications such as emails and landing pages.
CX specialists can therefore be of value at different levels. Precisely if the starting point is that there will be no additional development capacity in the short term, it is essential that the capacity that does exist is used for that which provides the most value. In that case, a CX specialist who can help with that is worth gold.
Is this relevant to you?
Think about what your team is working on right now and ask yourself the following questions:
- What value does it bring?
- When are we successful?
- Do we have insight into this through the data?
And also think about the preliminary phase: how and why did a specific item appear on the development backlog? Was that based on intuition or actual user insights?
- Do we have insight into the experience our users/customers have with our product?
- Do we know where the main problems lie and where the most value can be found?
- Do we have a good idea of the general wishes and frustrations of our users/customers, so that we can offer the right solution?
If the answer to one of these questions is clearly no, calling in a CX specialist can definitely pay off. This ensures that the right things are steered towards and that the right solutions are implemented. This way you get more value from your development teams.
Different facets of CX optimisation
Our CX specialists can work from different angles to realise more (business) value. At Digital Power we distinguish three categories within CX:
Product Analytics focuses on delivering value from a specific (digital) product, such as an app, website or software tool. We provide insight into how users deal with a product and where the product can be improved. For example, the goal may be that the product is used more often, longer and/or more actively. Product Analytics helps you determine where you can add the most value for users. This then helps you prioritise items on the development backlog. Read a case study about product analytics at KLM here.
Customer Experience Optimisation (CXO)
CXO focuses on mapping the overall customer experience – often across channels – translating it into a solid CX strategy. This approach allows you to identify the key pain points a customer is experiencing with your brand. This is where you then apply focus to make sure you are doing the right things. This also affects the value that your development team can add: they will also work more on the right things. Discover CXO in practice at Eneco.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
At Digital Power we define CRO as "optimising the (digital) touchpoints to achieve more desired behaviour with the focus on creating more business value". This business value varies from cutting costs to increasing retention and upsell. CRO specialists are particularly strong in the process-based optimisation of online funnels, using methods such as A/B testing to validate whether a specific change in the product achieves the desired result. Only the positively validated ideas are then picked up by a development team. More information about CRO, the pitfalls and how to professionalise your CRO process can be found here.
Want to get started with Customer Experience optimisation?
From one or more of the above perspectives, we are happy to help you realise more value from the available development capacity. We are happy to contribute ideas! Read more about Customer Experience here.
This is an article by Jasmijn Koster, Customer Experience Specialist at Digital Power
Jasmijn is a versatile and data-driven analyst who uses data to optimise the customer experience on websites and apps. Within an organisation she often positions herself between technology (IT/DevOps) and the business. She did this on behalf of Univé and ANWB, among others.
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