Laptop with charts showing website performance metrics on screen.
PHOTO: Lukas Blazek

How effective is your CX program? It’s easy to ask people in your company, who could give glowing reviews. Short surveys can provide a little insight. But these methods might only offer superficial results that aren’t very accurate or don’t provide the information you need to take your program to the next level. 

Accurate testing will tell you how well or poorly your CX program is performing today. It can also give you some important clues on how to improve your CX strategy for the future. 

By implementing the following three CX testing strategies, you can get more meaningful results.

1. Remove Bias

CX testing results biased by human subjectivity won't offer an accurate picture of how your CX program is doing. The results could be skewed, showing that certain elements are performing better (or worse) than they truly are.

“One of the simplest ways to improve your CX testing is to remove the element of human bias and subjectivity,” said Beau Pent, Sales Manager at GoCo. “To do this, you can either use a program that automates the testing process or test your data based on behavioral data that's already been collected.”

Familiarity, learning styles and cultural preferences prevent us from being able to objectively assess our software, Pent claimed. Removing subjectivity is a matter of relying on data rather than our personal impressions.

To avoid falling into bias traps, Pent explained you can use data like: 

  • Customer support logs
  • Call center transcripts
  • Chat records
  • Social media conversations

This type of data has already been analyzed for commonalities, which you can then use to test elements of your experience.

2. Cover Full Customer History

Testing CX requires a unified customer lifecycle that’s grounded in data and covers the whole customer journey, said Josh Koenig, Pantheon Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer.

“Watching for changes in your NPS is a fine place to start, but that’s not nearly enough. The ‘CX 101’ state is usually built around a few core metrics like NPS or CSAT, and business KPIs like churn and retention, which are good places to start," Koenig explained. “But without a concept of the customer journey or lifecycle — ideally including becoming a source of referrals in addition to just retention — it’s hard to know where to apply effort.”

Sometimes companies struggle to figure out the story of the customer journey; if you can’t walk the path in your customers’ shoes, it’s never going to happen, Koenig said. Other times, brands struggle to gather enough data to support an end-to-end view or provide the richness needed to plan actions and measure impacts in more complex areas of the experience.

Early in the customer's life cycle, you haven’t yet earned the right to ask questions — but you can look at your marketing funnel. Later, when looking at gathered data, you'll have to understand those metrics in the context of who the customer is and where they are in their journey. Any changes you make to the holistic customer experience should be based on a hypothesis that will be proven right or wrong in this data. 

Related Article: Are You Asking the Right Customer Experience Questions?

3. Ensure Testing Goes Deeper Than Surface Information

By improving the testing of its CX program, executives at SBO.net thought they could improve the program and the company’s results, said Mario Cacciottolo, Public Relations and Branding Manager. 

“First our team started by analyzing our current situation. By looking at data, we found that we were hitting our numbers of expected traffic, but we weren't converting visitors to customers. People were leaving before clicking on content or engaging with our services. User polls had been helpful in the past, but they weren't pinpointing exactly what we needed to change."

To enhance their CX, they used Qualtrics heat maps to observe user scrolling and click behavior, Cacciottolo added. In the visual results, red "heat" graphics showed:

  • User clicks occurred mainly in the top half of the home page
  • The majority of clicks took place on the "tips" blog content
  • Most users stopped scrolling about two-thirds of the way down the home page

“Our team identified that our website layout and content organization needed rearrangement,” Cacciottolo said. “To re-test our user behavior, we moved our ‘buy-in’ service to the header portion of our home page and moved "tips" blog content to the top half of the page.

"When we conducted heat maps again after 90 days, we noticed that more users scrolled through the entire home page due to a shorter length, and our buy-in/booking button clicks increased by 82%. We find heat maps to be the most helpful way to improve CX, since they provide data for short-term and long-term results.”

Related Article: How To Turn Online Customer Behavior Into Actionable Insights

Gather Accurate Data, Get Better Results

The more you know about your customers, the better you can make your CX program. But some data, especially when looked at with bias or without context, can lead to unhelpful or inaccurate takeaways. 

By mixing traditional data collection — such as surveys and chat records — with innovative new behavioral metrics — like heat mapping and click behavior — you can better understand your customers. As a result, you'll be able to optimize your CX program and elevate your brand as a whole.