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Why the customer experience must drive your software testing strategy

By Mike Wager

Mike Wager

Mike Wager - 27 April 2021

The customer experience has continually become more digital over the years. No industry or person has been left untouched by this technological shift, none more so than during recent world events.  

But even when our lives return to some kind of normality, the use of digital will continue to grow in popularity. Organizations that have already recognized and adjusted to this change in customer behavior stand to benefit the most.  

However, this new reality is already upon us – China has seen a 55% increase in consumers permanently shifting to online grocery shopping since the pandemic. 

Lives have irreversibly changed. Your customers interactions with your business are more digital than ever. And with it, expectations have grown even more demanding. It doesn't matter what device, platform, or operating system your customers use; they don’t just expect it to work, they expect a seamless, amazing digital experience. 

No matter the industry, your digital customer experience is everything. And quality software is the backbone of your digital customer experience. 

And with 1 in 3 customers willing to leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, the stakes couldn't be higher. 

Fail to test your software and its impact on the user experience, and your customers will not fail to go to a competitor.  

Don’t just verify the customer experience, validate it 

Gone are the days of merely verifying software and its build quality against technical requirements. A piece of code may function as specified, but in the hands of the user, it could be confusing or irritating. 

 What's needed is a shift in mindset towards validation testing, which focuses on understanding whether or not your software satisfies the user's needs. 

This isn’t possible with verification testing because they are simply too many user interactions that can be accurately assumed or predicted. 

Even if someone could create a precise list of every user journey (they can't), the time needed creates a bottleneck that grinds your entire software development lifecycle to a halt. In the world of DevOps, no one has time for that. 

Instead, organizations need to stop concentrating solely on whether a piece of software works or not. In its place, they must implement a way of testing that understands how a user interacts with software. If the customer experience is essential to your organization, you must test from the user's perspective. It is that simple. 

Validation testing means quickly identifying bugs, errors, and problems with the user interface before your application ruins your customer's experience.  

Your goal should be to continuously improve your application's software, so it exceeds your users expectations and delivers on business outcomes. This approach — and there is no getting away from it — must be central to your testing strategy.  

Organizations that ignore this testing method and continue creating specification criteria will quickly discover their customers moving to their competitors without hesitation. 

But to validate your software, there is a small hurdle to jump over. 

Traditionally, validation testing is conducted by experienced manual exploratory testers. However, doing this manually makes it difficult to accurately repeat the same tests over time. It is incredibly time-consuming, hugely expensive to scale, and pretty hard to find people with the right skills and capabilities to actually do it. There is a way to make this easier  model-based testing. 

Improve the customer experience with model-based testing 

Model-based testing is an approach that puts the customer front and center during software development. It does this by using automation to test exactly how the user interacts with your software, instead of simply verifying it against a set of pre-determined specifications 

Every screen a user sees and every action they can take within the application is displayed within a model, so testing truly focuses on the user experience. 

And now the really clever part. 

Combine model-based testing with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and you can begin to intelligently test and monitor the end-to-end digital user experience throughout the development lifecycle.  

Conducting exploratory testing this way dramatically increases test coverage because test cases are auto-generated using real user data. Instead of only "happy paths," all possible user journeys are tested, helping uncover bugs even the best manual testers would struggle to find. 

Fewer bugs equal better products. Better products equal happier customers. 

But what about different technologies? Customers use numerous devices, across a range of browsers, on various operating systems.  

Well, the model has you covered there as well. Because the model tests what the user sees and does, testing can stretch across any technology, regardless of the codebase.  

It doesn't matter if it's an app on an Android device, a chrome browser on a Windows machine, or even something like Salesforce on an iPhone; the model and the same test case can be used to test it all. 

The future of digital customer experience testing 

Digital customer experiences aren't going away. The likelihood is that they will become even more dominant in the way customers interact with organizations. And this goes for B2B, not just B2C. 

Understanding how users interact and use software is crucial to optimize the customer experience and deliver on business outcomes. Merely verifying if software works must be phased out and replaced with a user-centric model-based approach. 

By combining AI with test automation and computer vision, Eggplant can handle testing some of the most complex applications there areEggplant helps your organization: 

  • Automate testing across any technology at every layer in any way. 
  • Optimize the customer experience by testing real user journeys. 
  • Undertake flexible and powerful image and OCR testing so whatever the user sees is tested, regardless of the codebase. 
  • Speed up test cycles and increase test coverage to hunt bugs proactively. 
  • Create exceptional digital products that delight customers and deliver business outcomes.   

Learn more about our user-centric approach to testing and how it can help your organization deliver quality digital experiences your customers deserve.