Humans Need to Connect.
Customer feedback is universally regarded as critical for business success. It is often used to evaluate existing features and plan new features or to leverage information for marketing purposes.
Most of us are familiar with the ever-present star-based ratings. App stores rely heavily on this type of user feedback as well as web portals that help us find a restaurant. From YouTube videos to rating doctors online — giving feedback and taking in feedback to guide decisions has become a crucial part of our modern-day reality and our interactions with companies and brands.
Customer Centricity is a Team Sport
Insurances are customer-centric in their very nature. They are more than a necessity — we all need to have them to prevent severe financial damage. Insurances are companions in our lives, a reliable source to turn to when we need support to navigate through troubling situations.
To optimally support that, we at Kaiser X Labs believe that the complexity of insurance processes can be resolved through experiences. To create experiences that are tailored to our customers’ needs, we have a strong team of dedicated designers, researchers, and developers working hand-in-hand to build experiences and solutions that matter. It is common practice to involve User- and UX-Research as early as possible to create and develop products as close to possible users’ preferences as we can anticipate in that stage. But there is only so much we can anticipate before a product goes live and people start using it in real-world situations. There are only so many user tests we can conduct, and only so many testers we can interview. In the end, real users have more nuanced preferences than we can know, and there is only so much context for a product that we can recreate in testing scenarios.
From Customer Feedback to Continuous Customer Feedback
Giving feedback and using feedback to guide decisions has become a crucial part of our modern-day reality. The often five-star based feedback options provide us with the opportunity to broadly locate our experiences on a scale usually from something like 1 — “really not that good” to 5 — “really good”. Averaging those numbers across a lot of people is a good first indicator of how well something is being perceived. It is a good way for a certain level of quality control. But how could customer feedback be more than that?
We think about customer feedback as an ongoing conversation. It begins in the research phase with interviewing people and testing design ideas to guide the development process. Once a product is launched, that dialogue with the users can and should be maintained, it is just not feasible to achieve that in person. Here is where we need technological solutions. There are always opportunities to improve products and to make them more pleasant to use. And of course, it does not hurt to learn when we do things well — that always gives an extra boost of motivation and happiness.
This process is all about open communication. From other companies, like Lemonade, who openly shares that they are not perfect yet but working on it, we can learn how to stay even more connected to our customers. And with the help of customers who take the time to give feedback, companies can achieve open communication and provide a better service experience for the customer. At the end of this scenario, not only do companies benefit from feedback but the customers do as well.
Build. Measure. Learn.
From minor design improvements to fixing major usability issues — there is always room for improvement. But we can only improve things that we are aware of- the small things and the bigger ones. To improve, we need a continuous feedback solution that motivates the users to share their experiences with us. Learning about users’ experiences in their everyday lives is critical to plan the next steps.
Our graphic above shows a typical build-measure-learn cycle. It works with a spring-like logic, where existing information is continuously evaluated to plan the next actions. Improvements will be developed and their impact assessed on measures of satisfaction and engagement. Frequency, and the duration of engagement, is closely monitored. This cycle allows us to continuously learn and improve products in a way that is most relevant to our customers.
However, sometimes we learn that changes don’t have the intended positive impact. In a recent insurance project, we noticed a sudden decrease in NPS (Net Promoter Score) at a digital service touchpoint. As it turned out, one of the last changes we made was to make it mandatory to provide an email address, which previously was not the case. Customers did not like that and gave feedback accordingly. Closely monitoring the feedback information here enabled us to quickly act and make the necessary adaptations. Changing one field option might not seem critical, but if a small detail like that leads to customers not using the digital service altogether (because they don’t want to provide their information at that point), then this small change might have a big impact after all. It is all about the details. Major issues always make themselves known, but it is the accumulation of small changes that can have big effects in the long run. If we learn as much about them as possible, we can stay on top of things and make the appropriate adaptive decisions.
Combining UX Research and Customer Feedback
How exactly can we address users optimally? How can we positively influence their willingness to share feedback with us? For us, at Kaiser X Labs, the answer lies in connected contexts. It is a solid first step to implement feedback options at fixed points on a web page or in a digital service. Those embedded implementations are always present and open to anyone who wants to give feedback. But the numbers clearly show that not everyone wants to do it this way or at this point. We believe that it is critical to learn more about the customers’ experience with our digital solutions. In the right research setting that is rather easy to achieve. We can interact with our participants and ask them questions, but we don’t have those options once products are launched. We do, however, have the luxury of a large sample (i.e. everyone who interacts with our product). Tracking technologies like Google Analytics or more advanced mouse tracking techniques allow us to learn, not just that a customer is using our product, but also how exactly he or she interacts with it. If the recorded user behaviour is significantly different from most other users then maybe something is more difficult for them. Or they don’t like it. Or they are just distracted because they have to take care of their child at the same time. We don’t know for sure, but we can make informed assumptions and just ask them.
Imagining Customer Feedback 2.0
Moving forward, we strongly believe in the advantage of combining UX Research, Development and Data Analytics to create an innovative, continuous customer feedback solution with which we can address our customers more personally than it was possible before. The more we learn about how exactly our customers are experiencing the interaction with products the better we can ask the right questions at the right time.
Written by Matthias Mückhoff, Data Scientist, Kaiser X Labs. 2020
Editor Jenny Schminke, Communications Manager, Kaiser X Labs. 2020