Whether mobile, web or desktop, digital apps are more prevalent than ever. The end-user experience can make or break the digital apps of a brand and in turn have a huge impact on the overall success of that brand. A recent Perfecto study of 1000 enterprise web and mobile professionals found that 81 per cent of respondents view the digital experience as crucial to their business success.

Whether your apps are designed to generate profit through sales and subscriptions or to build brand engagement and product recognition, the burning question facing organisations today is this: “how can I deliver a high-quality digital experience to my end-users?”
With 4 out of 10 digital purchases now involving more than one device, the purpose of digital must be to unite web and mobile assets and deliver a memorable, consistent user experience across channels. Perfecto’s study showed that 76 per cent of businesses have a digital presence across both web and mobile, but 67 per cent still cite delivering a reliable and consistent digital experience across these channels as a major challenge. The biggest challenges to be aware of in delivering an optimal customer experience are having extensive knowledge of the customer, creating close communication between the business team and the developers, and testing the app for real-world success.

Understand customer needs

At the core of your digital app strategy needs to be a deep understanding of your user. This means anticipating their needs, most desired functions, preferred forms of engagements, most commonly used devices, and more. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be guess work.

Businesses now know more about their customers than any other time. With the sheer amount of data being generated, collected and analysed, leaders have far deeper insights into the behaviours of their target users. CVS, one of the giants of retail pharmacy, is a great example of a game-changer success story in this space.

The company recognised a customer need for coupons and incentives while shopping, and have begun using Google’s “nearby beacons program” in its mobile app. CVS is among the first to include this feature, leveraging the technology in its app to not only track customer movements while shopping, but to improve their experiences in the store and alert them when they are nearby. This has been a very successful venture for CVS, creating a high-quality digital customer experience.

Customer expectations, however, can also stem from the wider market and from device manufacturers. It is particularly important to make your apps as easily accessible and fast to use as devices allow. Many phone models are now able to scan fingerprints so consumers increasingly expect that even highly-secure apps, such as financial and banking ones, can be quickly accessed with a single touch instead of a lengthy passwords. And with Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 7 also incorporating an iris scanner, you can soon expect to see apps building in this convenient security feature.

Put marketers and developers in the same room

Knowing your customer and their expectations helps to envision a high-quality customer experience – and once it is envisioned, it can be developed. This process requires the business and app development teams to be in sync.

The two worlds – technical teams that build and release great digital products and marketing teams that measure the leads and conversion rates that come from digital engagement – must collaborate at every step.

A survey found that 77 per cent of organisations feel as though siloed information and processes are hindering them from achieving optimal performances, but that they don’t have the solutions necessary to break down those barriers. The necessary solutions – building a human bridge, having a mutual goal between the two teams, and making quality job one – are available to assist in fruitful collaboration and to produce the customer experience that your organization hopes to create but feels out of reach.

Keep calm and carry on testing

Most businesses’ app testing and quality assurance (QA) teams carefully test the ‘functional’ aspects of their apps, i.e. make sure that critical functions such as downloading to payment processing, and everything in between is working. This testing is important, but it is becoming critical to look deeper.

By their nature, mobile apps will be used from different locations and under different conditions, forcing your teams to consider various factors and user conditions. This in turn requires the ability to test in environments that accurately mimic real user conditions. And although 79 per cent of developers are testing in these environments, nearly all view it as challenge to some degree.

Testing for unique usage patterns, environments and real user conditions that your customers experience every day is critical to improving mobile quality and preventing user churn. The growth of the digital landscape, and the industry’s continuous development makes it challenging for businesses to keep up and ensure a high-quality experience across devices.

Understanding and predicting your customers’ needs and creating the web and mobile applications that meet them will be the first step. But to keep users engaged, visiting on a regular basis, and avoiding having your apps resigned to the discarded pile, will require the ability to test and deploy quickly and continuously. And if enterprises can master the art of meeting customer needs across the digital landscape, they will be the ones to capitalise on the ever growing amount of time that consumers are spending on digital platforms.

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About The Author

Mobile Technical Evangelist, Perfecto

Eran Kinsbruner is the Mobile Technical Evangelist at Perfecto. Formerly CTO for mobile testing and Texas Instruments project manager at Matrix, Eran has been in testing since 1999 with experience that includes managing teams at Qulicke & Soffa, Sun Microsystems, General Electric and NeuStar. He is also the co-inventor of a test exclusion automated mechanism for mobile J2ME testing at Sun Microsystems and has vast experience in the mobile testing world.