“When are you going to collect the benefits of at least a 5% improvement in your business performance?” (Secret: Much more quickly than you think)

Posted by jasoneconomides

Last week we covered a simple method for quick starting your marketing. So let’s say you have now started, and you’re trying to get your business going, what would a 5% increase in your most important conversion metric mean to your business? And what would you pay to achieve that improvement?

In last week’s article I mentioned something super important relating to product launch success, and that is actually surveying your potential customers and adapting/developing your product or service according to their feedback. This is usually the job of Usability testing or UX “User Experience”. This is a topic of great interest to Eco Business academy clients and also a personal obsession of mine. I mentioned that one of the leaders in this field is Peter Hughes of ascest.com. Ascest run some amazing free webinars and bootcamps specifically designed to get business owners up to speed on this important process, and so I decided to bring Peter for a quick interview to give us all some tips on improving conversions by simply listening to our customers.

Eco Business Academy: Welcome to the ECO Business Academy Blog, and than you so much for giving us some of your valuable time to help our followers understand some of the basics of conversion success.

Peter Hughes: You’re very welcome, I’m honoured to be invited to talk to you all.

Jason: You have worked with some absolutely gigantic companies, so you have seen the profound effect of good usability testing and surveying the customer universe to see what they want. Is it difficult to increase conversions? What do we need to know?

Peter: Well, let’s start with a basic objective and I’ll walk you through how to ‘think’ about this process.

Do a very quick and rough calculation of the value of a 5% improvement to your sales, or average increase in customer order size, improved operational efficiency, etc. to your business.

I bet you’d be very interested in achieving that improvement, and to do so as quickly as possible.

Jason: Well sure, but most people find this very difficult to realise.

Peter: That’s true, but there is an ‘art’ or ‘technique’ to making this less difficult. The truth is that you can achieve that 5% benefit more easily than you might think and you’ll be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner once you learn the technique I’ll tell you about now.

The secret is to conduct UX/usability tests.  And they are pretty simple – at their core during these tests you observe someone using your product.  Only real customers count – not your colleagues, someone you know, or a relative.

If you haven’t done this already, then you are missing out on an important technique to fine tune your product/service and discover new profitable opportunities. You will instantly be able to see where exactly your customer pain-points are and where you can deliver value. It’s the closest thing to being able to read your customers’ minds…

Jason: Some people might be thinking, “This sounds great but I don’t have the budget and even if I did, how do I know if there will be a positive ‘ROI’ after embarking on such an exercise? Do I really need to do these tests?”

Peter: There are Massive ROI benefits: UX/usability tests are a powerful tool that can be performed for next to no cost and take very little time to set up and run. Cost should never be an excuse for not running tests. If it is, you’re not doing it correctly.

There is a common myth: We’re already running a survey and use analytics so there doesn’t seem to be any need to run additional tests…

That’s excellent. Keep running your surveys and collecting analytics about your business. You’ll be able to see where unexpected dips occur or where parts of your business are not achieving the goals you’ve set. However, numbers cannot tell you what customers (and potential customers) think of your offerings. A well-executed UX/usability test will be able to tell you (and it’s important that you investigate in the following order):

  1. How well do customers understand what your business offers (your USP)?
  2. How engaging do customers find your product? (Does it do what they need it to do?)
  3. How satisfied are they with the overall experience? (Do they find your product user-friendly and satisfying and so on)

The reason for investigating in this order is that it makes no difference how user friendly your product is if your customers don’t understand or value what you offer.

Jason: That sounds fair. What other benefits are there to doing these tests?

Well here are three benefits for you. The first one is the sheer amount of money you save your business from wasting on a product that would be doomed to fail. So, let’s say your particular product or service is online, well clearly software needs to be built – and that requires programming time, which is expensive.  If you do thorough usability tests you’ll discover issues with new product concepts before you write one line of code. This will save you enormous amounts of time and save you from wasting effort and resources building things your customers don’t value or want. We recently built and entire Apple Watch usability testing kit…..without either needing an actual Apple Watch or writing the app software. The kit enabled us to do a ‘mock-up’ of the app environment using nothing but a plastic model of an Apple Watch. The cost was negligible, yet the test revealed some startlingly if not embarrassingly simple design flaws in the flow of the user’s experience.

The second thing is that you build closer bond with your market as you’ll be able to promote that the benefits you offer have been developed in close collaboration with your customers.

Jason: And what’s the third thing?

Peter: The third thing is that you get to enhance inter-departmental cooperation. UX/usability tests provide an opportunity for all departments in your business to see first-hand how customers respond to your product.

Jason: It seems so simple, yet I’m guessing that not many people actually do this?

Peter: Yes that’s right.  It’s amazing really. You just need to read the hundreds of stories of how so-called ‘entrepreneurs’ started their companies. They are sitting at the bar or in their office, frustrated with a widget they have been using because it doesn’t work properly. So they say “I know, I’ll build a better widget, seeing as these guys clearly didn’t test their product properly”….then they proceed to build their own version, call it Widget 2.0. And what do they also do?  Just like the manufacturers of Widget 1.0, they don’t do any testing either!

Do the testing, make the changes, and see your conversions rise dramatically.

Jason:  In order to not get trapped in a complete state of overwhelm what do you suggest our audience do to at least get started and make immediate changes to their conversions?

Peter: Well our website is www.ascest.com, and we really recommend to look out for our public webinars that we hold from time to time.  We are also about to launch a very handy resource centre with a lot of free video tutorials, templates and e-guides as well as a number of resources which are in the premium section, at very affordable prices.

If you would like to learn how to make UX/usability testing part of your company’s product development process, or have any questions about UX/usability testing, contact Peter Hughes at [email protected] or call (646) 942 2929.

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