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Customer experiences (CXs) are a key focus for many organizations, especially as the definition of a positive CX has changed in the era of e-commerce, two-day deliveries, and on-demand streaming services. Customers' expectations are higher than ever before, with 85% of buyers claiming they'd happily pay more for a better CX. On top of that, brand loyalty is fickle these days, as 33% of customers will abandon a brand after just one bad experience, and nearly all consumers (92%) will do the same after just a couple of bad experiences. While first impressions are still important, it's the second, third, fourth, and subsequent impressions that will show a customer their ongoing experience matters to your brand.
When it comes to software development, which can move at break-neck speeds against tight delivery deadlines, the customer experience is just as paramount as with any other B2C or B2B interaction. DevOps for CX practices allow companies that deliver technology solutions and services to avoid sacrificing the experience of their customers, while still meeting ambitious delivery deadlines.
While DevOps for CX is a practice that supports development teams where CX and quality are of the highest priorities, there are key mistakes that must be avoided to ensure successful adoption of DevOps for CX.
Understanding DevOps for CX
Adopting DevOps for CX simply refers to applying the DevOps software methodology to CX software development, with the intention of developer software with greater efficiency and quality. Organizations undergoing digital transformation have made continuous delivery (CD) a priority as they develop new product features and capabilities.
Continuous delivery of new products and features places tight timelines on development initiatives. However, when developing customer-service software and products for CX, quality cannot be compromised in favor of faster development. But DevOps teams must still meet deadlines set by department and company leaders. So, how do companies continue to meet customer demands for rapid innovations on tight deadlines, without sacrificing the customer's experience?
The customer's perspective must always be the primary consideration for developers when building new products or features that are intended to improve CX. This means understanding the various ways a product might be used by customers, depending on the goals they're trying to accomplish. Continuous testing and monitoring in real-time, as well as significant attention to user experience (UX) design, as products are developed is key to ensuring that any potential issues are identified before the customer can experience them. Thus, deadlines are met while simultaneously providing a positive CX with the final product.
How to Overcome DevOps for CX Challenges
Under Investment in Executive Sponsorship and Cultural Evolution
Establishing a leader, who has the authority to drive and control organizational initiatives, is crucial to the success of any CX transformation initiative. For most organizations, an executive leader is necessary because CX transformations are an enterprise-wide operation that encompasses marketing, sales, services, and development.
Which company leader takes on this responsibility can vary depending on the organization. Some companies decide to charge an existing COO, CIO or CMO with the responsibility of leading CX initiatives, while others establish an entirely new position for the role. The exact title of the person charged with leading CX isn't important, what's important is that they have a broad authority over budget, people and processes to ensure CX initiatives are followed through to fruition.
Competing & Misaligned Incentives
Any initiative surrounding DevOps processes requires multiple teams' participation and coordination to execute effectively. Multiple teams can't work together very well when they're working to accomplish different goals.
CX transformation leaders must work with each team involved in DevOps for CX transformation to ensure their team has relevant objectives that match their areas of expertise, but do not interrupt or oppose other teams' objectives either. Developing functional team objectives with customer satisfaction in mind will guide CX transformation efforts.
Unclear Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Along with clear, unobtrusive goals, specific performance KPIs must be adopted to measure the success of any transformation initiative. It's important the KPIs for each team involved in CX transformation are widely distributed. This allows CX to be viewed at an operational level.
As software development must constantly be monitored to identify issues, KPIs must also be continuously monitored to ensure that teams are not experiencing issues achieving KPIs and to rectify any problems with cross-team collaboration.
Dependence on Heroic Efforts
DevOps practitioners are notorious for working late into the night and spending long hours in development to meet deadlines. But it doesn't have to be this way.
The easiest way to provide a negative CX is by providing a negative employee experience (EX). Poor EX is simply unsustainable, as employees will leave to find more satisfying work opportunities elsewhere, and inevitably results in unhappy employees who won't take pride in delivering positive CX. Avoiding unplanned work and rework is critical to a positive DevOps EX, and can be achieved by deploying automated testing at each stage of the development lifecycle.
Different Configurations Across CX Delivery Environments
As code progresses through the software lifecycle, it enters different environments for development, quality assurance, staging and production. Because the environments are configured differently, switching back and forth between these environments can be incredibly time consuming and frustrating for developers.
Leveraging deployment automation to establish a consistent approach to solutions and environments allows DevOps teams to avoid wasting time fixing bugs that suddenly appear as the code progresses to a new environment.
Errors Introduced by Manual or Outdated Processes
Unplanned work and rework is often the result of human error, which is introduced to DevOps by manual processes that cause delays and defects. Automating the testing of CX systems enables DevOps teams to catch defects caused by manual processes and avoids the delays and opportunities for error caused by manual testing. This provides more time post-testing for developers to adjust code to meet product requirements and ensure a positive CX.
DevOps for CX Enables Organizational CX Transformation
Continuously delivering high-quality software and products is a priority for many organizations as they and their customers pursue digital transformation initiatives. Adopting DevOps for CX practices enables companies to innovate rapidly, while ensuring that the final product meets customer expectations. When implementing DevOps for CX, be sure to follow the guidance in this article to avoid easily made mistakes and ensure the success of organizational CX transformation.