In August 2011, marketing guru Peter Shankman sent out a tweet: “Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at Newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks.” Shankman meant it as a joke, but when he got off his plane, he found a Morton’s employee waiting for him – with a steak. Shankman tweeted about it and the tweet lit up the blogosphere, giving Morton’s tons of publicity. Delivering superior customer service also plays a big part in User Acceptance Testing (UAT), a topic VMC Solution Deliver Manager Damian Gibbs expands on:
UAT is definitely customer-oriented. However, instead of consumers, our customers are UAT participants, the people who take time out of their days to scrutinize a new release or a new tool to help us determine if it works as expected. Therefore, it’s important to the team conducting UAT to deliver a high quality customer experience because when the participants’ experience is enhanced, they submit better results and are more invested in UAT. This, in turn, yields more accurate and comprehensive information about a tool for the UAT team can report back to stakeholders.
Since reducing time spent on UAT is a big desire for UAT participants, our challenge is figuring out how to deliver that value without sacrificing quality. Over time, our UAT team has developed a system to reduce bloat. For instance, other UAT teams will do hour-long triage calls every day of the work week with every participant. On the triage call, all the issues are reviewed, whether or not they’re relevant to everyone. In contrast, our team has eliminated these meetings altogether. Instead, we do one-on-one follow-ups with participants who have logged potential bugs and send out an email summary of issues logged and participation metrics to everyone at the end of the day that they can read at their leisure. Participants can simply hit reply if they have follow-up questions.
This method of doing things does require more effort on our part, but we’re happy to do it, as the bulk of the participants are glad that part of their day isn’t tied up in a long meeting that may not be relevant to them. We also reduce the size of guidance documents where we can; instead of 20 pages, participants may have just a couple of pages of need-to-know information. Our UAT team has decreased the average time required of each UAT participant from 8-10 hours a week down to 3-4.
When UAT participants are happy, they not only do better work, they also end up becoming brand ambassadors for the solution they are testing. What is your UAT team doing to ensure that the customer experience they are delivering to UAT participants is well done?