Before you launch, test, test, and test again!

- April 12, 2010

Last week I noticed that the Wells Fargo / Wachovia branch right outside of MoreVisibility’s offices were installing a new ATM machine. By looks alone, it’s a huge improvement from what Wells Fargo / Wachovia originally had. This new ATM machine has LED lighting, a new and improved user-interface and clearer, bigger buttons that a customer can press.

Today, I used the new ATM machine to make a deposit and noticed a unique and refreshing call-to-action: Envelope-free ATM. I had heard about this new technology a few years ago, but never actually saw one in person until earlier this afternoon.

To make a deposit, you simply slide up to 50 bills or 30 checks through the slot on the right-hand side, and watch the ATM tally up your money. If you deposit cash, the screen will provide a break down by denomination. If you deposit checks, you are given the option to print an image of each check with your receipt. The funds are available instantly with cash and on the same business day for checks deposited before 8 PM.

I thought this was amazing and immediately told everyone within my general vicinity about it. I’m also blogging about it here. I’ll probably also use Twitter and update my Facebook status. All it took was one great user-experience for Wells Fargo / Wachovia to earn themselves some excellent (and free) word-of-mouth advertising offline and on social media channels by yours truly.

Clearly, the Wells Fargo / Wachovia team put in a good amount of time, work and testing during the product’s development cycle, and I am a happier customer for it.

You may be wondering what this has to do with analytics or site usability. A lesson you could learn from my recent ATM experience is that you’ll need to put in time – lots of time – and put in lots of testing and experiments when you launch a new site, develop a new app, or release a new product online. When you hit a home run, the customer satisfaction and word-of-mouth takes care of itself (and as you know, word spreads ultra-fast online). However, when the time, work and especially the testing isn’t done before hand, that’s when the negative feedback, customer dis-satisfaction and angry message board posts start popping up everywhere. It’s very difficult to cancel-out negative comments and do online PR. Let pre-product launch testing results guide your new app, web site or product.

There are always free online tools like Google Website Optimizer and 4Q by iPerceptions to use to gauge customer sentiment before flipping on the proverbial light switch on your new release. Give them a try and let your audience feedback guide you in the right direction.

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