All about software testing , agile , DevOps, certifications , events and more from the eyes of Nishi
Author: Nishi Grover Garg
Product Evangelist and Trainings Head – SahiPro (Tyto Software)
Industry Experience - Nishi is a Testing and Agile trainer with 11+ years of industry experience working in Agile environment and has hands-on experience in all stages of software testing life cycle from White box, Black box, Automation testing to Regression and Usability testing. She has trained hundreds of professionals and teams on agile, test automation and DevOps courses.
She is CP-AAT, CP-SAT, CP-DOF, CP-MAT (certified by ATA), Agile Scrum Master ASM (by EXin) and ISTQB certified (Foundation and Advanced Test Analyst & Test Manager) and likes to keep updating her skill periodically.
Speaker and Trainer - She has been a speaker at numerous testing events and conferences, been deeply appreciated for her sessions at renowned conferences by UNICOM and ATA in Singapore, Bangalore and Pune. She has also been awarded for chairing UNICOM’s NFT-Con Event in Dec 2016.
Freelance writer – Nishi is a writer on technical topics of interest in the industry and has numerous articles published at forums like www.stickyminds.com, https://blog.gurock.com/, https://www.practitest.com/qa-learningcenter/, www.agileconnection.com and her own blog www.testwithnishi.com ,where she writes about the latest topics in Agile and Testing domains.
I was invited to take a MasterClass by the wonderful people at the Ministry of Testing last month. They had a ‘Communities’ theme going on for the month of June 2021 and they loved my talk idea about Leveraging Tech Communities. So we worked around that theme to create a talk on “Grow your Career with Tech Communities”
Last year was hard in more ways than one. Amidst the pandemic, lockdowns, and changing global political climate, we are still forced into a survival mode of sorts. While many people struggle to hold on to their jobs, others are having a hard time adjusting to working from home while managing kids, home life and distractions. As we are cooped up with all the chaos around us, our career and growth plans might have taken a back seat for a while there.
We are now pacing through 2021. As we pass the half year mark in 2021, let’s take back charge of our careers and drive them in the direction we want!
In my article published here earlier this year, I discuss six tips to get your career as a tester back on track, or even take it down some new paths!
Learn a new skill
Learning anything new, whether it’s a new language, a new recipe, or a life skill like swimming or cooking, can help open your mind and create excitement for learning other professional skills, too.
Learning a new skill has always been the first tip you get to advance your career, and that’s because it stands true now more than ever. It’s often necessary in order to upgrade yourself if you want to land a new job or a better role. But amidst all the chaos around us, our minds might not be the best focused on learning right now.
Whether you were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and lost your job, or your plans for a job switch were impacted or delayed, do continue to spend time and effort on learning something new that you have always wanted to master.
Diversify your skills
Testing is a multi-faceted role, and testers need to possess multiple skills to be effective in their teams. Especially in the ever-changing landscape of DevOps and agile, being a tester requires skills ranging from test automation to API testing to functional testing to security, performance, and load testing. We also need to be familiar with build processes, automated deployment tools, and white box tests.
Still, whatever your current specialty, you can always acquire another skill to better your profile and expand your skillset. Here are some ideas:
Choose an area to specialize in
While it is important to know a little bit of everything, that might not satiate your hunger for knowledge! As you diversify your skillset, you are bound to recognize that you love a certain topic more, so you can then focus on specializing in that area.
As you dig deeper into that area of testing, you will learn more about the tools it requires, the best technologies to use, their comparisons, in-depth features, etc. This will help you participate more in discussions, showcase your advanced skill set, and eventually be seen as a go-to person for that job.
Test automation is imperative for the fast-paced agile projects of today. Testers need to continuously plan, design and execute automated tests to ensure the quality of the software. But the most important task is to decide what to automate first.
In my article published at the Gurock Blog website, I have have compiled a list of questions to help you prioritize what you should automate next and guide your test automation strategy.
Think of this like a checklist that helps you make automation decisions quickly and effectively and create a standard process around them for your team to follow. Here are the list of questions to ask yourself.
Do you need to run the test with multiple datasets or paths?
Is it a Regression or Smoke Test?
Does this automation lie within the feasibility of your chosen test automation tool?
Is the area of your app that this is testing prone to change?
Is it a Random Negative Test?
Can these tests be executed in parallel, or only in sequential order?
Are you doing it only for the reports?
Test automation tools will provide you with useful insights into the quality of the software that you can showcase with the use of some insightful reports. But are these reports the only reason you are looking at automation? Just looking at the red or green status results of the test reports might not be the best way to assess the software quality. You will need to spend time analyzing the tests that failed, why they failed, and what needs to be corrected. Tests created once will need maintenance and continuous monitoring to keep them up to date. All of that needs to be kept in mind and the effort needs to be accounted for.
There is more to test automation than just the fancy reports!
Looking at the questions above, analyse the state of your test case, the intent behind its automation, and its feasibility, as well as the value that you might get out of it. Hope that helps you decide what tests you should or should not be picking for automation!
I had the amazing opportunity to speak at the amazing event that was the WomenTech Global Conference 2021 #WTGC2021. This was a huge event for women in tech, minorities and allies from all over the world
The best part of the event was the interactive platform featuring live ceremonies, keynotes, engaging panels, breakout rooms, country & chapter leader sessions, technical workshops, and networking with face-to-face sessions.
I presented a talk on 8th June, the second day of the conference which was themed as “Inspiration Day”
Realising the power of Tech Communities in professionals’ lives
Learning to participate, volunteer and contribute to Tech Communities
Learning how Tech Communities help Products take their brand forward
How can companies build such powerful user communities and leverage their power
I was glad my session had many listeners from all over the world who not only participated along with their comments in the chat, but also left some amazing feedback!
Not only this, I was also chosen to moderate 2 very interesting Break-room discussions that were based on impromptu questions asked and voted by all participants. In these discussions, we were able to have informal open discussions, ask questions and share our personal experiences on the chosen topic.
I was able to participate in the week long event and hear many amazing speakers talk about a variety of topics relevant to the industry.
Through this event I was able to connect to many amazing people from all over the world and so many amazing women trying to make a positive impact in the world of tech! I hope to stay connected with this wonderful community for years to come.
A special thanks to Anna Radulovski who reached out to me on Linkedin and invited me to speak at this grand event. She conducted the event with so much passion and grace and kept the energy going throughout the week!
Here is the link to a recording of my talk- You will need to create an account to access
Reducing customer effort represents a cultural shift in how your team engages with customers and how you’ll prioritise the projects you undertake. But while it’s easy to say, any shift of this nature is difficult to accomplish, mainly because change in a large organisation can be an arduous undertaking.
Taking First Steps
Have a compelling ‘change story’ to communicate Why the change is needed, and make the business case of change. It then becomes the backbone of all communication, training, coaching and general reinforcement.
The most Important Change Agents
Focusing efforts on Coaching instead of Training.
Coaching is —
Focusing on improving future performance
Equally driven by coach and coachee
Tailored to individual’s development needs
Two types of Coaching tends to occur-
a) Scheduled coaching – sit-down discussions with supervisor to review calls, discuss performance and take corrective action. This might be more punitive than developmental. Over-emphasizing on this type of coaching leads to lower-performing teams.
b) Integrated Coaching – On-the-job coaching, in close proximity to specific customer situations that the coaching is designed to improve. Supervisors who over-emphasize this type of coaching realise a lift of more than 12% in their team’s performance.
The best supervisors focus roughly 75% of their coaching on integrated coaching.
Make It Real
Use creative approaches to help teams quickly understand what qualifies as more or less effort for the customer.
>Sharing of personal customer experiences – Have teams share bad customer service experiences from their personal lives.
>Group quality assurance sessions– Prescreen old customer calls and discuss high effort instances to build awareness and socialise the idea of customer effort reduction.
>Customer Effort Diaries – Get together and share their specific stories – capture specific instances when each person felt they did a great job of reducing effort.
Key Lessons from Early Adopters
Don’t make Effort Reduction another ‘Ask’
Reducing the no. of things frontline staff are being asked to focus on means that they can make effort reduction more of a priority, not just another ask.
The commitment to reducing effort, and the permanence of that approach, needs to become a shift in expectations, not just a new expectation added to the top of the pile.
“In order to get new behaviours to take hold, old behaviours have to be retired”
Start with a small number of ways to reduce effort to make the shift more tangible to your teams.
This way, people know precisely what to do, and they develop a more refined sense for how effort reduction works.
Supervisors also have a finite set of behaviours to coach for.
Narrowly scope initial pilot expectations for your teams. This may include forward-resolving a specific type of service issue, or using positive language techniques for some common issues.
Lay the Cultural Foundation
Effort reduction is not a quick-hit project. It is service philosophy.
Reducing effort is an ongoing challenge you will need to continuously support.
You need lots of top-down communication, good manager and supervisor support, and the right metrics.
Your priorities should be a great change story, significant coaching discipline, and clearly signalling the expectation that a low-effort experience should be the goal with every customer.
Making it easy for your teams to take the first steps towards reducing effort will ensure your likelihood of success!
The Disloyalty Detector – Customer Effort Score v2.0
Measuring customer effort shines a spotlight on the service experience and can bring new levels of claity to what we can do to improve it.
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
CSAT is a poor predictor of a customer’s intent to repurchase and to increase spend.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS is a ‘big question’ that captures a customer’s holistic impression of their relationship with a company. The problem is it isn’t the best metric for understanding customer service performance at a transactional level.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
CES gives managers a simple way to understand whether they have accomplished low-effort experience from one interaction to the next, across different channels and divisions in their organisations , and over time. And, importantly, it offers a way to immediately spot customers at risk of defection.
CES metric is based on a statement “The company made it easy for me to handle my issue”
This is a survey question asked to the user at the end of an interaction. This new question CES v2.0 is more reliable and is less prone to misinterpretation as compared to CES v1.0 statement “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to get your issue resolved?”
When comparing CES v2.0 to CSAT, the effort measure is 12% more predictive of customer loyalty.
Systemically Finding and Eliminating Drivers of Effort
A robust customer effort measurement system consists of 3 parts –
Effort should be measured consistently across channels and the sources of effort systematically monitored. This will allow your service org to continually determine ways ri positively impact enterprise loyalty objectives.
Use CES to assess the ease of resolution in post-service surveys. CES provides a powerful indicator of transactional customer loyalty, clearly highlights friction points n the customer experience, and helps companies to spot customers at risk of defection due to high-effort interactions.
Use an effort-measurement system. While CES is a powerful tool, there is no silver bullet when it comes to measuring customer effort.
The best companies collect data at multiple levels and from multiple sources to understand not just whether customer effort is happening, but also the root causes of effort.
I am super excited to share that I have been invited to speak at the upcoming WomenTech Global Conference – The Largest Conference for Women in Tech!
Scheduled for June 7-11 2021, this virtual conference will bring women in tech, minorities and allies from all over the world together through an interactive platform platform featuring live ceremonies, keynotes, engaging panels, breakout rooms, country & chapter leader sessions, technical workshops, and networking with face-to-face sessions. Bringing together +100000 women in tech from 181 countries hosting 500+ speakers and mentors! https://www.womentech.net/women-tech-conference
My session will be on “The Power of Tech Communities”
Check out my speaker page and session details here :
In my talk, I will discuss how we can leverage the power of tech communities in our career and personal growth? And since nothing drives a brand forward more than its community! So, how can companies create and leverage such tech communities to their product’s advantage and to delight their users.
For the company and its strategic financial interest, a lot is riding on the skills and abilities of each and every rep in the front.
So, the most common people-management strategy is to minimize the risk by keeping a very tight rein on everything, including companies mandating the exact words each rep must use in all interactions, looking at Average Handle Time(AHT), employing checklists for Quality Assurance (QA) and dictating their every move.
But these strategies of yesterday’s successful companies are fast becoming antiquated and are. no longer sufficient and even actively harmful.
The fourth pillar in creating a world-class customer experience is that low-effort service organisations run their operations very differently and manage their people very differently.
In a low-effort service org, reps determine for themselves how best to handle the unique issue being experienced by this unique person.
80.5% of service orgs say their rep performance has not improved noticeably over the past couple of years. The main questions here are-
How can companies position their reps for success in today’s world?
If we want to deliver a low-effort experience, what skills matter most?
The List of skills clustered into four statistically defined categories –
IQ Advanced Problem Solving
Curious Creative Capable of Critical Thinking Experimental
3.6 % improvement in CSAT or in Net Promoter Score
Basic Skills and Behaviors
Demonstrates Product Knowledge Demonstrates Technological experience Communicates confidently, clearly Asks good questions Capable of multi-tasking
5.1% better performance
EQ Emotional Intelligence
Has customer service ethic Extroverted Advocates for the customer Persuasive
5.4% performance boost
CQ Control Quotient
Resilient Able to handle high-pressure situations Takes responsibility of own actions Responds well to constructive criticism by managers Able to concentrate on tasks over extended periods of time
11.2% increase in Rep’s performance!
Performance Impact of Rep Skill Categories
The impact of CQ is abundantly clear. It is what it takes not just to engage with one customer, but to be able to disengage immediately afterward to be fully effective with the next person. Quit Taking It Personally!
It’s not the training. It’s not the people. It’s the work environment those people are subjected to on a daily basis that enables higher rep performance, a lower-effort customer experience, and ultimately loyalty benefits for the company.
3 distinct keys to unlocking CQ
Trust in rep judgement
This has 14% impact on CQ.
Do your employees feel trusted?
Customers have different personalities, needs and expectations. When a company mandates that every customer call include standard, company-imposed criteria or questions, it eliminates the natural, spontaneous, human level interaction and replaces with a mechanical, rote exchange.
So, instead we need to
a) Eliminate the Checklist Mentality
b) Remove the Pressure of Time
Rep understanding and alignment with company goals
Employees are more likely to exhibit ‘discretionary effort’ if they understand the connection between their everyday work and the overall big-picture mission of the organisation.
Reps who understand exactly how customer service ties directly to customer loyalty, which ties directly to strategic and financial outcomes are more likely to take control over their own individual interactions.
A strong rep peer support network
This has a 17% impact on CQ but is also the hardest to achieve.
3 conditions for maximum benefits of peer support to be realised:
Adequate time – Make it easy. to help & support each other. It is a part of job and not a burden.
True Best-practice sharing – Share how best to serve customers in complex situations, not suboptimal shortcuts or work arounds
Receptive reps – Enable reps to help each other without being controlled by management to ensure better receptivity.
“CQ isn’t learned, it is enabled.“
Most reps already have moderate to high CQ potential. The problem is that most companies inhibit it due to an environment of strict adherence- Judgement and Control are not welcomed in these environments.
“Just because there’s Nothing You can Do Doesn’t Mean there’s Nothing you can Do”
The customer’s perception of the experience actually accounts for fully two-thirds of the overall effort equation. Means that how the customer perceives / feels about the interaction matters twice as much as what they actually have to do during the interaction!
A lot of interactions that don’t require a lot of exertion still feel like a lot of effort to customers.
Service orgs might be handling “easy” situations in the wrong way far too often.
Effort – is one-third “do” and two-thirds “feels”
Don’t over-invest in streamlining the physical side of the service experience. Instead, focus on the interpretation or “feel” side of the effort!
Definition – A code of behavior created to consistently handle customer issues in a friendly, personable, and professional manner that reflects positively on the representative and the company.
They are not a choice or an option – to be applied with every caller, every time.
But Soft skills alone are not enough to move the needle on effort reduction.
In comes –
Definition- An approach to actively guide a customer through an interaction that is designed to anticipate the emotional response and preemptively offer solutions that create a mutually beneficial resolution.
‘Experience Engineering’ – means managing a conversation with carefully selected language designed to improve how the customer interprets what they’re being told.
So, sound experience engineering is designed to
Anticipate the emotional response of the customer.
Preemptively offer solutions that the customer will find agreeable.
Finding a mutually beneficial resolution to customer issues.
Mainly – when the customer is going to be told they cannot have exactly what they are asking for – easing them into the answer.
Arriving at true win-win outcome instead of paying customers with lavish givebacks!
Most companies’ initial forays into effort reduction are aimed at reducing customer exertion.
Can experience engineering be taught ? – Many companies are teaching their reps to do this in ways that are simple to understand and easy even for relatively inexperienced staff to use.
Using positive Language. Be truthful, but in a way that doesn’t trigger negative emotional reaction.
“Don’t tell the customers what you can’t do, tell them what you can do”
Positioning Alternatives with Customer benefits
Ask more questions. Do not put them on hold. Find the real motivations of the customer beyond the explicitly stated need. Work with them to present alternates.
Don’t be so fast with the “no”
Don’t encourage reps to try to explain their way out of a high effort situation.
Don’t take the customer’s request quite so literally.
Of those customers whose first request cannot be fulfilled, approximately 10% simply refuse to engage further. The rep does their best to suggest potential alternates using positive language skills. But if they don’t engage, it is the customer’s loss.
Among the remaining requests, a very high percentage of customers are willing to at least consider and even accept a different solution. And it can be achieved by a rep willing to keep the positive momentum going – buying time to learn more about the customer and not going straight to a ‘no’.
Personality-Based Issue Resolution
identify the basic personality characteristics of each customer in the moment, and tailor the interaction to that customer.
Actions to do
Leads with emotional needs “I need to feel good about my next steps”
Cooperative Sensitive Loyal
Invite their opinion Provide Assurance Show personal involvement
Loves to talk and show-off their personality. “Let’s have some fun”
Outgoing Enthusiastic Spontaneous
Maintain informal tone Mention personal information Focus on the ‘big picture’
Needs to analyse and understand Take the time to fully explain the what and the why
Analytical Thorough Serious
Do not interrupt Explain processes Slow down conversation
Just wants what they want, when they want it “Let’s cut to the chase”
Independent Candid Determined
Directly address issue Speed up the pace of conversation Provide clear timeline for result