Understanding Customers' Digital Experience: Four Tools We Love

Posted by Lindsay Herod on July 25, 2019 at 12:00 PM


We’ve talked previously about how customer expectations and demands are rapidly changing—customers expect a modern and easy-to-use experience when they interact with energy providers’ digital products and services. We know that keeping up with evolving customer expectations and technology trends can be difficult and overwhelming. Oftentimes, it’s hard to know where to start.

The first step is to evaluate and understand what your customers’ current experiences are with your digital products and services. Below are four tools that we love for testing digital customer experiences (CX).

The best part? These tools are quick, easy, and inexpensive to implement.


  • Tree Testing. Many organizations are guilty of creating websites or mobile apps that are “inside-out” as opposed to “outside-in”—often using internal jargon or creating navigation based on their organizational structure. Tree testing allows you to see if your website and content are organized in a way that is easy for your customers to find. During a tree test, you give users a set of tasks, such as "where would you go to calculate how much energy your appliances are using?" Users identify where they would go, using your existing navigation structure—absent of any visual design. Tree tests are easy to set up, and they give you actionable results, allowing you to quickly identify pain points within your website.
  •  Card Sorting. Card sorting is another quick way to design or test the way content on your site is organized. Think of card sorting as a reverse tree test. Instead of giving a user a set of tasks, you ask users to sort content on your website into groups that make sense to them—helping you understand where users would expect to find information. For example, imagine you have information about smart thermostats under “energy saving programs” on your website or mobile app. Card sorting may reveal that most of your customers would expect this information to fall under “rebates and incentives” or “appliance marketplace” or “residential programs.”
  • Heat Mapping. If you are looking for a quick, at-a-glance understanding of how users are interacting with your website or apps, heat maps are a great tool. They can tell you where users click, how far down the pages they scroll and what they look at or ignore, visually showing the most popular (hot) and unpopular (cold) aspects of your digital products. For example, you could learn that users are not signing up for a community solar subscription because information about how the program works is far down the page, and users are not scrolling that far. Heat maps can also evaluate differences in user behavior according to what device they are using—desktop, mobile or tablet.
  • Unmoderated Usability Testing. Unmoderated usability testing allows you to get recorded feedback of actual customers actively engaging with your website and apps. With these tests, you can give users a set of tasks to complete on a desktop, mobile device or tablet using your actual site or mobile app. An example task is asking a user to fill out a form to access his or her rebate. Users give recorded verbal feedback about how easy it was to complete the task, their overall impressions of the digital product, what they would like to see improved and more. We love this type of testing because it can be done anytime, anywhere, and you can get actionable results and feedback within a day.

If you’re looking to start or fine-tune your company’s digital CX strategy or are just looking to learn more about CX best practices, get in touch.

Lindsay Herod is KSV’s customer experience expert.

Topics: Customer-Centric Marketing, Utility Communications, Digital Transformation and User Experience, Marketing Strategy and Best Practices