Continuous improvement is a philosophy that many digital teams aspire to, aiming to drive digital customer experiences that just keep getting better and better. But putting continuous improvement into practice is not always straightforward. It sounds like a great aim or intention to mention in an annual appraisal or on a team awayday, but when it comes to the nuts and bolts of actual delivery, many teams stumble.
One of the main reasons that introducing continuous improvement can be hard is because it means changing the way you and your team operate. Change is hard. Digital and website teams tend to be very busy, and they need some additional time and headspace to be able to focus on doing things a little differently.
In our experience, successful continuous improvement usually has five critical elements:
Let’s look at the each of these elements in turn.
Continuous improvement is a state of mind. It involves a relentless focus on getting better and making any necessary changes to how you do things. It can mean great persistence in trying to make an impact over time. It means testing and measuring your output and taking it on the chin when something doesn’t work. It also means being creative and open-minded. Without the right mindset it can be difficult to truly implement continuous improvement.
If you want to drive “improvement”, you have to know what “improvement” means to you. Do you want to drive engagement with your audience? Are you aiming to drive sales? Is it all about brand awareness? Without clarity over what you are attempting to achieve strategically with your website, “continual improvement” effectively exists within a vacuum.
Measurement is absolutely critical to continual improvement because it helps you to track success, measure what works and what doesn’t, make any necessary changes or interventions and then measure again. Similarly, you should also consider feedback from users, visitors and customers. When you make changes based on data and feedback, and work in a cycle or loop of improvement, it becomes a way of working that supports continual improvement.
Making changes based on measurement and feedback usually means working in a regular, repeatable process. For example, many teams may measure monthly or quarterly, and then act on those changes. If the process is not regular and easy to carry out, then continuous improvement is much harder to introduce.
Continuous improvement also usually means the digital team acquiring new skills and learning new capabilities so they can continue to make the customer experience better. Upskilling is usually a critical component of continuous improvement.
A strong input into how we’ve designed the Sitemorse platform is observing how teams actually work in improving their websites and digital channels, and the sort of working patterns that support continual improvement. While we clearly can’t design mindsets or establish strategic clarity (of course, we’d love to!) we have ensured that Sitemorse helps with:
For example, the Sitemorse INDEX provides performance scores from Sitemorse automated assessments of different aspects of your website as well as an aggregated score that is benchmarked against peer organisations in your industry sector. This allows teams to measure their site and track progress, as well as a focus for achievement.
Digital team members receive automated alerts of prioritised issues that can be easily dealt with as part of a regular process to make incremental improvements to your web channels. You can also design an improvement process around the regular INDEX scores.
When an individual gets a Sitemorse alert they also get access to a bite-sized video on how to fix the issue. The combination of instruction and on-the-job experience of correcting the problem (which may be repeated a few times) is an excellent way to upskill your team members.
These are just some of the ways that a product like Sitemorse can help with continual digital improvement. We know that getting your team to adopt continuous improvement can be a challenge but focusing on the five critical elements and introducing products and approaches that support each one will help. Good luck on your continuous improvement journey and if you’d like any information on how Sitemorse can assist you, then get in touch.