The value of DevEx: how starting with developers can boost customer experience

Gleb Polyakov, co-founder & CEO of Nylas, discusses how the experience of developers can help to drive customer loyalty and return-on-investment (ROI)

Throughout the years we’ve seen more and more businesses recognise that customer experience is more than simply a nice, value add, it can, and should be a substantial driver of ROI and business growth. Look no further than research conducted by Bain & Company’s Frederick Reichheld, the inventor of the Net Promoter Score. Reichheld found that by simply increasing customer retention by 5%, businesses could see an increase in profits of anywhere from 25% to 95%.

The benefits of building a great customer experience are clear, but when identifying how to actually go about curating a world-class customer experience, things become more complicated.

Many start by looking at end-user features and technologies such as chatbots, conversational AI, omnichannel messaging, and more as a way to kickstart CX efforts. Yet while all of these can, and should improve customer experience, they are not addressing customer experience at its core. The reality is, in order to truly build a transformational customer experience, you must first start with providing a better experience for those who are responsible for building your products, services, and the experiences customers have when interacting with them. You must start with your developers. Developer experience is customer experience.

DevEx should make onboarding and education easy

Creating a great developer experience means creating a frictionless developer experience. If developers can spend less time figuring out tools, processes, and procedures, they can spend more time innovating and building modern features and experiences for their end-users.

This means ensuring that documentation, guides, and other resources such as demo environments, video tutorials, and more are up-to-date and easily accessible at all times. Streamlining the onboarding and education process for developers eliminates context switching, decreases technical debt, and increases velocity, meaning developers can spend more time building modern CX features, functionalities, and workflows, and less time combing through manuals and other forms of documentation.

DevEx should make building better

It’s critical to not only remove roadblocks in the onboarding and educational process, but throughout the development lifecycle as well. This means making things such as authentication updates, fixing bugs, SDKs, and even operational tasks such as team meetings more efficient and effective.

Automate and iterate whenever possible. Automation gives developers more bandwidth to not only build faster, but think deeper. By automating simple and administrative tasks and iterating stagnant processes and user journeys, developers are free to spend more time thinking through innovative and transformative ways to fix problems and build better experiences for their users.

DevEx should make it easy to test

What’s one way to instantly deliver a poor customer experience? Ship products riddled with bugs and complicated experiences. This is why it is so crucial to make it as easy as possible for developers to test their code prior to pushing it live. However, the process of testing code can sometimes feel time-consuming and cumbersome.

Things as simple as making data more accessible and easier to consume can go a long way in making testing a better experience for developers. Empower and educate developers on the benefits of testing throughout the development lifecycle as well as making it easy to surface and understand error states and error messages. While this might create more processes upfront, it can dramatically reduce the likelihood of bugs and having to go back to the table rather than moving onto other key projects and tasks.

Creating the path of least resistance

Great customer experiences are formed when customers are able to use and interact with products and services in a frictionless, fast, and reliable way. The same goes for developer experiences. In fact, it becomes exponentially more challenging to create frictionless, fast, and reliable customer experiences if developers are being met with challenges and roadblocks throughout the building process.

Developers shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Simplify common maneuvers for developers and ensure they have everything they need to build innovative experiences and drive deeper engagement for their users and their customers is the foundation that all great customer experiences are built on. So as organisations look to build out world-class customer experiences that drive loyalty and retention, it is important that they first look to their developers and how to build a world-class experience for them.

Written by Gleb Polyakov, co-founder & CEO of Nylas


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