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Continuous Performance Testing and the Customer Experience

Steve Gilde October 31, 2022
Continuous performance testing and the customer experience

One of the most important phrases in software development, especially when it comes to the financial services industry is “test early, test often”. Effective testing is a critical element to ensure new products and services meet consumer expectations and that existing products are working as they should.

According to The William Mills Agency’s latest report, Bankers as Buyers 2022, there are three phases of digital adoption that financial institutions must continually address. 

  1. Awareness: As a customer, I have to know about the service, want it, trust it, and perceive value;
  2. Enrollment: I need to sign up for the service on the channels of my choice, it needs to be easy, and I might need access to people who can help me complete the enrollment;
  3. Use: I want to install the service correctly, feel that it has utility on a daily basis and will work properly, and that I am simply happy with it. 

The report states:“Too often, bankers do not test their digital services for the three phases, putting themselves in the customers’ shoes from awareness to use. By doing so, we can eliminate obstacles and increase customer acceptance and usage of digital services. If we don’t, our competition is glad to welcome our dissatisfied customers, quietly and permanently.”

Despite the availability of simple “roadmaps” such as the one provided here, many financial institutions fail to implement the testing mechanisms necessary to achieve these critical business objectives. 

Digital transformation requires effective testing

With so many alternate providers and payment options now available 24x7x365, it’s more important than ever that financial institutions, processors and merchants are able to deliver a superior experience to increasingly sophisticated and demanding consumers. 

Financial services and products, including payments, need to be available, easy to use, and perfectly executed or customers will quickly move to one of the many other options that exist.

Ensuring that your applications and systems are available anytime that your consumers want to access them requires that you continually monitor and test the performance characteristics and capabilities of all your software and systems. Integrating performance testing into your standard testing processes helps to identify and correct issues before they result in a system failure or cause a negative customer experience. 

Continuous performance testing

Setting up and running performance tests used to require specialized resources and applications. Many organizations built customized simulators that were difficult to use and expensive to maintain – causing performance testing to be marginalized and only done infrequently. This legacy approach is inconsistent with the requirements for Agile development or DevOps practices, where regular performance testing is considered an absolute requirement.

A modern, web-based application, like Web FASTest, allows users to incorporate functional tests, automated regression testing, as well as performance analysis into a single platform that supports a variety of performance testing options including:

  • Load testing
  • Stress testing
  • Scalability testing
  • Endurance testing 

Many organizations will also be interested in utilizing API-level connectivity with external systems to further automate and integrate performance testing capabilities with their CI/CD pipeline or other enterprise test management environments - recognizing that regular and rigorous performance testing will help keep their applications and systems operating at peak performance.

Delivering the best customer experience

Ultimately, the goal of performance testing is not just about uncovering bugs in your software or finding bottlenecks in your processing environment. It is about ensuring that your products and services always work perfectly on every transaction, anytime and anywhere. 

In a world where it seems that we increasingly compete on nothing more than the customer experience, first impressions are more important than ever.

A comprehensive performance testing strategy will help improve quality, optimize transaction response times, and minimize production outages - enabling your organization to consistently deliver a superior payment experience that builds loyalty and drives both revenue growth and profitability.

Are you interested in learning how Paragon Application Systems can help you integrate continual performance testing into your environment? Request a consultation with our team of payment testing specialists today.

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