We have over 3300 partners using Tax, a million lodgements a year and 20 people behind this. We work with tax agents who prepare and lodge returns for different clients spread across a plethora of industries, but what they share in common is the luxury of time.
In a world where we’re chasing time, efficiency and effectiveness are key in any industry let alone accounting where everything revolves around numbers. Hence every end-user’s time is precious to us.
Customer and user centricity is intrinsic to the Xero culture. It all starts and ends with having an obsession with CX and UX when one is thinking about minimalistic design and timely delivery. We approach problems with a new perspective, user-centred design thinking, quick prototyping, building beta versions, launching and iterating all over again.
We the tax team, have been working in an agile way through usability tests, in-app feedback and talking to partners. Filtering and synthesizing the information in order to provide a better, faster and an awesome experience is all that we aimed for. As simple as it may sound, only a few tech companies strive to implement it. So how did we do it?
Time Tax Levy?
Time is the most valuable asset. In a world of numbers, efficiency is key to any task. We started looking within our team and found a myriad of things we could improve. We decided to focus on time consuming software development activities. Testing topped the list. Therefore we brought in tools and automation which cut our test cycles. We still retained the human element that came with manual testing. And if you’re thinking about how this affected the end user? It allowed us to make faster decisions on delivering software with less defects. That’s not even time-taxed!
Bring together the team who transform the CX
The user embarks on a journey that has many interactions and there are multiple variations. Some have a not so very pleasant experience and they reach out to our CX team. They are the first to hear about any issues in our product. We started consulting them more often and identified channels for them to provide feedback or suggest new features. Having their feedback ensures we’re listening to the voice of the customer. We’re on the way to shifting our contemporary style of being reactive to proactive.
A multi-channel strategy makes it easier to expand to more customers. And here in tax, we place a lot of value on our gathering feedback through various channels. Some of them are 1-1 partner interviews, feedback request emails, surveys and feedback from internal stakeholders. We are always looking at new ways to encourage users to rate us which is now possible with the in-app smiley rating system. (Refer image : in-app feedback image)
Feedback to Insights
Opening up lines of communication and lowering the barrier of entry undoubtedly makes the voice of the customer heard but does impose challenges. When gathering data from multiple channels, we did not want to end up with siloed data. The disconnect that arises between many channels are often contributors to product failures.
We started with analysing all the qualitative feedback we received be it positive or negative and categorised them. We then moved on to understanding the value it would add to the user. Qualitative feedback is very important in the early days of product development. And the quantitative data we got from analytics helps us see trends or patterns. We couldn’t choose one over the other! Both gave us valuable insights and improved the product which reinforced our relationship with the user.
We understood the value of a formal usability testing on a working product and this time we wanted to test continually throughout the development phase. Time was everything, we wanted to uncover usability issues early. More frequent and early DIY usability testing with fewer test participants helped us identify major usability problems and it was an excellent fit into Agile. There were two rounds of testing set a month apart which gave us ample time to identify and fix usability issues. Though statistically not valid, it was more than sufficient to identify the flaws.
Now for some UI which is what the new interface is all about. We have a standard top navigation bar with access to all clients, returns and jobs. In addition, we have the form navigation on the left. It is very responsive and the hamburger menu makes it easier to navigate on a smaller device.
And the list continues. The world may move around quickly, but great research can still happen. Don’t miss the chance to experience this whole new experience in preparing and lodging tax returns. If you’re looking to give us feedback, please show us the love by leaving a comment in our in-app feedback. We’re always listening and we hope to keep up to your taxpectations!