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How to identify and action online customer struggle

How to identify and action online customer struggle

By Geoff Galat, VP worldwide marketing, Tealeaf
Web analytics can be fascinating; seeing who has been on a site, where they went and, often, where they left. But how often have web analytics left you wanting more? It can be incredibly frustrating when you stumble upon a page where site visitors seem to be dropping-off. You know it’s happening, but you don’t know why. There just always seems to be more questions than answers:

Why did a customer leave that page?
Why are they going round and round in an endless loop?
Why are conversion rates so low today compared to yesterday?

This inability to understand and address areas where customers are struggling can have disastrous consequences in terms of revenue loss and brand reputation.  Seeking to identify, understand and resolve these instances of customer struggle is starting to become a business critical process for brands that sell (and even those that don’t) online.

So what are the processes that businesses can put in place to better understand and react to their customers’ website experiences?

Speed matters

Firstly, it’s not enough to simply observe historical web analytics reports and respond once/ if patterns emerge. For businesses of any reasonable scale, even a few hours where an issue goes unreported could spell disaster and damage sales enormously. 

It’s not only the cost of failed conversions that you have to bear in mind; it’s the negative reputation your brand could suffer as a result too. In our digital world, modern web-savvy consumers can very quickly and easily express their frustrations across social communities such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs, thereby magnifying the negative impact on your business.

Installing a system of action-oriented KPIs, which allow you to track and respond to issues or problems, can mitigate potential risk and allow for immediate investigation and for fixes to be applied.  It’s important for any e-business to identify the key processes on a website that should be kept under close scrutiny, while also allowing for unexpected or unpredictable events that could surface as well.

Walk in their shoes

Once the KPIs are in place, it is vital that businesses arm themselves with increased visibility to be able to quickly see what is causing the anomaly on the site. As mentioned above, the data provided by web analytics is very two-dimensional. Customer experience management software can help businesses pinpoint exactly what is going on so that instances of customer struggle can be quickly reproduced and fixed.

With this online visibility into what customers are experiencing, it’s possible to take this to the next level and begin to really understand the behaviour and motivations of visitors. Most importantly, it also helps brands prioritise site optimisations and increase conversions.

Above and beyond expectations

But tracking visitors and fixing the root issue still leaves those that have struggled and who might have abandoned the site as a result. Responding to these customers as quickly as possible requires a truly multichannel approach, often involving online, ecommerce, marketing and customer service departments to work quickly together.

So often in marketing and in digital strategy, we get preoccupied by numbers - whether it is the number of hits, the number of conversion or the number of abandonments. These numbers are not the solution; they are only the starting point. They help show us where to look, but don’t tell us what to look for and what action to take as a result.

By following some of the steps outlined here, it is possible for e-businesses to begin to see web analytics as the starting point for a wider website optimisation and customer experience management strategy that can generate impressive bottom line returns.

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