A danger sign warning of customer experience assumptions which can end up being flawed and causing harm

In life, we are all guilty of making flawed assumptions. For example, guessing what someone is thinking or why a particular action was taken. Without context, we can easily get it wrong.

Thankfully, in the world of online shopping, it is possible to put yourself into the customer’s shoes and avoid flawed customer experience assumptions.

The Key To Delighting Your Customers
To do this you need to get the full picture of a customer’s online journey. You need to rely on a mix of insightful tools and data points and ensure both eCommerce and IT team collaborate and share insight effectively.

However, this transition can take time and even today, some still rely on the basic analytics such as, customer numbers, abandonment and purchase. In this scenario, it is easy to make flawed customer experiences assumptions. And the cost to the online business can be high.

Here are a few of the most common Flawed Customer Experience assumptions:

Flawed Customer Experience assumption No. 1

Because someone bought, they automatically had a good online customer experience. 

Don’t mistake shopper persistence for customer satisfaction. Many determined customers may have doggedly worked their way through an inept and deeply frustrating site to get what they wanted – but, they will never, ever return for a repeat experience!

Flawed assumption No. 2

Sub-optimal customer experiences happen in isolation.

They don’t!  All too often Sub-optimal customer experiences happen in multiples – indeed, the worst record of multiples in my experience was a site where one unfortunate customer had 18 sub-optimal events in one visit!

The e-Commerce team know the traffic numbers and the IT team know about slow pages and the customer sees various messages. How do you know who experienced all / some of the above and what that means to their conversion rates?

Add to this things like ‘out of stock’ messages, which are viewed as an unfortunate but inevitable reality of business life. They are not seen as sub-optimal customer experiences. Unfortunately, for you and your profits, customers have a rather different perspective!

Another record saw 31 “out of stock” message occurrences in one visit – want to know if they bought?

Flawed Assumption No. 3

The best way to increase online revenue is to drive more traffic, or unique visitors (UV’s).

But why drive more traffic to a store with lower than achievable conversion rates? That is not a sensible investment plan, but one that is commonplace.  Campaigns, personalisation, social, search are all about driving more traffic.

Imagine the double hit of improved results of both increased conversion and more UV’s because both are being optimised in parallel.

Flawed Assumption No. 4

Speed is the determining factor.

Well, it is one factor and it is absolutely critical, but there are 5 other categories that impact customer experience [Layout and forms, Search (Found, No results etc), Messages (positive, errors system etc), Repeated Actions] and those you need to be able to see, count and alert on if you want to ensure the best experience is happening.

Understanding speed is important but these response times in isolation or in their absence do not ensure a good online experience.  Understanding the speed from the customer’s experience changes the perspective and having the context is invaluable.

Flawed Assumption No. 5

Heatmaps give me all the insight I need into a customer’s online experience.

Well that’s simply not the case. Let’s be honest, like speed, this is only one aspect of customer experience.  Heatmaps only provide insight into aggregated interactions on a particular page but have no concept of complete user journeys

How do a combination of factors across the journey, such as particular error and warning messages, repeated navigations etc alter the propensity to purchase? Much more information is required or a flawed customer experience assumption is likely to be reached.

Flawed Assumption No. 6

I run VOC surveys and that tells me all I need to know about an issue. 

Again, a critical piece of the jigsaw, but (a real example so please excuse the wording) when a customer says “I was trying to buy x and you wouldn’t let me, wtf!!” then how do you act on this and understand if it’s an isolated experience?

Too often it is difficult to recreate a specific issue, and there is no insight into how many others experienced this issue. Given VOC responses are typically received by around  1% of the user population, that is a very small sample to work with and base decisions on.

Nobody wants to act on Flawed Customer Experience assumptions. But these are real issues that are costing ecommerce businesses revenue right now. The good news is that each can be addressed by digging deeper into our customers’ online experiences. By relying on the right mix of tools and data you can assume a little less, and earn a lot more J

To learn more about how Customer Experience Management could give your online business deeper insight into your clients online experiences, visit www.userreplay.com or call 0118 902 6810 to talk to a UserReplay expert.

optimizing the customer experience

Geoff Cantello

Geoff Cantello