User journey improvement – finding the big wins for eCommerce

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No organisation has unlimited resources and there will always be days in which staff struggle to complete an ever-expanding work schedule within the hours available.

And often it’s impossible to address every problem or issue, even if everyone on the team is prepared to work late or come in at the weekend. And on those occasions the role of managers is to look at jobs that have to be done and prioritise those that simply must be completed.

But deciding on priorities isn’t always easy. Some jobs are routine. They are scheduled for daily, weekly, monthly or annual completion and can normally be slotted in without too much difficulty. But others are unexpected and urgent. Whether triggered by a customer call or a memo from senior management, they demand immediate attention.

And website management and maintenance teams are not immune from this scenario. A customer complains about a malfunction on the site and that work is bumped to the top of the work-schedule queue. Two minutes later, someone from sales notices inaccurate pricing on a landing page and expects it to be put right at once. The phone rings again. The daily analytics report is showing a much higher than expected drop-off rate at the shopping cart following a software revamp. No one is quite sure why or whether it’s simply a blip, but the Director of Sales and Marketing feels it should be investigated before the end of the morning.

On the fly

And in these situations there is a real danger that work will be assigned on the fly – or in response to the stakeholder with the loudest voice – with technicians being diverted from one task to another as calls come in.

There is, of course, an apparently easy solution. Those problems that are having the biggest commercial impact on the company should go to the top of the queue while lesser issues can be dealt with later.

Deeper knowledge

But there is a problem – namely that the commercial impact of a particular problem is not always immediately obvious. 

Let’s take an example of two issues that might arise in the course of the working day. At 4.00pm customer service takes a call from a prospective purchaser who has been unable to enter his details into an online registration form. 

At 4.15pm another customer rings to say that she has been attempting to complete a purchase but when she got to the stage of choosing a delivery option, she couldn’t find the option buttons.  

Two problems that may take some time to fix. What’s more each call may indicate an issue that has hitherto been hidden. Perhaps 50, 100 or 1,000 people encountered the same problems but rather than calling the helpline they simply dropped off. At this stage nobody really knows the damage.

Understanding the impact 

This is where UserReplay can help, not only to identify the problem but also to quantify its impact.

With UserReplay’s experience management solution deployed, website managers can record every single customer journey, click-by-click and page-by-page. And when problems are reported or suspected, managers can replay selected journeys to establish what exactly has gone wrong.

So if we return to our examples, UserReplay might reveal that the first customer was unable to complete the registration form because it didn’t accept his double-barrelled name – a coding oversight.  And in scenario two, the customer couldn’t see the delivery option buttons because they were “off screen” on her browser of choice. This information enables engineers to solve the problem.

But which should be fixed first?

This depends on two things. Firstly how many other customers encountered the problem? Secondly when the problem is encountered, does it reduce the conversion rate and if so by how much? UserReplay can give you this information and taken together with the average basket size the lost revenue implications can be precisely quantified. Scarce technical resources can then be deployed to optimally recover sales rather than based on guesswork.

In our experience this kind of analysis often shows that problems that sound catastrophic are often quite minor in revenue impact, and minor sounding problems can be quite insidious.

In other words, you have the hard evidence required to ensure that the must damaging issues are dealt with first. And from a resourcing perspective, the technology saves you time as well as money.


Photo: Miniyo73/flickr cc