Website journeys – how much are the “unknown unknowns” costing your online business?

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It’s 5.00pm on a Tuesday afternoon and one of your contact centre staff takes a call from a customer who has been trying to complete the purchase of a suit ahead of an upcoming job interview and he encounters a problem. Rather than using his home laptop he’s been attempting to buy the item using an old mobile phone. He’s on the check out page but the order won’t go through – the link to the payment gateway keeps failing.

Of course, the the contact centre agent is able to solve the customer’s issue by taking their order over the phone.

All’s well that ends well then. Not quite because there are questions to be answered, the chief of which is whether other customers are encountering the same problem and simply leaving the site rather than ringing the helpline. And if so, how many people have been affected and how much has the glitch cost in terms of lost business?

Hard questions

These are hard questions to answer because you’re entering the realm of known unknowns. You know, thanks to the call, that you’ve got a problem but there’s no easy way to find out how many other customers have been affected. Perhaps 99% of customers had no issue and carried on with the purchase. On the other hand, maybe 40% bailed out as soon as they encountered a problem. And was the issue limited to this one type of mobile device?  You simply don’t know.  

You know your conversion rate. What you don’t know is the extent to which this payment gateway issue discourages and prevents conversion. Thus, you can’t really assign a cost to this particular issue using traditional web analytics.

Assessing the impact

The UserReplay platform records every single customer journey and these can be replayed – in real time when required. So in the case of our frustrated mobile customer, the contact centre could have replayed the user’s journey to see what the problem they were encountering was. They can then bookmark this replay for the technical team to do deeper analysis.

Of course, not every customer who has an issue will tell you about it.  However, UserReplay provides powerful struggle analytics that allow you to drill-down to journeys that are having issues to allow discovery of these “unknown unknowns”.

Once the issue is discovered, you can use UserReplay to quickly see the percentage of customers who had payment gateway issues and carried on to complete the order versus those who were stopped in their tracks. Not only that, but you can also see the lost opportunity value in terms of revenue that this issue is causing.  This provides a means to quickly assess whether this issue is a problem worth prioritising.

For instance, if 20% of your customers are checking out using mobile devices and 25% are being stopped by a payment gateway issue, then you’re losing 5% of your orders. UserReplay will tell you what that would represent annually in cash terms across the business based on your average order value.

So thanks to UserReplay you have a clear understanding of just how much a particular problem is costing the business. This in turn allows you to prioritize remedial work. Your engineers are likely to have a long list of issues that require attention. Once you know the cost of these issues to the business, you have hard evidence to underpin any decision about which should be fixed first. 

It’s a question of fully quantifying the impact of a problem rather than relying on educated guesswork.


Photo: Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon/flickr cc