Cartoon frustated business man in front of his computer

We’re all used to completing forms online – sometimes they work well, other times they can be confusing and frustrating. Consequently, this can be an area where customers drop out of key processes on a website such as checkout, insurance quoting, registration and many more.

In an increasingly global eCommerce environment, consumers need to be able to easily complete online forms for any brand, anytime, anywhere. We have outlined below some of the common issues that cause customers to struggle when completing online forms:

1. Fields that do not accept special characters

It’s a challenge for brands to cover all the bases here but there are some common errors we see arising again and again. For example, town fields that do not accept certain types of punctuation such as a hyphen. The people of Weston-Super-Mare struggle a lot!

Similarly, this applies to name fields where apostrophes and hyphens are not accepted. For example, names such as O’Neill would not be accepted as valid. Rather ironically, the founder of the worldwide web, Tim Berners-Lee probably has more than his fair share of frustrations trying to enter his surname as well!

2. Postcode vs. ZIP code

For non-US consumers, the dreaded ZIP code field often appears on forms. Most people try to enter their postcode but often the form field does not allow for enough characters or the right format. For example, UK consumers are typically used to writing their postcode with spaces.

3. Mandatory fields that are not applicable

Address fields are a minefield internationally. One of the most common issues is that the ‘state’ field often requires an entry but none of the selectable values are relevant outside of the US. Form fields need to be flexible depending on the country origin of the customer and need to ensure there is always a relevant option that can be selected – even if it is something like “outside US”.

4. Phone number formatting and validation

As with the punctuation limitations in names and addresses, the problems don’t stop with phone numbers. Entering international phone numbers often causes problems because of brackets and plus signs in front of the country code. Many forms are designed not to accept these characters which can be frustrating for users if they are used to writing their phone number in this way. Also, the field may be designed to accept numbers in a very specific format. We saw an issue at one of our customers where they were validating Republic of Ireland phone numbers against the Northern Ireland phone number format. Users in the Republic of Ireland could not progress through the form on this basis and sales were being lost.

5. Usability issues on mobile devices

As more and more of us use mobile devices to access websites, we are seeing frustrations with the ability of forms to work correctly on these devices. Elements that work perfectly well on desktop may not have been adapted to work correctly with touch screens. For example, have you ever been annoyed when trying to use a selector button that does not react correctly to touch control?

Whilst these issues seem straightforward and are often relatively easy to fix, many organisations just do not know their customers are experiencing them and, crucially, how much impact they are having on conversion. This is why UserReplay has introduced a new, fully automated Form Analytics capability to enhance our already powerful CEM solution.

The UserReplay form analytics capability is a “fire and forget” solution that automatically identifies forms and form fields in the page and captures key data about their usage. This data is then used to automatically populate form analytics within the UserReplay portal. These analytics include overall form completion and engagement overviews, actionable form conversion funnels and field drop-off analysis. The analytics can also be sliced by segments such as time and browser/OS platform. Of course, the usual benefits of UserReplay apply such that when form field issues are discovered you can use event based analytics to monetize the impact of these issues on conversion.

Form field fails could be costing your business significantly in terms of lost conversions. With UserReplay you can make form field fails a thing of the past! Find out more here.

How well do you really understand your customers’ experiences on your website? Can you measure the quality of experience at any particular point in time? Can you measure the impact of change on your customer base as it happens?

As we mentioned in our Digital Customer Experience Predictions blog, 2016 will be the year data truly helps to drive decision-making in eCommerce. Data collection and data analysis will become more closely aligned and usable in real-time, making it easier to prove ROI of technology investments and identify areas of focus.

In recognition of this, UserReplay has launched Customer Experience Scoring, a ground-breaking new capability that enables eCommerce organizations to measure the quality of online customer experiences in real time. Numerical scores are generated to measure the ‘quality’ of a customer’s journey on a brand’s web properties – both from a positive and negative perspective. As well as providing a score for each individual customer journey, an aggregate score can also be collated across all customers to give a measurement of overall customer experience. This is significant because previously this type of measurement and trending was only available on individual aspects of customer experience.

Customer Experience Scoring is an extension of UserReplay’s flagged event technology. Flagged events enable analytics and monitoring into specific activity and behavior of visitors. Now scores can be assigned to flagged events that indicate their impact on the user experience. UserReplay has developed this capability based on specific market feedback. This feedback revealed that measuring the overall customer experience in this way would be valuable but has not been easily achievable to date.

The benefits for eCommerce brands are far reaching in terms of a deeper understanding of their customer base, identifying long and short term trends and reactions to specific events. For example, the ability to measure the impact of a new feature or a change to a website process. If the customer experience score changes, the brand can respond accordingly. This will significantly reduce the time spent on identifying issues that cause customer struggle.

There are also significant benefits in terms of enhancing the understanding of individual customers. Struggle and success scores can be integrated with the data companies already hold about individuals. This means you can have more informed, personalized interactions with the customer that take into account how good or bad their online experiences have been. This does not just impact on how you market to your customers but also extends to areas such as customer service, giving you the ability to proactively address issues customers are having.

With customer experience increasingly a major differentiator, Customer Experience Scoring will give you a competitive edge in the fight for customer satisfaction. For the first time you will have instant visibility of customer experience quality.

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A few brands, such as John Lewis, seem to effortlessly retain their reputation for quality and service while others see their star rise and fall.

Sometimes that fall can be driven by the changing desires of customers, who may remain loyal to brand A for a year or so before seeing something more appealing in competitor brand B.

But while customers can indeed be fickle, great online customer experience can keep customers loyal to a site they trust and reduce the temptation of moving to a new one.

The invisible experience

Unlike say, the queues in a supermarket or the faces of diners wondering when their food is going to arrive, the problems faced by digital customers often may not be apparent.  Continue reading “Protecting your online brand investment”

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. Continue reading “User journey improvement – finding the big wins for eCommerce”

Adding an item to an online shopping cart requires nothing more than a click. It can be done in an instant with very little thought.

But sadly for online businesses, the customer can abandon a shopping cart equally quickly. An individual may add one or two items and then simply leave the site. More frustratingly, many customers progress all the way to the check out before making a decision not to purchase. 

As online merchants of all kinds know only too well, more customers abandon than convert. According to the Baymard Institute the abandonment rate current stands at 68%. In other words, if 1,000 people visit a site and add at least one item to their shopping carts, 680 will bail out while only 320 will enter their card details and press the buy button. That represents a huge amount of lost business.  Continue reading “Customer journey – how to recover high value abandoned shopping carts online”