How many times have you thought about the journeys your users perform on your site every day? Have you considered where customers are being directed to for FAQ’s and key information?
Furthermore, how many times have you been guilty of focusing on the raft of analytics available without considering the true customer journey – which spans a sequence of touch points across the website and has a clearly defined beginning and end?
Every customer journey on your site has the potential to be a fruitful, positive, and easy-to-navigate journey, where your users become your greatest advocates. But customer journeys like these are rare to find in the ever-evolving digital world. New functionalities, frequent product updates and higher customer expectations all make the process of owning a transactional website harder to maintain, and businesses focus is more on getting stuff out there, rather than the quality of the customer journeys.
So what happens when journeys are ignored, and focus shifts onto a hectic site update schedule?
This negatively affects your customers’ experience, and conversion blocking bugs manifest on your site, reducing your base-line conversion rate. Conversion blockers like 404 pages, below average site optimisation and broken links, discourage your customers from continuing to any other pages, and as a result, your revenue drops.
It’s no surprise that customers favour a website that works – and if your site is routinely updated without testing across a wide spectrum of mobile devices, tablets and desktops you risk losing custom.
Bad news travels fast
Not only do bad online experiences block conversions, but the time and money you have invested in marketing, advertisement and sales are wasted as customers turn away.
Your Customer Service team will certainly know about it – they’ll likely be receiving complaints from customers – either via social media, email or old school telephone contact – and that’s if the customer lets them know – they could just walk away and never come back.
Far too often the job of customer service falls on the team of Customer Service Advisors – whether telephone-based or in an increasingly omnichannel environment dealing with web-chats, social media postings, emails and yes, phone calls! Customer service isn’t just the job of one person or one team – it should fall on the entire organisation, and unfortunately, this is where it often goes wrong. If your organisation isn’t focused on putting the customer at the centre of what they do, align it to deliver against tangible outcomes and re-evaluate your customer journey using digital technologies such as your website or app and that’s where web testing comes in.
In an ever more demanding economy where customers have instant access to reviews, are given more choice, easier access to competitors, and spoiled for choice with competitive offers – there’s no doubt that companies are pressured to offer better service – and one that retains their customers – one that doesn’t just deal with a transaction that leaves the customer satisfied – but actually HAPPY with the service or product they have purchased so they come back. According to Thunderhead and Populus, 25% of us will switch to the next best choice in the blink of an eye after just ONE bad experience, and 45% will walk away from buying something if they must go from pillar to post to purchase.
There are many references across the internet on the needs of the online customer, and essentially, they can be noted in the following six basic needs – interestingly these are from the Dummies guide to customer service, which explains it very simply:
Every time your users do business with you they are without fully realising it scoring you on how well you are doing, not only at giving them what they want but at fulfilling six basic customer needs:
- Security: Users want to feel that they are in safe hands, and reviews help create a baseline perception of trust.
- Understanding and empathy: Users need to feel that the person providing the service understands and appreciates their needs. This can be done through personalisation and product recommendations.
- Options and alternatives: Users need to feel that other avenues are available to get what they want accomplished. Alternative and localised payment methods provide more options for users meaning no one gets left out.
- Information: Users need to be educated and informed about the products, policies, and procedures they encounter when dealing with your company. New trends focus more on providing learning content such as podcasts, blogs and an influencer page, as a way of educating users.
Whilst some of these are not obvious – they are needed when a user encounters your site, and it’s key that the business providing the service or product understands the user journey. But it doesn’t stop there. These are just the baseline requirements to entice a generalised customer-based, what about your specific target audience? This is where usability testing comes in. Usability testing uses real users that match your target audience and deploys them onto your site, highlighting website errors and providing valuable customer insights.