The belief that customer experience underpins your online success is widely accepted. Excellent customer experience is the result of continuous website optimization. This is a never-ending struggle between the use of resources and the presence of statistical substantiation, with the underlying causes being incomprehensible data, the inability to uncover the core issues and the failure to convert data into action. This article takes a look at how one can start to introduce cohesion to the process.
Why do companies fail to perform continuous and structured optimization?
In a nutshell, many companies struggle to measure the digital experience, never mind turning that experience into genuine action. When we take a look at the reasons, we see that:
- Relevant data is missing;
- Companies are unable to uncover what the core issues are;
- Improvements are not carried through and are frequently poorly tested;
- The customer journey – including any obstacles the customer might encounter – is not properly charted;
- Triggers for ongoing research are absent.
Forrester 2016: website data is distributed across an array of departments
A three-step recipe for effectively measuring the customer experience
Step 1: As is so often the case, the biggest hurdle can be found at the outset – where does one start? The key is to expose obstacles and sticking points. Expert scans can prove to be a major aid in this respect, as they adopt a structured view of the obstacles and sticking points based on best practices, benchmarks, continuous measuring, and access to a huge amount of scientific research.
Step 2: The company will have to place a number of these obstacles under the microscope and work meticulously to uncover the true reasons for these sticking points. The customer journey must be structured and continuously charted using customer experience, the ongoing measurement of that experience, advanced web analytics, and linking that customer experience with those web analytics. When it comes to data, a distinction must be made between:
- Perceptive metrics: the customer’s subjective perception;
- Outcome metrics: what customers actually do;
- Descriptive metrics: the observable customer characteristics.
Forrester 2016: only 17% of companies link customer feedback to web analytics
Step 3: Once the data has been analyzed, the next step involves creating test scenarios based on A/B testing or multivariate testing that sees a number of those obstacles removed. The input will have to be a highly focused design of the points for improvement, with all of the knowledge gained from the previous phase incorporated.
The essence of successful web optimization
Forrester 2016: companies spend more time on measuring than on optimizing
It’s a simple question – what is the essence of web optimization? And the answer is equally simple: the above three-step process must be repeated every time. The trick is to take small steps and not to do too much simultaneously. There are a number of conditions your company must meet for the process to be successful:
- Ensure that all those people in the company who are involved come on board;
- Clearly link the obstacles/sticking points to the metrics;
- Substantiate the improvements to be introduced using designs and tests;
- Check whether these improvements are working – i.e. don’t stop measuring;
- Repeat the recipe for successful optimization each time.