It’s no secret that customer experience — whether in-store or online — is a critical part of business success. Shoppers have more options than ever to acquire the product or service of their choice, and increasingly simple ways to move from one brand to another if the experience they’re having is subpar.
The statistics back this up: poor experiences on digital platforms cost brands valuable business, with 95 percent of consumers reporting they will leave a website for reasons such as links not working or ads blocking the page view. Brands can no longer risk delivering a frustrating or even somewhat glitchy digital experience without putting brand loyalty — and revenue — on the line.
These high stakes for satisfaction are difficult to manage when the user experience is so subjective and qualitative in nature. To garner intelligence on shoppers’ digital experiences, retailers traditionally have used surface-level web analytics, surveys and testing. However, these old-school approaches aren't enough to keep the modern, data-driven business competitive.
Without the right means, most brands don’t have the capabilities to quantify the successes or pitfalls of digital experiences.
Retailers Need More Than NPS and A/B Testing
Traditionally, the standard business metric for measuring customer satisfaction has been Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys. While NPS provides businesses with a broad assessment of how customers feel about a company, it completely ignores key metrics brands need to understand the reasoning behind those feelings, beyond those who give feedback.
With A/B testing, another method to determine what’s working on a website or app, two or more variants are shown to shoppers at random, before a statistical, long-form analysis determines which version performs better.
The problem is that both methods for measuring digital experience occur after the user has already left the site. The tests and surveys need to be conducted regularly to keep the data relevant and up to date. Each process requires significant investments of time and resources, as well as an analysis of the data.
Instead, retailers need to quantify the user experience — which has long been treated as a qualitative metric only — to understand how shoppers feel. Then, based on that intelligence, they can benchmark and improve each digital experience.
Digital Body Language Pinpoints Faults
Digital body language refers to the interactions and gestures a user makes on a website or app, ranging from how fast and at which angles they move their mouse, rotate their device, or where they click, tap, hover and scroll. In a store, a clerk can visually see and understand how a shopper is feeling based on his or her physical body language and take the next appropriate steps to alleviate problems or answer questions. Those responsible for managing online experiences — web designers, app developers, user experience managers or marketers — must take the same approach and read customers’ digital body language.
By gaining intelligence into users’ digital body language, retailers can more quickly pinpoint and alleviate negative interactions that might lead to a shopper leaving. For example, multiple device rotations or erratic mouse movements indicate frustration or confusion, typically implying that the shopper is about to leave the site or app. Retailers should intervene immediately to either fix the problem or provide compensation (e.g., a coupon or free product) to save the experience. Alternatively, if a user shows engagement, retailers can duplicate the successful content across other areas of the digital platform.
New Technology Enables Brands
Innovations in customer experience technology serve as the critical underpinning that brands need to successfully deliver digital experiences. To begin measuring shoppers’ digital body language and ultimately improve experiences over time to stay competitive in the marketplace, retailers can look to new technologies. Artificial intelligence and digital experience intelligence platforms, for example, make the task of better understanding online shoppers easier.
Tim de Paris is chief technology officer at Decibel, a digital experience intelligence company.