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The Importance of Online Customer Experience

08th April 2019

In theory, online businesses and their customers both want the same thing: a frictionless interface that makes it easy to engage in every kind of business transaction – from buying and selling to a simple exchange of information.

In practice, however, retailers and brands are having to dedicate an increasing amount of resources to their online channels in order to provide the intuitive, apparently effortless, customer experience that has gradually become the default expectation. We recently teamed up with Mobify to host an event in London for retailers on “The Road to CX Success” and got a lot of good insights and shared learnings from the retailers in the room. You can see an overview of the event in the video below or keep reading for the key takeaways.

Running a successful website is no longer just about providing the right content or limbering up for Google’s latest page-ranking athletics. Keeping the CX as swift and smooth as possible is likely to be your biggest challenge by a mile.

Mobile consumers expect more

The rapid shift towards mobile browsing is the reason that web performance has become the single biggest signifier of online customer satisfaction. Although page load speed is a factor for all desktop users, tolerance of tardy performance drops through the floor when people take to mobile platforms.

Most recent research also indicates that the speed at which information is served to users has a direct and measurable effect not just on traffic levels but also on sales volumes and brand perception. A delay of even a second or two can lead to a disproportionate reduction in conversions. And if visitors have a bad experience, not only are they less likely to return, they also won’t think twice about broadcasting their disappointment on social media.

Companies who focus on improving online performance can expect to score more highly on customer satisfaction ratings which, in turn, will boost conversion rates.

Optimising the CX isn’t easy

Optimising your online channels to provide the best CX is challenging. The primary aim is to create value in the eyes of your customers, which means leveraging all the user touchpoints your site offers, including the search function, review options and product comparison features, for instance. The flip side to this approach is that it can affect performance. Simply put, the more content you enable, the more dynamic and complex your website is likely to be – often incorporating dozens of third-party components that have to operate seamlessly across a variety of platforms.

The expectation of delivering a more personalised experience to individual customers adds an extra layer of complication – although it’s a trend that definitely shouldn’t be ignored.

Naturally, all this has to be achieved without adversely impacting page speed and load times – for every second you make consumers wait, you reduce the chance of them either buying from you or even visiting your site again.

Prioritize performance across your business

Prioritising performance is no longer just an issue for the tech team: taking a company-wide approach to performance improvement will drive business benefits across the board. But it’s critical that performance is monitored in a way that returns data that precisely identifies where and how problems are affecting the CX.

The thinkTRIBE approach effectively recreates the customer’s experience, monitoring system performance not through analysing statistics but by engaging in hundreds of customer journeys that probe the site’s performance and pinpoints any weak links or bottlenecks before they become a problem. This 24/7 monitoring system behaves in exactly the same way as your customers, gauging the quality of the experience through any specific journey, providing actionable insights that will bring measurable benefits.