Companies are losing out on billions of dollars and pounds in revenue due to a poor online experience, according to research published today by Econsultancy and Tealeaf. A global survey of more than 500 businesses for the Reducing Customer Struggle report found that companies able to quantify site abandonment estimate they are losing the equivalent of 24% of their annual online revenue due to a bad website experience.
The research has found that companies typically have a much better understanding of what is happening at the top of the sales funnel compared to the bottom of the funnel around the point of conversion.
While companies have a relatively good grasp of where people come from before visiting their website, and what they are most likely to do on their first visit, they have relatively little understanding about why customers abandon the shopping checkout and leave websites without converting.
This focus on understanding customer acquisition and giving less emphasis to the rest of the sales and marketing cycle mirrors the marketing bias towards acquiring customers which has been a feature of the business landscape over the last few years.
As selling online has become more competitive, companies have belatedly been paying more attention to converting website visitors and retaining their custom. Companies are more aware that customer experience directly impacts their finances, as well as metrics such as customer satisfaction and loyalty.
As a result of this, the customer experience management (CEM) industry is fast gaining momentum, with technology companies and agencies increasingly meeting demand for tools and services to give their clients a competitive edge.Geoff Galat, CMO of Tealeaf, said:
“This research demonstrates a clear link between online customer experience and revenue generation. Ebusinesses have much to gain from better online visibility, particularly at the bottom of the sales funnel, where conversion rates should be highest. A poor online user experience, coupled with a lack of visibility and understanding, translates into a significant amount of lost revenue as well as added costs due to increased inbound enquiries.”
The research shows that most companies have a culture of reacting to problems only after customers have started to complain about something, rather than anticipating problems before they damage brand reputation and cost them significant sums of money.
The chart below shows how companies usually discover problems or issues with the customer experience.
Part of the problem is that businesses find it easier to collect data about 'what' is happening on their websites, rather than actually collecting insightful information about 'why' something is happening.
This next chart shows which approaches or methods companies use to understand the online customer experience. Despite being used by a minority of companies surveyed, user testing and session replay technology are regarded as the most effective methods. Ultimately, companies need to ensure that they are using a blend of quantitative and qualitative tools or approaches to deliver 'actionable' insights.
As well as looking at the tools used for improving success rates, the report focuses on the extent to which companies have the right processes in place to improve the experience. Only around half (49%) of companies have processes in place for prioritising problems and issues faced by customers online, and then addressing them.
One of the areas explored in the report is how companies approach social media content relating to customer experience issues. Only 20% say that tweets or comments are monitored by a customer service team, while 59% say that the marketing department monitors this. A third of companies (34%) say that there is an escalation procedure so the right team gets notified.
The report also explores levels of online and offline integration within businesses. Only 3% of respondents describe the multichannel experience their companies provide as 'excellent', while just under a quarter (24%) say this is 'poor' (20%) or 'very poor' (4%). For the majority of companies surveyed (60%), the offline parts of their business have little or no visibility into individual customer activity and engagement.