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The Reducing Customer Struggle report that we produced recently with Econsultancy found that the majority of etailers (76%) generally first become aware of website issues when customers call or email the contact centre.

The problem with this method and other feedback channels, such as voice of customer feedback forms, is that the onus is on the customer to help recreate or replicate the issue in question.

It also doesn’t allow a company to help all the other thousands of customers that experience a problem but that, instead of getting in touch directly, merely drop off the site and conduct their transaction with your competitor instead, possibly complaining about your brand on Twitter as they go.

Being proactive is therefore vital in both cases.

So who is doing it well?

This is why I was delighted to come across a use case by one of our leading travel customers that has been particularly effective at extracting actionable insights from customer feedback.

In one case, visitors gave feedback from a web form, complaining that they were struggling to complete the registration process and were unable to complete reservations. The challenge the company faced was understanding and replicating the cause of this customer struggle.

Through an innovative integration between this customer feedback data and real-time session replays, the company was able to view the actual web session of any customer that filled in the feedback form.  

By replaying these sessions, the travel company discovered that a number of customers were attempting to access the website by re-registering for an existing account, triggering the system to recognise a duplicate email address. The customer received an error page that then left them trapped in an endless loop.

Armed with this information, the travel company redesigned the bookings page to allow customers to complete a transaction with the option not to register. Nearly 50% of its customers now book using the ‘book without registering option; an obvious improvement to the website design but also to the business.

The feedback forms had alerted the company to the problem, but it would have been time-consuming, if not impossible, to recreate the issue with this information alone. Using session replays, the team was able to pinpoint exactly what happened.

Now that is what I call a proactive, customer-centric approach to customer feedback. And it wouldn’t be difficult to see how a similar process could be used in the contact centre too.

Customer feedback: a two-way street 

Don’t forget that customer feedback is a two-way conversation so, if you have taken action to improve your site or service on the back of customer feedback, let them know!

While a customer might feel frustrated that they had to contact you to address an issue in the first place (and of course proactively identifying customer struggle can help here too), they will appreciate knowing their comments didn’t fall on deaf ears.

Small, directed efforts like these go a long way to improving customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, and of course improving the overall online customer experience.

Geoff Galat

Published 4 November, 2011 by Geoff Galat

Geoff Galat is Worldwide VP of Marketing at IBM Tealeaf and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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