An excellent customer experience is a vital as companies look to gain an edge over competitors, yet many still lack a complete understanding of the issues facing customers. 

More than three quartera of respondents in our Reducing Customer Struggle 2013 report, produced in association with IBM Tealeaf say they have a ‘good’ or ‘okay’ understanding of their customers’ online experience. 

While the number rating their understanding as ‘excellent’ has increased from 4% in 2012 to 7% this year, 14% still rate their knowledge of this as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. 

So how are companies seeking to understand the online customer experience, and which methods are effective? 


Understanding the online customer experience

As the chart below shows, there is a discrepancy between the popularity of some methods are their perceived effectiveness. 

Methods used to understand the customer experience:

For example, while online surveys are used by 63% of respondents, just 25% rate them as ‘very effective’.

Perhaps this is not surprising, as they are often an interruption to the customer experience.

Many ecommerce sites serve a survey pop-up as soon as visitors arrive at the site. This is not only irrelevant, as the customer may not have had a chance to use the site, but it is also a barrier to potential buyers. 

As Tim Leighton-Boyce points out in his excellent two-part article on ecommerce consumer surveys, placement is key, and one good place to use them is in the order confirmation page.

It may be that the companies not finding this tactic useful are simply not employing it properly. 

On the other hand, while session replays and online focus groups are rated highly, with 94% of respondents rating these methods as ‘effective’ or ‘very effective’, they are used by a minority of respondents. (28% and 18% respectively).

Identifying issues with the customer experience

Session replay is considered the most effective method for identifying problems or issues with the digital experience, with the vast majority (98%) of responding organisations considering it ‘very’ (67%) or ‘quite’ (31%) effective.

The proportion of respondents rating it as a ‘very effective’ method has increased by 10% in the last 12 months.

The next highest rated methods are calls to customer service teams (41%) and digital analytics (40%), followed by usability/heatmaps (38%), though this is the least used method. 

Methods used for identifying problems or issues with the digital experience