By Christian Bennefeld, chief executive of etracker
In the last five years the online landscape has changed dramatically. Today web users not only have greater expectations of their online shopping experience they also have a proliferation of social networks and a whole host of platforms to vent their opinions on websites and brands within their online communities.
An important part of customer service, and something that can differentiate you in these competitive times, is listening and responding to feedback from users online. But monitoring the various channels can be both daunting and time consuming.
For many online retailers giving their online audience a way of providing direct feedback on their website is a more efficient way of understanding user experience and satisfaction.
Users increasingly expect the ability to feedback immediately and by enabling this functionality site owners show that they are willing to listen, value input and respond to user feedback. Retailers can then use this information to improve their business proposition, optimise their website and ultimately increase their online conversion rates.
Two of the best methods of getting feedback from online customers through a website are the use of a non-intrusive direct feedback button and online surveys. With all methods of obtaining feedback the key is to continually monitor satisfaction – it’s not enough to do a big research project only once a year – ad hoc research only measures user satisfaction at that one moment.
By continually measuring retailers can track important changes in levels of satisfaction that occur over time due to changes in a number of things including the website, products and competitor products. Constantly listening also means a retailer can react immediately to any outside influences to increase satisfaction and achieve a competitive advantage.
The first method of obtaining this feedback is through the use of onsite surveys based on proven market research methodologies. These surveys can give retailers meaningful insight into what drives satisfaction with specific target groups and how well as a business they are doing in that area.
User behaviour analysis can be used to identify which users should be surveyed, for example visitors that fail to complete a process can be asked why. For the survey to be effective it’s important to ensure that the questioning only takes place after the user has finished what they’re doing on the site so retailers can access the satisfaction of their complete visit.
Web optimisation tools can compile these results into a prioritised ‘to do’ list for improving user satisfaction on a strategic as well as a tactical level.
The other popular method of obtaining feedback is through the use of direct feedback buttons which allow users to give specific feedback on the page they are visiting at that very moment, or their experience in general.
An advantage of using direct feedback tools is that they allow quick responses and remedial action as the feedback can be delivered directly to the team responsible for that area of the site. For example if a user was having a technical problem his feedback would go directly to the web support team.
Combining the information from both direct website feedback and onsite surveys provides retailers with in depth insights. For example if the survey shows that usability is a key driver for satisfaction and the website is scoring poor in that area, direct feedback can tell which pages are being rated poorly for usability and why, allowing a retailer to improve based upon what’s important to its users.
Further value can be derived by using web optimisation tools that combine website feedback and onsite survey data together with web analytics data.
This allows retailers to drill down even further, for example, combining the information from they would be able to tell what drives satisfaction for 20-29 year old males who’ve come from Google and used a certain search term as well as how well they are doing in the areas that drive satisfaction for that group.
Web optimisation tools, such as mouse tracking solutions, can also be used to analyse what happened during a user’s visit, when they provided information about a problem on a certain page using a feedback button. In this way retailers can achieve a 360° view of their customers that can help them optimise their website more effectively.
As an online retailer a key part of customer service is to continually listen to your web users and to make changes according to their feedback to improve your conversion rates and ultimately profitability. By providing an easy way to leave feedback retailers can empower their customers, increase their satisfaction and make them invaluable vocal advocate’s for their brand.
And the best thing is that direct feedback requires less time monitoring than tracking all social media and online channels, giving a retailer’s marketing team more time to develop the site and create a ‘win win’ situation.