June 06, 2012 | The XM Blog

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall


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Once upon a time there was a beautiful website. It had cool buttons, pictures of pretty people, and things that did things. People visited and gazed upon these things and were amazed. But when these people tried to buy something and couldn’t they got restless, grabbed torches and pitchforks and rose as one! But then realized they didn’t want to ruin their new computers so they put the torches and pitchforks down and filled out a survey instead.

It’s a tragic tale – one we’ve heard many times before in Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, and Shrek. The moral being: beauty is only skin deep, or it’s what’s on the inside that matters. We fool ourselves by asking the mirror, but when the mirror tells us the truth we get upset.

We all too often see this in the e-retail industry. Companies spend big bucks to develop a sleek website that looks shiny and new. That makes perfect sense because you want to look professional and trustworthy and cool and hip to draw customers in. But retailers sometimes forget that it’s the substance behind the flash that really counts. It’s not about gazing into a mirror and asking who is the fairest of them all. When it comes to the customer experience we need to take a good, long look under the surface.Though not quite a fairytale, here’s an example from one of our clients on why asking the mirror just won’t cut it.

This particular client had made substantial improvements to their website, including additional functionality, but they were not seeing a corresponding increase in their overall satisfaction score they had anticipated. The website management team was confident that the changes were indeed improvements, but had a hunch they were being offset by site performance issues.

The client obtained their customer satisfaction data by way of the all-powerful and mighty ForeSee client portal and their team attempted the heroic feat of analyzing the data themselves. They had a hard time pinpointing the problem, so they decided another mirror’s opinion was needed and reached out to us to provide some additional insight.

To give the client’s website management team credit, their initial assumption wasn’t too far off. Our team’s analysis confirmed that site performance scores had indeed gone down significantly since the site changes, and showed an increase in the occurrence of technical issues on the site. More specifically, and possibly even more significant, the data revealed an extremely high rate of technical issues preventing customers from redeeming coupons. Our team of data ninjas recommended immediate exploration into the repair of the coupon redemption issues, and added custom questions to help dig deeper into the specifics of other technical issues visitors were experiencing.

The analysis we provided helped the client convince their internal stakeholders that they needed to focus their resources and efforts on technical – not cosmetic – improvements to the site. The client implemented technical upgrades toward the end of 2011 and as a result, they were rewarded with significant improvements in three key metrics when comparing the pre-site makeover with the post-technical upgrades. They experienced:

  • A 20% drop in the number of visitors unable to redeem coupons
  • A 12-point increase in site performance score
  • An 11-point increase in overall satisfaction.

So, the moral of the story is:  it’s time to put away the mirror and break out the microscope to take a good look under the surface at what’s really going on. Expertly leveraging the voice of customer can help your business grow to be the fairest in all the land!

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About the Author

As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, Verint delivers superior technology and proven methodology to connect the customer experience to the bottom line. The result is better business for companies and a better experience for consumers.

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