Online forms don’t exist in a bubble – they’re part of your overall customer journey. Understanding how people get to your forms and what they do after completing or abandoning them is just as important as how the form itself is performing.
We explore how to look beyond your forms to enhance your customer journey and improve conversions.
A Journey of Discovery
How well is your website working? And how would you know if it wasn’t? These are questions all businesses should be asking. And the answers can be revealed by understanding every stage of your customer’s journey. From their first to last click you need to know how people move around your site.
As part of your website design you probably established a customer journey map aimed at herding your customers through your site towards your desired outcome. Whether that’s to buy, fill out a contact form or provide their details in return for more information. Or any of the other million and one possible actions you might want potential clients or consumers to take.
However, a good customer journey map should not be all about your business. On the other side of the coin is customer experience: website design that provides your customers with what they’re looking for in a way that makes sense to them.
By mapping out your customers journeys, from the first interaction to the last, you can identify whether they are achieving their goals as well as fulfilling the needs of your business.
Being sensitive to the demands of your site visitors may feel like something that can best be judged using experience and intuition. Yet this approach can be clouded by misconceptions leading to poor decision making when optimising websites and forms.
A better approach is to incorporate objective data using customer journey analytics tools.
Join the Dots With Data
Think of your website as a dot-to-dot picture book. Every time a customer lands, reads, clicks and moves around your site, they leave a digital dot. Join these dots and you create a revealing picture of their interactions that will provide the basis for website and form optimisation.
Source: University of Pennsylvania
Overlay this data with your customer journey map and you will be able to identify any unintended consequences of your system’s design.
Establishing which areas of your site are causing customers most problems means you can focus your optimisation efforts in key areas. By making changes to particular elements of your site – including forms – you will smooth the customer’s experience.
This analysis is worth carrying out as McKinsey revealed that maximising customers’ satisfaction with their journeys has the potential to:
- increase satisfaction by 20%
- improve revenue by 15%
- reduce customer service costs by 20%
Their research also showed that measuring the entire customer journey is 30% more predictive of overall customer satisfaction than measuring happiness for each individual interaction. Therefore, finding a tool that can analyse data in detail, as well as providing an overview, is critical in delivering outstanding customer experience.
Why would this be? Positive experiences generate trust which is one of the biggest drivers of satisfaction and loyalty. Setting out your website in a way that makes sense to the people using it and ensuring that it delivers what it promises will gain customer trust.
There are three major ways to go about doing this:
- Identify five of the journeys that are most important to your customers and start your cause analysis and improvements there.
- Fix those areas where negative experiences are most common as these significantly outweigh any positive customer experiences.
- Conduct your analysis and start making changes now. McKinsey found that customers’ patience for variable delivery is lower today than ever before.
To predict opportunities, track progress and monitor the effectiveness of your changes you will need to set specific metrics and analytics to report on the journey as a whole not just touchpoints.
Big Data Delivers Genuine Insight
By adding this additional layer of information, which could include millions or even billions of data points, you are objectively bringing your customer journey map to life. Instead of boiling down statistics to a single customer journey, data at this scale is truly representative.
This degree or detail will enable you to identify a far more granular and nuanced picture of your customer experience than a customer journey map can provide. And, with this power, you can find out the answers to complex questions like these:
- What percentage of clients took a specific path?
- Which steps did purchasing customers take prior to completing the checkout form?
- What steps did non-purchasing customers take prior to the checkout form?
- When is the best time to interact with a given customer?
- Which channel works best when interacting with the client?
- What other paths do customers take?
- Do different types of customers take different paths?
- How do we add value for each client in a particular context?
Instead of trying to make fundamental design decisions from a macro level picture you can drill down into the micro-steps and trial different actions. Supported by A/B testing or real-time monitoring you can identify which changes improve customer experience and which require further work.
Improving your customer journey needn’t be a stab in the dark or a best guess based on experience and instinct. Employing customer journey analytics is the objective way to assess your customer’s experience, make impactful changes and assess their effects not only on your customer’s experience but on your bottom line too.
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