Tick tock. Tick tock.
There never seems to be enough time in the day. We’re always rushing from one place to another, wishing those hours ticking by would delay just once. This is especially true when it comes to our businesses and websites. If only we had the time to explore every single user path, click and ask every single customer how and where they are getting to our website. If you are actually doing this, I commend you and want to know how you find the time. If you’re like the rest of us, you’re working with the time you’ve got.
When exploring ways to move the customer satisfaction needle on your website, I urge you to forget about time. Embrace the fact that you’ll never finish searching for the big web payoff, and look for tools and tricks of the trade that can help you save time.
Make Changes. See Changes
It’s a classic frustration with customer satisfaction metrics: despite changes and updates to a website, ratings don’t move. Most customer satisfaction tools are clunky and slow moving by nature, lacking the ability to pinpoint specific problem areas or track the impact of changes made to individual pages. This desired speed and agility is applicable to both small and large websites. The more complex a website is, the less successful a site-wide tracking measure becomes as an indicator of how a website is actually performing. If you’ve got two pages and few links, this might reveal the depth of tactical information you’re seeking. My guess is those sites are few and far between. To uncover issues, replicate problems, and construct solutions on the fly, businesses must combine granular, page-specific data with contextual diagnostics and the ability to structure unstructured data.
The point being, feedback collection methodologies were made for speed and agility; allowing instant customization of comment card questions for individual pages without affecting the integrity of data and those techniques allow site managers to take action on key areas according to the data–as it comes in. Detailed VoC data and real-time reporting that tracks in the moment interaction uncovers a wealth of information that traditional reporting techniques just can’t.
Timing really is the name of the game.
tags: feedback marketing measurement
The very word strikes fear into the heart of any average joe marketer. It’s public enemy no. 1 and in some remote areas of the world the mere mention causes children to cry; spoken out loud it’s even been known to crash websites in one fell swoop. While a redesign is viewed with the same fuzzy association as the black plague, to us, it’s as simple as dispelling common folk lore surrounding the “r” word.
With more than twenty-five million ratings, comments from thousands of websites and a decade of experience, we’ve tracked quantitative and qualitative user feedback from around the world. Which means, we’re well qualified to bust any redesign myth by tracking well-trafficked, public websites through their own redesign process. We’ve even identified some interesting patterns in users’ responses that can be extrapolated to any business’ website.
tags: feedback measurement website redesign
Don’t jump the gun. Before we even jump into what our data indicates, remember that sustainable effects from any web enhancements do not emerge immediately; take your time in collecting feedback and data since user responses typically do not stabilize until discovery and explorations phases are complete. It can sometimes take months for these patterns to emerge. For this reason, tracking metrics are imperative to measuring the sustainable effects of a website redesign. If you do decide to use a pre-post design rather than a tracking measure, assess your frequency of repeat visits and allow ample time before conducting a post-mortem on the results.
Monitor User response
Any website doctor must monitor measures of user reaction to assess comparative satisfaction from the new vs. old. We suggest several aggregate measures for this purpose:
- Volume of ratings
- Mean page rating across all rated pages
- % of negative comments
- an OpinionLab proprietary metric called the Site Opinion Index (SOI), a measurement that translates a website’s ratings on content, design, usability, and overall satisfaction into an index that ranges from one to one thousand. SOI is designed to be a more discriminating measure than an average page rating for a website.
Know the stages
When examining the shape of data throughout a redesign, there are several stages that formulate a redesign.
- Pre-launch is the ground zero phase; it’s how your website is performing across all your aggregated measures before you begin your redesign. Don’t be tempted to skip this benchmark.
- In the two to eight week discovery period, it’s how visitors initially experience your website design efforts. The mix of qualitative and quantitative data at this stage usually reveals “the know” on behalf of the user, where the initial recognition of efforts to improve the website begin to register.
- Next users explore the redesign, usually through repeat visits to the site, where a stream of open-ended user comments are received. Users sign off on the new and improved design by addressing overlooked opportunities, functionality and expectations.
- Finally, it’s important to remember your site is a living, breathing organism. Never stop measuring Voice of Customer, listening to what customers need and want and translating that feedback into tactical and strategic plans of action.
Regardless of the chosen metric, measures need to be tracked through each stage of the redesign cycle. Look for long term redesign insights to emerge, taking care to give enough time to collect data from users. While it may seem like you need a medical degree to tackle a redesign, and lots of coffee for sleepless nights, with careful analysis and time, you’ll find that redesign efforts (and a little knowledge in SOI voodoo) aren’t really that scary after all.
It’s as simple as the title suggests. Any organization can collect copious amount of data and puke it back out in real time. But vendors still line up to present their power data pukes as the latest, greatest, and most unique evolution in business intelligence.
I’ll take one nugget of real, actionable insight–something meaty that I can act on–over any number of bland, colorless reports, charts, tables, or dashboards.
We live in an era of superfluous data. The first decade of the web era was about the battle to liberate the voices of real people. Well, that battle has been won and now, we have too much. We are overwhelmed. We suffer from what Clay Shirky has called filter failure. The volume of data has overpowered our basic analytical capabilities. The center cannot hold; the system breaks down, the levees crack and we are drowned in meaningless information. My friend works as a web analyst at the major canadian telco. In a perverse twist on Avinash’s famous 10/90 rule, he spends about 10% of his time surfacing insights and 90% of his time wrestling with a convoluted array of reports, charts, and dashboards from myriad suppliers. How productive is that?
As a marketer, give me something simple, intuitive, and concrete. Give me something I can sink my teeth into, something I can action, something that will help me make more money. Anything else, and you’re just power puking out data.
tags: analytics feedback measurement
Most audits suck.
OpinionLab is anything but traditional; we actually chose to conduct an audit. Of our own free will. Take a moment to let our life choices sink in.
We took the sixty most heavily trafficked websites in the United States (as identified by Quantcast audience-measurement services) and took a look at each website’s feedback methodology.
We wanted to know what exactly these sites were doing, and if there were any shared insights which we could then apply to any Voice of Customer (VoC) program. Each website’s feedback methodology was observed, recorded and benchmarked against best practices for capturing VoC.
We already know a web-based VoC feedback system should do the following:
- Be visible from every page of the website
- Be non-intrusive and user invoked
- Be clearly visible and available 24/7
- Always be located in the same place, on the same web page
- Accept simple, quantitative ratings as well as open-ended comments
- Be accessible with a single mouse click
- Not require the user to provide personal information
- Not require users to leave web pages they’re visiting
When we compared general VoC practices to these top visited sites we were happy to find that all but one of the audited websites accepted user feedback. That in of itself speaks volumes, but we wondered if these sites really were bringing their A-game when it comes to VoC collection techniques.
As a collective group:
- Three of every four audited sites rely on a “Contact Us” link as their primary VoC collection method. These links either launched an online form or pre-addressed email for the user to complete.
- 98% of audited websites collected some form of site-wide, open-ended feedback from visitors. This is great news for the VoC space and users everywhere.
- Only about ½ of the sixty most visited websites make the feedback link easy to locate, regardless of the type of link being used. We recommend locating the link in the same place on each page to increase user feedback volume.
- Keeping with best practices, 59% of sites allow users to access feedback links from every page.
- However, half of all users are then required to provide personal information when leaving feedback.
- 54% of all sites place the feedback link at the same location on every page.
- While contrary to general VoC practices, about half of all sites return the user to the appropriate page after feedback is submitted.
While many of these sites appreciate the value of collecting feedback, I wouldn’t say they are receiving top grades in the VoC feedback category. That being said, there are always shining stars of every class that not only follow best practices, but also help write them.
Maybe audits aren’t so bad after all.
tags: benchmarking measurement novice