- Path Confusion: Shoppers are unaware how to accomplish a task such as search for a product, get an answer to a customer service question or purchase an item.
- Information Confusion: Shoppers do not understand information on a web page.
- Process Concerns: Customers aren’t aware of a process such as the ability to submit a loan application online or change their mailing address through the website.
- Content Fragmentation: Information is spread across the site, requiring shoppers to hunt for answers in different sections.
- System Failures: Nothing is worse than a failed transaction. Customers will abandon a retailer when they don’t have confidence in the company.
Eliminate Customer Struggles for a Better Online Experience
Here’s a common scenario—a guy realizes that his mother’s birthday is just two days away and he’s yet to pick out a gift for her. Time to panic? Hardly. With the convenience of online shopping, last-minute gift-giving has become the norm for so many of us. So he powers up his laptop, and after 45 minutes of browsing different home and garden websites he decides on a new gardening bag. Spring is right around the corner, and it would make the perfect gift. He adds the item to his cart and clicks “check out.” He waits. He clicks again. He waits. He hits the “back” button. He examines the contents of his cart and tries again. He is brought to the checkout page only to find that his cart is empty. Transaction failed. Frustrated, the consumer curses at his computer and starts the process all over again—this time on a different vendor’s website. Then he does something a rapidly growing number of online consumers do—he tweets some disparaging remarks about his poor experience on the first site he’d visited. Punctuated with colorful language and a snarky sense of humor, his tweet goes viral, with hundreds of other disgruntled customers piling on. Within days, Letterman and Leno mention it in their opening monologues, and the consumer is even invited to be a guest on The View. The home and garden website in question is thrown into full-fledged crisis management mode, but the tide is too big to turn. The company reports a huge decrease in sales the following quarter. Within a year, the online retailer is forced to shutter its doors and rebrand, effectively starting all over. Hyperbole? Perhaps. Completely unrealistic? Not necessarily. In fact, you don’t have to look far to find real-world examples. Remember the guy who posted a song on YouTube about United breaking his guitar, or Kevin Smith tweeting that Southwest made him purchase two seats to accommodate his girth? With social media giving a mouthpiece to anyone with an opinion, individual consumers have never been as powerful as they are today. Online retailers with unfocused customer experience management strategies run the risk of having a single unflattering comment balloon out of proportion, putting a serious dent in their reputations—as well as their balance sheets. The Temkin Group has outlined five common causes of online customer struggle. Each one results in an unsatisfactory experience that costs ebusinesses revenue and can lead to brand damage.Submitted by Geoff Galat on March 22, 2011.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and not necessarily those of Online Behavior or its Owners.