One of the common questions optimization (CRO) experts get is, how do you find customer pain points on your website so that it could be fixed or tested to improve site experience?
Common answer you may get back is finding customer’s pain points on the website and then go fix it by using analytics tool like Google Analytics, Site Catalyst, Webtrends, etc. However, the art of finding the customer’s pain points is usually deeper than what you may expect. Here are some ideas, but would definitely love to hear from you if you have any.
Look deeper into error page visitors
The 404 Error Page is something all brands should worry about. There is an unavoidable situation like when I entered some random URL in Google search which gives me the following result. However, if your visitors are hitting this page through existing link on your production site, or your marketing campaign is driving to a 404 page, then that could be a super lame experience for the people visiting your website.
Things to consider in reviewing your error page visitors are by taking a deeper look (or segmenting) the 404 visitors:
- What URLs people used to arrive at 404
- What traffic sources are leading to this error page
- What landing page is driving traffic to this error page? Not all people land on 404 page directly, could be a particular page with an expired link. Could be many other things.
- Details around the technical environment. Certain browser, device type, OS, time of day 404 error page increases?
Use VOC and segment data on people who could not Task Complete
What website owners think as an error or failure point may be different from how customers see it. If you have some kind of survey or feedback capture mechanism on your site, then you might want to cater questions that could help you understand customer pain points.
Usually, the survey tool allows you to serve the survey on any page you want, or if you have it served across many pages, the data export gives the URL where the survey was taken.
So in this example, you might be able to find pages with high responses from people who said ‘No’ to ‘Were you able to find the information you were looking for?’. Now you have a good starting point for trying to formulate a good hypothesis on why a particular page sucks, and what needs to get optimized.
One of my favorite analysis and observation points is Clicktale and iPerceptions integration, where I get to see session recordings of people who left negative feedbacks. For example, survey respondent to the iPerceptions survey who have rated the site experience at 0 (0 out of 10, 10 being great), Clicktale will allow you to see user behavior from those who rated 0 on the customer satisfaction survey. You may find something interesting about the site that you did not know about. How awesome is that, to be able to understand what customer exactly went through?
Drop off between form submit and actual form submit completed
It is very common to tackle optimizing some kind of behavior funnel, or form submission funnel to reduce people dropping off in a certain step. Example, trying to increase shopping cart closure rate.
What don’t we hear much from this type of analysis is that what if people click on that last ‘Submit’ button, but the data did not go through? In eCommerce example, it is that situation when you’ve reviewed all the information you put in and ready to checkout, the site freezes, or you hit that final ‘confirmation’ button but not sure if you’ve hit the thank you page. This is quite different from page to page drop off because the user’s intent to close the sale is ‘real’, not one of those fuzzy last minute change of decision.
This is a good point to check your data because you can use your analytics tool to track such drop-off. It is pretty common in CRO world to optimize websites from the bottom of the funnel, which is likely to generate quick great CRO results.
Site speed or loading time
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the faster the site serving content to users, the lower the bounce rate would be, or maybe even the site conversions. Here is an example of average document interactive time (DOM readiness) versus bounce rate. You’ll definitely see a causation between the speed and bounces. There are things you can’t do much as a brand, such as improving one country’s network infrastructure. But most brands should be able to control common technical things on the site, ranging from minimizing code, reducing the weight of the image assets, etc.
Monitoring your site’s performance and constantly thinking about avoiding customer having to wait for the content is definitely something to optimize. Assessing this data per site section, by platform, or page level could give you a better perspective where customers are feeling the pain.
Top landing page with high bounce rate
Usually, this is the first thing most analysts look at to understand which landing pages are the popular entry point for the site visitors but yet have high bounces. Typically, most analysts would dig deeper in potentially the problematic page. Common data to dig deeper to understand the drivers of the high bounces are:
– Traffic sources that are driving traffic and high bounces (example sources… traffic from social media, traffic from banner ad, etc.)
– Device type. Is it mobile or tablets that are driving high bounce?
– Timing. Could it be due to some timing with the press release, product announcements, promotional discounts?
– Country and network speed. Like some emerging country with expected slow network speed may have high bounces
– The specific segment that bounces. You may have different segments built out in your analytics tool that could be based on a combination of things that defines some kind of group. Example… Support user from those who purchased before and came back to support page, campaign ad visitors who have returned to site for the 3rd times, or returning visitors who came from email, etc.
– Technical environment. Like browser and the version of the browser. Don’t be surprised if you get few particular browsers on a certain version that gets high bounces. Talking with web engineer may help you understand why certain browsers can lead to higher bounce rate.
In summary, there are so many things you can do with your analytics tool, survey tool, and Heatmap tool to understand customer pain points. It is not just about finding out what is working and obsessing about improving conversion rates. In many situations, it is important to think of the inverse scenario. Like looking at data on those who did not convert, asking and finding what’s broken, a collection of pages not adding value, error page visits and why people visit that page. It is these unsexy things that marketers/analysts should be thinking about that could help build a better understanding of customer pain points. So that you can build a great hypothesis to test/experiment or just fixing the website immediately.
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