Category Archives: Web Analytics

3 ways to kick-start your customer experience development

80% of what you do within your organisation deliver no value. This is what textbooks tell us, the 80/20 rules. If you contemplate on it for short while it is a scary thought. I have worked now for over 15 years and I can say that this rule is true. The larger the company the more true it is. So how do you get out of it? Well I think the most effective way is to use the customer experience as a tool.

I must admit that customer experience is fairly new to me as a work method. I am still developing my thoughts but I see the power it can have since it can both alter the thinking of people but mostly it focuses your resources to do solve true customer problems.

So how do you kick-start your customer experience mapping?

Well there are probably several ways, but theses three methods are a good way to start.

·       Your data speaks to you. Understanding your data is your main skill as a leader. Data driven is key to right decisions. Let your analyst paint a picture with data on phases your customer goes through, and force them to put words together with the data. You are looking for story, let them build the story from the numbers you have.

·       Your customers voice is another easy key. Listen to your customer service agents and look at your Facebook comments or other reviews you might have. Force your analyst to map the reviews on a customer journey. Keep track of new reviews

·       Get a consulting company to do a customer journey mapping. I think this is a must for all companies that work within the B2C field. The mapping will not only give you new insight but it is a super useful tool to keep your organisation customer centric.

I will try to write more on the subject as we move along. One of the main pitfalls I see right now is that your top management does not embrace the results. If they don’t truly understand how to use it to transform the company then you are in a true uphill.

Question 5: What is the most important thing you try to achieve as a conversion specialist and web analyst?

important learnings in web analyticsWorking as a conversion specialist and web analyst has many challenges. You need to have skills in multiple areas to be successful. Everything from technical understanding, to analytical, to be able to present data in an easy manner, to leads projects and changes, to educate people and many more issues.

The main denominators though are 1) increase revenue, 2) save cost and 3) improve customer loyalty/satisfaction. These are the high level numbers I work towards. Almost everything I do points towards these goals. These numbers are universally important although depending on how your company is setup you will work either with one, two or all three of them.

This question is part of a five question series that are the most common issues people ask me.

Question 3: What is the most challenging in your business right now?

Conversion challengesOn top of my mind I think mobile user experience is the most challenging topic at the moment. Not many companies have cracked the mobile experience code. Rebuild our site for a fluid and positive user experience demands a lot from the organisation, both technically and mentally. You need to think mobile first, which we have found is not as easy as we thought.

Further we are on a stage where our technical systems give us a big challenge on everything we want to do. I think most big companies have this challenge. If you have developed a solution a few years ago you probably sit on old systems that need to be updated or replaced.

Another issue are our internal stakeholders. We have to many of them, which affects our work processes negatively. Our decision process is not optimal for working in an online environment.

The last issue is to integrate our personalization thinking into our work process. As I mentioned in an earlier article our personalization software is powerful and full of potential but you cannot harvest that potential if you do not adjust your internal organization and the way it thinks.

This question is part of a five question series that are the most common issues people ask me.

Question 2: What is the most challenging within conversion optimization?

online conversion optimizationI have been doing AB tests for a while now and feel pretty confident how to approach and build a strong testing culture within a company. Although optimization work is something that constantly needs to be reviewed and developed.

There is no other channel quite as complex as the web, in terms of the number of variables. This makes optimization work a never-ending story. I think one of the biggest challenges in my field is to know how long your recommendations live. In other words when do you know that for example your perfect converting landing page is out of date due to the ever-changing variables?

Another big challenge as I see it is the emergence of personalisation software, which put optimization in a new playing field. With personalisation you are moving into micro segmentation. The technology is extremely powerful but opens up for many challenges to companies that want to adopt this approach. The web is moving towards this field and as a conversion optimization specialist I need to evolve towards this path.

This question is part of a five question series that are the most common issues people ask me.

Question 1. What is the most challenging with web analytics today?

Conversion Optimization and Web analytics challengesI think each year has its own challenges. The web is constantly moving so you need to keep your knowledge fresh. For me this yes one of the more challenging aspects is the multi data source world we live in. The increase in data sources makes it much more challenging to interpret the data and make good decisions. The mobile phone traffic exploded last year and has continued in an upward path. Since this source is fairly new few companies have adjusted their technology and most of all their thinking to this channel.

I also think clean data is always a challenge. You constantly need to keep an eye on your data so it is clean. For example we have companies doing quality tests that generates a fair amount of data. You need to make sure you block those IPs and keep an eye on emerging data contamination sources.

This question is part of a five question series that are the most common issues people ask me.

My thoughts on the X-Change conference 2013 Berlin

x-change conferenceDuring 12-13 of June 2013 I attended the X-Change conference held in Berlin. It is a conference mostly for web analysts with a bit of a twist. It is organised in discussion groups called huddles. These discussion groups contain a maximum of 15 people and you can choose multiple sessions during the two-day period. In total the conference had approximately 100-150 attendances from companies such as Zalando, Siemens, Virgin Media, Dell, Soundcloud and many more.

 

The good

  • To be able to meet fellow web analysts from all around the world. About 15 countries were represented.
  • Small, medium and large size companies were present.
  • The format is unique. Having discussion sessions is much better than listening to presentations. You get closer to the real problems people face.
  • Intimate session which means you talk to a lot of practitioners even after the end of the session.
  • I have never talked to so many people at a conference and never exchanged so many business cards.
  • The conference was well organized, and the sessions in general fun to attend.
  • The format allows you to get a more intimate insight of other companies problems and solutions when it comes to analytics and e-business.
  • No selling from consultants. Although one of the USP of the conference is no consultant, this was not true. I must say that the consultants attending were extremely well behaved. No sale pitch at all from anyone, which was a unique experience.
  • There were some really smart people attending. It was mostly web analysts but you could also find consultants and business people.
  • Businesses that can be considered to be in the forefront of the web development attended although the US true giants were missing.

 

The bad

  • How the sessions are experienced depends a lot on the moderator. A good moderator makes people talk and the conversation gets a natural flow.
  • Many of the discussions went too much in technicalities, which in the end of the day is more or less specific to each business model making it hard to extract knowledge from the discussion. I would rather see discussions based on the business value hence raising the bar of the topic.
  • To many people in the session which hampered the discussion. There is a sweet spot around 8-10 people, bigger than that and you have a hard time having a discussion. There was a tendency to have small monologues instead of discussion a bit like the presidential debates on TV.
  • There should have been more business value sessions. Sessions discussing the business value and how you can use technology to move your KPI needles.
  • The price of the conference. 1400 euros is a lot of money even for big companies.
  • The representative of Facebook cancelled (did it have anything to do with the Prism scandal which erupted the days before?).

Main takeaways

  • The mobile web holds a lot of focus for the companies. Many of the companies have native apps but few think about responsive web.
  • Identifying unique users on multiple devices is a problem. The most prominent use unique ”fingerprints” for various devices.
  • The general consent is that serving segmented content increases the conversion although only one company had numbers on it.
  • Privacy issues are a big concern for all companies. The coming data protection law that the EU is cooking is also seen with great concern.
  • A lot of the attended companies have done AB testing in one way or another. Only one company though (Zalando) had a team called Conversion Optimisation. I think that explicitly naming a team like that sends strong signals to the rest of the organisation. Most companies do AB testing under the web analytics umbrella.
  • Tracking is still a big issue for most organisations. The complexity of having multiple products and in multiple countries adds to the challenges companies face. Global organisations also ad another layer of complexity with teams and stakeholders scattered.

 

Will I attend again?

Well, this is a hard question. Returning customers is actually an extremely good measure of how good your product or service is. I enjoyed the conference and met many interesting people but I feel that the takeaway from the sessions were smaller than justified especially if you consider the price. I would say that I might return in a few years but if the format would improve a bit then I would definitely consider returning earlier. When I say that the format should improve I imply to the fact of having some sort of quality control for the huddles. It could be cutting the groups in half which will spur the conversation further, make the huddles more work shop like for example let people use post-it notes and the whiteboard, provide a summary in the end of each session, and finally lower the price below 1000 euros which would make it an extremely competitive package.

In general conferences are a mixed bag. You never know what you will get. My main mantra is to attend various conferences outside my area of expertise to learn about the various parts of the web like seo, ppc, mobile etc, which lets me grow my online knowledge further.

If you attended I love to hear your thoughts on it.