Support Business Goals with Customer Experience Monitoring

Customer satisfaction is a key component of a successful business, whether that enterprise is brick-and-mortar or online. A brick-and-mortar retailer can see the problems that cause customers to leave the store, but online businesses have to rely on what they can see on their networks, which, often, is simply that customers are exiting the site. Brick-and-mortar retailers can move quickly to resolve problems that cause customers to park their shopping carts and exit, but etailers often are hindered by limited visibility into why customers abandon their virtual carts.

They can see what is happening on the site—how many customers are leaving and what they were doing when they left—but they can’t see why this is happening. There can be many reasons for slowed website performance, but it’s a fact that online businesses lose revenue when performance problems cause customers to abandon their transactions. Reduced sales means business goals are not being met, and, with e-commerce now a major source of sales for retail companies—the only source for many—it’s critical for them to pay very close attention to customer experience.

To deliver the excellent shopping experience so critical to sales, online retailers need deep visibility into all aspects of what happens when customers are online in order to speed problem resolution and keep said customers happy and shopping. A user experience monitoring solution can provide the essential visibility an etailer needs to see everything the customer does on the site, as well as the way the system responds to every mouse click.

Global travel service Thomas Cook provides a great example of the benefits gained by leveraging customer experience monitoring. The agency’s UK website, which accounts for more than 40% of its total UK business, had a high volume of traffic with the potential for significant sales, but all that traffic slowed the speed of the website. The existing monitoring system could not identify and resolve website performance issues fast enough, and IT didn’t have the visibility needed to understand why customers were departing the site.

Using a customer experience monitoring solution, Thomas Cook gained understanding into how applications, databases, and infrastructure impact customer experience, as well as the way the system responds to customer mouse clicks. With a clear view of the entire infrastructure, plus automatic real-time alerts, the agency’s IT team could see and address problems immediately, and keep the website operating at peak performance. The result was a 30% increase in bookings, and a reduction in the time spent problem solving from 48 hours down to two hours—a whopping 97%.

Here are four tips for employing customer experience monitoring solutions to improve your own e-commerce website performance and increase revenue in support business goals:

  • Understand your customers’ entire experience on the website, not just their actions.

A solution that can capture 100% of customer interactions, provide real-time monitoring and alerting of negative trends and behavior patterns, and search across those users for patterns that might indicate why there are problems, will help you understand the true customer experience your website provides.

  • Look at the performance of your systems through the eyes of the customer.

Application performance and availability has never been more important, especially when those applications serve to generate revenue. Pick monitoring solutions that can link customer transactions to application transactions so IT can prioritize which issues to work on first based on user impact. Solutions that organize disparate performance monitoring metrics from supporting systems—like hypervisors, network, and storage—around those application transactions will help you collaborate better with IT to meet business goals.

  • It’s not about good performance, it’s about peak performance.

Evidence shows that the speed of a website is directly related to the conversion rate. With the understanding that peak performance drives revenue, Thomas Cook selected a customer experience monitoring solution that alerts IT to emerging issues in real time, so problems can be addressed before they affect customers. Now operating at peak performance, the company’s website has seen a 30% increase in bookings, along with increases in the number of hits and the average transactional value. There has also been a 50% decrease in the volume of online customer service calls.

  • Go beyond—think about recapturing lost business.

Take customer experience monitoring a step further by recapturing the revenue lost when customers abandoned their shopping cars on your site. Thomas Cook recovered more than $180,000 in lost business in three months with a solution that automatically sent the shopping details of customers who dropped off the website to retention teams who were then able to follow up with emails to those potential customers and facilitate new bookings.

So, the bottom line—for your bottom line—is that it’s just not necessary to lose online customers and revenue due to a poorly performing website. When you proactively deploy a solid customer experience monitoring solution, you can keep your customers shopping. Even if they do abandon a half-filled cart for some reason, the details you glean from monitoring their experience on your site will give you what you need to bring them back again.

John Newsom is executive director for application performance monitoring at Dell Software. He has global responsibility for driving both the vision/roadmap for the company’s APM products, as well as the execution toward that vision for Dell’s application performance monitoring solutions.

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