Are these the metrics to benchmark your online CX?

31st May 2017

There are a few established metrics that define what great customer experience looks like in the digital world. Website performance, including a fast loading website is one such metric. But this is just one of the several aspects about great customer experience.

Customer experience itself is a pretty subjective term. For instance, a focused sales page that has very little distraction is believed by many marketers to offer an uncluttered customer experience. But what if the customer really wants to explore the various alternatives before they buy?

IBM publishes an annual survey that looks into the real answers to these questions from the customers’ standpoint. The study uses a normalized CEI (Customer Experience Index) to identify the leaders and laggards in terms of metrics that define customer experience and provides insights into the metrics that must define how good your online customer experience is.

Inventory data

Customers spend a lot of time comparing products and reading reviews before making a purchase. It is only fair that they know the stock availability beforehand. The IBM study found that the leaders in CX were 5.1 times more likely to display the latest inventory information on their website compared to the laggards.

Product comparison

It is good to have a minimalist design that doesn’t clutter the user experience. But customers still want choice. Any purchasing decision involves comparing the various alternatives before a choice is made. And for optimal CX, a website must provide its visitors the ability to compare products on features and price. Nearly 89% of the websites that IBM studied for its report offered no ability to compare products side-by-side.

Instant customer service

A physical store lets a customer to instantly seek answers to questions they have about a product from a sales rep. This is not possible on a website where email or phone based support may take users anywhere between a few minutes to as much as a day to get a response. This also breaks the continuity in CX. An easy fix for this is to provide real-time chat support to your customers. Yet, over 61% of the retailers that IBM studied in their report did not provide this option.

Mobile experience

It’s 2017 and a large number of retailers are yet to take mobile CX seriously. The IBM study found that nearly 37% of the brands offered little to no mobile experience to their customers. Customers are quickly switching to mobile phones as their “first screen” and this failure to offer a great mobile experience could disrupt business the same way physical retail was disrupted by the likes of Amazon in the 1990s.

Shop on social media

Social media marketing is a growing phenomenon and brands, large and small, are already on websites like Facebook and Instagram to be seen by their target customers. Despite this acknowledgment of social media as a marketing channel, retailers are yet to come to terms with the fact that this could also be a sales channel. 38% of the brands studied by IBM did not provide customers an ability to shop via social media. This can disrupt the experience of a customer who is coming to you from such social media websites.

Meeting commitments

Online customer experience does not end with a successful checkout. From a customers’ perspective, online shopping begins with their discovery process and ends with the successful consumption of a product. This includes quick delivery and easy returns. Unfortunately, this is a component that is often overlooked by retailers. The IBM study found that 19% of retailers do not meet their own stated delivery times and windows.

Unlike physical retail where businesses can still scrape by with poor customer experience solely on factors such as proximity, the competition among retailers in the online eCommerce space is fierce. Without great customer experience, it is extremely easy to lose a customer to competition. Make sure your website measures up to the leaders when it comes to meeting these CX expectations so you remain the top choice for your customers.

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