After the last post where I got all Philosophical on you, I'm going back to my roots this week. Partly because I spent half of last week sitting in front of the computer with a bit of writers block. Possibly accentuated by the fact that I had a cold ("Ahhh, Alec" is what you're meant to say). Plus I've had to rewrite this opening paragraph a couple of times every time I started afresh. So what I've decided to do this week is talk a little a bit about what we call 'voice of the customer'. Web Analytics is great at telling you what it is that users do on the site. You can monitor what they search for, what pages they look at, where they came from, etc. If you want to know why they do it though, you have to go to the next step available and ask them.
These two things don't have to be entirely independent though. In fact, they should feed into each other in a way that is seamless. Let's start at the beginning and see how you should use your analytics to feed into your surveys (then we'll do the more important bit of doing it the other way around).
I wrote about this (a bit) when I was talking about the EU cookies law, because someone on Slashdot was commenting that you can get your site design right solely by using this sort of methodology. Really I want to push a bit of a point here. Your Analytics systems should be telling you about places where you have need for improvement. Whether that be because of a high bounce rate, or a high drop off. To fix the problems you have two choices - you can try a continuous improvement process with lots of A/B testing.
Or you can go down a slightly different route and start asking people what they think about the process. There are two ways of doing this - one is to hire some people and sit down with them whilst they do it. This will get you limited sample data. The other method is to put up a survey whilst they are there (or whilst they are bailing out) and ask them then. These online surveys have been around for years and now many of them are free (and very easy to implement).
- Take you custom traffic variable data and plot your satisfaction against whether a user completes one of your events (eg they used a tool or you sold them something). Are those that are more satisfied using your tools/buying stuff? Why aren't the one who are unsatisfied using tools/buying stuff? How can we show them the benefits of using tools/buying stuff?
- Breakdown your total tools used/stuff sold by not just whether they were satisfied, but where they came from. Are you mis-selling them something on another website? Can you contact that website and change the message? Are the search terms they are typing in showing a different levels of satisfaction/ease of use? Does it depend on the landing page? Can we change the landing page?
- Breakdown each of your different types of tools/things sold by how satisfied they were. Do certain journeys make users more satisfied? Can you replicate those journeys on the ones that made them less satisfied?