Article

Geoff Galat
Geoff Galat 9 August 2018

Why reducing stress is key to retaining customers

A customer has visited your website and made a purchase. They’ve placed an order and it’s been delivered. All expectations have been met, right? Maybe, but also… maybe not. What has actually happened is that, as a business, you’ve met the minimum requirements. Nothing more.

In the big data age, you’ve got to do a lot more than that. So, while brands and customers have never been more connected, there has been a seismic shift in the power dynamic. Today, customers are spoilt for choice. They have the luxury of options. They are better informed, wield more influence than ever before and can choose which brands they engage with and how. And the last thing that any brand wants is for a customer to make a one-off purchase and then switch to a competitor.

Simply put, a successful purchase does not always result in a repeat purchase. It isn’t evidence of loyalty earned. The truth is that if you’re failing to match a completed online transaction with an exceptional digital experience, then the one-off purchase is everything you’re ever going to extract from that particular customer. If any part of the customer experience was stressful, difficult or painful — at any point in the journey, whether at the start or at the checkout — then your brand has failed to clear the first (and most important) hurdle to retention.

Clicktale’s latest study found that stress is rising amongst consumers that shop online. We found that 12% of respondents consider online and mobile shopping to be a stressful process, with 15% having lost their temper with an app or site. But, unsurprisingly, the most significant stressors for customers come at the checkout stage, with failing voucher codes (83%), apps freezing prior to purchase (77%) and slow loading pages (81%) being among the biggest issues.

A stressful customer journey is the quickest route to losing business. And when it comes to identifying and removing potential stressors within a digital experience, the use of psychological analytics is now fundamental.

Enhancing the customer experience

To improve the customer experience — so that we can build better relationships and reach audiences in a more authentic way — brands need to consider not only the typical digital interactions (clicks, drop-offs) but the smallest behavioral signals (yes, even those that are barely registered in a traditional analytics platform).

These interactions come in the form of micro-signals, such as extended hovering, mouse-movements, taps, app scrolls and ‘rage clicks’. By analyzing these signals, brands have the opportunity to uncover their customers’ intent — and whether there’s any confusion, frustration or stress occurring during the customer journey. It also better helps them understand the digital experience they’re providing.

By implementing this additional layer of experience analytics, it is possible for brands to develop more meaningful insights into their customers, such as their behavior, mindset, shopping moods and emotions. Taking these into account, as well as removing sources of stress and frustration from the digital experience, will put a brand in a much stronger position to earn customer loyalty and improve retention rates.

John Benfield
John Benfield

Thanks for a great article, which has articulated exactly what I am trying to champion in my organisation. It is often by tweaking seemingly micro-interactions that you can smooth the bumps in the user journey, bumps that cumulatively cause the user unnecessary stress and ultimately a negative overall experience. Also users are much more liable to remember a negative experience than a positive one - and we have to work much harder relatively to 'fix' negative impressions.

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