Don't fall into these three traps when using attitudinal data.
We all know the power of understanding our visitors' behaviors online -- using Web analytics to understand clicks, movements, patterns, conversions, segments, and more. We have found ways to identify opportunities to improve site performance based on this behavioral data, which is great.
And many organizations are looking at attitudinal data using surveys to help understand how the site impacts their audience. Too often, though, there are three problems with this:
I was reminded of the power of understanding your clients' attitudes the other day while on Facebook. That includes the power of positive or negative experiences in online communities, word of mouth, and the ease with which consumers can share information.
A friend of mine and founder of BazaarVoice, Sam Decker, had his Facebook status set to "Just got burned on a proposal by [company name here]. Avoid!" when I logged on one day recently. Clearly Decker didn't have a good experience with this company and he was sharing that with all his Facebook friends. I figure everyone he talks to over a few days isn't likely to hear good things about this company.
Let's take a few steps back to examine a prospect's negative experience. Let's assume this started with a visit to the vendor's Web site. A prospect spends time to research a few Web sites she may be interested in doing business with. She then decides she's interested in starting a dialogue with one or two companies, fills out the contact form, and waits for that call or e-mail.
From a Web analytics standpoint, those are successful conversions and look great. Unfortunately, far too often the company won't get back to this person fast enough and will miss out on striking when the iron is hot (a topic for another time). In other cases, the company will follow up and form a successful business relationship. But that doesn't mean everyone leaves that process satisfied. And a negative experience like Decker's will greatly impact future conversion from a lead to a customer.
It's important to constantly check with your customers and prospects on how you're doing. Whether this is online or off-, you can learn a lot about what works and what doesn't. To expand on the three common problem areas mentioned earlier:
We all understand the power the average site visitor has when she comes to our sites and when she starts a dialogue with us. Take the time to understand what works well, and identify areas of improvement. Focusing online is a great place to start understanding this, but you must understand it all the way through your online customer lifecycle. You don't want to be the "company name" in a single posting, multiple postings, or discussions among friends.
Jason is off this week. Today's column ran earlier on ClickZ.
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As president of the Americas regions for the digital agency POSSIBLE, Jason is responsible for leading the long-term stability and growth of the region. Jason has 20-plus years experience in digital strategy. He is a long-time advocate of using data to inform digital strategies to help clients attract, convert, and retain customers. Jason supports our clients and employees in driving new engagements and delivering great work that works.
Jason speaks frequently about helping marketers take advantage of data to make smarter business decisions and improve the success of their organizations. He is the co-author of Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions.
Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.
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