Palm Springs, CA—Dolly, the cloned sheep, died earlier this month, but cloning lives on in terms of e-commerce, according to Larry Freed, president/CEO of Web metrics firm ForeSee Results. One effect of the Internet, Freed said during his Feb. 19 session at eTail 2003, has been “the cloning of the consumer. You can’t be in two stores at the same time, but you can have two windows open in your browser and go back and forth.”
This unique quality of the Internet, and the subsequent “high degree of choice,” Freed said, “has magnified the impact of customer service on the Web.”
Yet customer satisfaction, of which customer service is a key component, is “the missing measurement of online business,” Freed said. This is despite the fact that highly satisfied customers are twice as likely to buy online within the next two months.
One reason few marketers measure satisfaction may be that they don’t understand what it entails. According to Freed, you need to determine the drivers of customer satisfaction—which can vary among market segments—before you can gauge overall customer satisfaction and then use that data to predict future behaviors. Put another way, you need to gather customer feedback; determine customer satisfaction and whether improving certain facets of the business would increase satisfaction; and determine where to invest to improve satisfaction.
When mesuring satisfaction, Freed added, be sure to look beyond the purchase process at the “full life cycle.” This includes attraction to the site and whether visitors subsequently buy from any of your channels, fulfillment of the product, and use of the product.
What’s more, don’t measure just the roughly 10% of site visitors who make a purchase. The 90% who don’t buy, Freed said, “are the people to really focus on.”