This Metric Is Key To Optimizing Your User Journey Across Touchpoints

If you can ensure this one area is in tip-top shape, then your other analyses and adjustments can be much easier to complete.

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Modern leaders and marketers have no shortage of metrics that can help them determine how to serve their customers better and improve sales. Even so, one metric stands out as the key to optimizing the user journey across touchpoints. If you can ensure this one area is in tip-top shape, then your other analyses and adjustments can be much easier to complete.

The Holy Grail Metric

By far, the golden metric for determining whether customers are having the good experience you want to provide is task completion. From my own experience, as much as 80% of retail starts online, meaning that people come to your site for all sorts of reasons. For instance, maybe they visited your site to check the price of something rather than to buy. Maybe they want to see if you carry a specific product or see the hours of operation for your store.

Whatever the customer's goal might be, ask yourself if they are able to complete their objective. It's incredibly important they be able to do this because, from what I've seen, if a customer can complete their primary task, then they're 75% more likely to move on through the sales funnel and eventually buy, regardless of where they might be in their user journey. If you improve the customer's ability to do what they set out to do, you'll improve the odds that they will complete a transaction in the future.

How To Use Task Completion To Sell Better

The first step in applying the task completion metric to your sales and customer satisfaction is to look at your data. Pull some web or other analytics that can show you everyone who came to your site and wasn't able to do what they intended to do. You might find that a certain percentage of the visitors to your site couldn't accomplish their goal.

What's the best way to figure out customer intent? Inference is valuable and sometimes works well. If someone comes into your store and heads right over to the TV aisle, for example, then you can assume they're there to buy a TV. But, the easiest method is usually just to ask a random sample of your visitors what they set out to do using an online survey tool. You can do this at any point in their journey. This should give you a basic idea of what's probably happening across your entire user base.

The next step is to figure out why the customer couldn't achieve what they wanted to do. Common reasons might be that your site didn't load properly, they couldn't navigate the site intuitively enough, information was missing, live support wasn't available or your search feature didn't accommodate how they looked up a product. Your existing web or other data might show you where the hurdles are. But, just as with discovering intent, using customer experience tools for surveys or other techniques to ask customers directly why they didn't complete their goal is ideal. Social listening and reading reviews are other good ways to get direct feedback from users.

Once you have a sense of what the pain points are, your goal is to remove as much friction for the user as possible. That could mean rethinking your site design and making it more interactive, for example. Be willing to invest in whatever the customers clearly need. Remember that even small changes that are inexpensive or free, such as shifting where a display is located or making your online checkout button bigger, can make a huge difference.

All of this ties to your customer effort score. If a customer is able to do what they came to do but had a rough time getting to the finish line, then there's still room for improvement in terms of optimizing the customer journey. You know you have a serious problem if both customer effort and uncompleted tasks are high. As you remove friction, customer effort should go down, and ideally, both the overall experience and task completion should improve.

With Friction Gone, Your Bottom Line Improves

Customers can have all sorts of objectives when they interact with you face-to-face or online. Their ability to complete those goals has a direct influence on whether they make a purchase. So, pay attention to how well people are able to complete their tasks. Do your homework to understand what's creating friction. Then, proactively use what you learn to improve different touchpoints on their journey for a significantly better experience and a higher likelihood of a sale. The smoother the customer experience is, the more stable your business will be.

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