Good customer engagement (or CE, for short) is pretty simple, right? Amazon Web Services links engagement with loyalty. According to the behemoth e-commerce brand, “Customer engagement strategy refers to the practices that organizations employ to keep users coming back to their applications. Maximizing customer engagement is vital in today’s digital marketplace, where an ever-increasing number of brands are competing for a finite amount of customer attention.”
What does this mean? Well, in a nutshell, customer engagement can be boiled down to the emotional connection between the brand and the customer. In other words, it’s simply the nature of the relationship with a business.
When it comes to best practices as it relates to customer engagement, it’s difficult to summarize these practices into a succinct set for easy takeaways. This is because good customer engagement varies widely from business to business — and even from industry to industry.
That said, it is possible to pinpoint five distinct reasons why customer engagement flounders or fails and what can contribute to the break in the brand/customer relationship. By better understanding the five top reasons, you’ll help to ensure your online store doesn’t suffer from poor customer engagement, leading to better customer retention and boosting conversion rates as well.
From bots to a slow landing page to measurement errors and more, here are the five key reasons why customer engagement can fail.
1. Some of your “customers” may be bots. Given that estimates of total internet traffic is driven by automated bots, that means a large portion of inactive users are really simple automated bots. You can’t have a good brand-customer relationship with someone who doesn’t actually exist, right? To identify visitors as potential bots, you can detect certain behavioral patterns. Run an analysis on your website or app and check for user interactions, such as mouse clicks, keystrokes, scrolling frequency and traffic sources. This will help you see how real users interact with your site. One way to do this is to integrate with a machine-learning algorithmic system. Once you have the data, set up your system to log out or stop the unidentified or unknown session without the approved properties.
2. Your business may have a slow landing experience. When you click on a homepage and it takes an excruciatingly long time to load, how long will you stick around? Your customers will quickly hit the back button and abandon slow loading sites. How do we know that? Google reports that 53% of mobile users give up after just three seconds of loading. In other words, if your site takes more than three seconds to load, you’re going to lose more than half of your potential customers — which means you’ll be losing out on sales, too. One way to boost site speed is by lazy loading images. Lazy loading images means loading images on websites in a manner that’s asynchronous. In other words, make sure that above-the-fold content is fully loaded only when it shows up in the browser's viewport. With lazy loading, the other visual elements on the website will not load until the visitor scrolls to their location. This technique is recommended for websites with a lot of imagery versus text.
3. You may be dealing with measurement errors. Client-side analytics engines like Google Analytics are fairly complex, and with a web of third parties already running it’s not uncommon to get misfired or incorrect data. This occurs especially when it comes to metrics such as session length. You want to keep that in mind when running your metrics on a regular basis.
Here are three tips to help avoid errors with Google Analytics reporting:
Make sure there aren’t any duplicate code snippets.
Keep an eye out for Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics overlap.
Set up non-interaction events. What does that mean? If you have a pop-up or live-chat window on your website, that feature can send triggers to Google Analytics. You can set those up at “non-interaction events” so they will not affect your bounce rate.
4. Your site may have broken page experiences. What are broken page experiences? Well, here are two examples. All of us have experienced the dreaded 404 error (page not found). Encountering a 404 page will quickly drive customers toward the back button. Another common experience mistake is mismatched ad content to page content. Meaning, a customer will see advertising for product A, but the page links instead to product B. Two ways to avoid a 404 error are to redirect onsite or redirect from the host.
5. Your business may have bad ad-targeting practices. Ad-driven traffic accounts for the majority of clicks for online businesses and brands. However, getting into the nitty gritty by looking at the details of audience definitions will show you a wide range of engagement across a target segment. Doing this regularly can help. In addition to defining your audience, defining your approach makes a difference. Last, analyzing post-targeting can be illuminating for the next time.
Finding the right components for good customer engagement is key, however, it may take some testing (and time) to pinpoint the exact problems leading to a lack of conversions. These five reasons for poor customer interactions will help get you started on the path to finding, and fixing, the issues that prevent your customers from searching for the products they want, adding them to the cart—and ultimately, clicking the buy button.
Loveless has had a 20-year career in making things go faster, from low latency trading for Wall Street to large-scale web platforms for the Department of Defense. He is a two-time winner of High-performance Computing awards and a frequent contributor to the Association of Computing Machinery. Today, Loveless runs Edgemesh, the global web acceleration company he co-founded with two partners in 2016. Edgemesh helps e-commerce companies across multiple industries and platforms (including headless) deliver 20%-50% faster page loads to billions of users around the globe.
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