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7 Ways to Improve Digital Performance Management 

So you finally finished the updates to your beautiful new digital experience and it is perfect… or is it? 

As you will realize right after pushing to production, having great digital experiences requires more than great design, engaging customer journeys and efficient transactions.  Leading organizations increasingly understand that being world class also means implementing digital performance management with excellence every second of every day to maximize customer satisfaction and financial returns.

It is not enough to simply believe your digital experience is performing. A sophisticated operator should know exactly how their platforms are running in real time and address any significant issues quickly. Lurking just below the surface of primary metrics such as traffic, conversion rates and transaction volumes are the underlying experience performance metrics that can enable or undermine your results.

Despite this reality, most digital business teams are still accustomed to entrusting their infrastructure management to technology teams who often just ensure that the network and servers are powered up and accessible according to the specs of an SLA. Awareness of what customers are truly experiencing in terms of page-load speeds (especially from mobile devices), application errors, site downtime, accessibility, quality gaps and other online challenges is often limited. In a world with so many options, if your experiences don’t deliver, your brand will be impacted and your customers won’t return.

Gartner statistics suggest that in 2016 only 5% of global enterprises had external experience monitoring of their sites. This seems inexcusable in a Digital First world. To be certain that your digital experiences are working requires a combination of internal reporting, third-party monitoring capabilities, customer feedback loops, input from internal listening posts, and the operational leadership and discipline to manage these resources in powerful daily, weekly and monthly routines.

Management should consider the following capabilities when developing their digital performance management practices to increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction.

1. Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM)

These platforms conduct remote monitoring of digital experiences from a customer’s point of view at regular intervals across multiple devices, geographies and networks. These service providers offer real-time performance statistics for important pages and/or critical transactions and can also support site testing to assess behavior under extreme situations (heavy loads, internet attacks, etc). This provides a clearer picture of what users really experience outside the firewalls and around the globe and can send alerts whenever performance targets are missed. Vendor examples include Dynatrace, New Relic, Soasta, Riverbed and IBM.

2. Customer Surveys, Ratings + Reviews

These vendors offer survey or feedback opportunities to samples of site visitors for regular monitoring of the experience. Surveys can be triggered to appear based on customer location or behavior or offered on a regular basis. They can capture and trend customers’ ratings on task accomplishment, satisfaction and net-promoter scores, as well as capture free-form suggestions or comments. Representative vendors include ForeSee, OpinionLab and SurVata.

3. Customer Experience Management (CEM)

These solutions enable the recording and analysis of customer journeys on digital properties. By tracking the customer page-by-page and click-by-click, they can help identify friction points in transaction flows as well as mistakes and errors during customer interactions. These can also be integrated with customer survey data to understand the specific experience of low- or high-scoring customers in order to prioritize updates. Solutions such as IBM Tealeaf, Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics support these capabilities.

4. Site Accessibility + Quality Assurance

These applications scan digital experiences for compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and data privacy rules or to identify quality gaps in the customer experience (i.e., broken links, misspellings, content issues, etc). Failure to comply with accessibility guidelines not only can result in sanctions and fines but also can reduce a site’s usability for a significant share of the population who have disabilities. Examples of these solutions include Siteimprove, AudioEye and Monsido.

5. Internal Error/Issue Reporting

Digital applications should have systematic tracking and reporting of user and system errors and their volumes, duration, and conditions to assist with rapid diagnosis and resolution. To be useful, these tracking applications should include a thoughtful methodology and taxonomy to classify, validate, reproduce and prioritize errors for bug fixes.

6. Leveraging Listening Posts

Integrating feedback from Customer Service or other operational teams tasked with supporting online customers is a simple but often overlooked practice. Chat teams, call centers or fulfillment operations teams are often most attuned to existing or developing issues in the digital experience. It is crucial to have a bidirectional information flow between these customer-facing teams and the digital operations leaders to identify problems and communicate changes to avoid customer confusion and frustration.

7. Operational Discipline

Finally, it is imperative to have a well-executed approach to meet, communicate and act on the information.  The right cadence of daily, weekly and monthly meetings should be structured, attended and run for maximum impact and efficiency. Reports to illuminate progress or alarming trends must be created and reviewed against established targets, SLAs or expected values. It is necessary to assemble the right attendees (business and technical) and to expect their crisp participation and action on content, analytics and action items from each of the meetings.

By 2020, 30% of global enterprises are expected to implement some form of these practices. I submit that a highly-effective digital performance management practice is a critical ingredient for any organization aspiring to satisfy customers and achieve their digital objectives. With Google and Amazon setting a high bar for online performance expectations, customers don’t have the patience to endure poorly managed experiences.

In digital performance management, we hold the following truths to be self-evident:

  • Knowing is better than hoping
  • No digital leader (nor their superiors) like surprises
  • It takes a village of the right business and technical team members, great digital experiences and a great methodology to run a world-class digital operation

At DefinedLogic, our consultants have extensive experience designing, developing and managing world-class sites. Please let us know if we can help you understand how your digital experiences stack up against your competition and your customers’ expectations.

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