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PHOTO: JESHOOTS.COM

Metrics can show us that customers stopped at a certain point in a process, chose not to buy, or didn’t make it through an important task. Yet the metrics rarely know why. We can spin up qualitative CX research to learn the whys, but what if we could save that customer from ever ending up in the failure pile?

Delta CX Behavior Triggers is a model that disrupts how companies perceive and handle struggling customers. The model allows us to be more proactive and predictive, increase sales and solve problems before we damage our relationships with our customers.

Imagine a Struggling Website Visitor or App User

Imagine you have a customer on your website who is trying to check out, but it’s not working. They’re trying multiple credit cards, they even logged in to other browsers. They're really trying to buy this thing, but they can’t. Unhelpful error messages block them.

Your reactive cart recovery tool catches this, and emails the customer the next day to remind them they still have something in their cart. The customer tries again, hits the same dead-end, and can’t make the purchase.

What conclusions might marketing and sales have?

  • The customer didn’t have enough money for this item.
  • The customer changed their mind.
  • The customer’s demographic doesn’t always buy these items on their first visit to the site.
  • The customer is just a tire kicker and never intended to buy.

Unfortunately, these guesses don’t match the reality of the example. That customer had the money, didn’t change their mind, wasn’t kicking tires and didn’t abandon the cart. They hit UX and/or technical problems that prevented them from checking out.

A similar example is the time a famous company was concerned about their low checkout rates. They had already invested in having marketing improve SEO, bringing more leads to the site. But conversion was still low, so they asked a UX consultant to investigate. The UX consultant found that the credit card form was in an iFrame, which was being blocked by some browsers as suspicious or malicious. People who wanted to sign up for this company’s service might have seen a blank space where the credit card form should have been.

Related Article: Customer Experience Isn't About Fixing Discomfort, It's About Preventing It

Introducing 'Behavior Triggers'

Behavior Triggers are algorithms that proactively find problems and put processes in place to help customers, just in time. They are designed to keep customers from falling through the cracks or later becoming just another unfortunate metric.

Considering the previous examples, Behavior Triggers might include:

  • If someone fails at checkout twice (possibly even once if the reason isn’t that their card was declined).
  • If someone fails at checkout, they enter a different credit card or choose another payment method, and it fails again.
  • If someone logs into the same account from different browsers within X minutes (and perhaps if they also had at least one failed checkout).
  • If someone puts item X in their cart, clears the cart or removes the item, then puts item X in their cart again.
  • If someone’s purchase fails on the website (and they’re logged in so we know who they are) and then they call our support center (and we access their account so we know who they are).
  • If someone’s checkout failed today, they tried again within X days (on their own or in response to a cart recovery email), and it failed again.

What do you do in response to those scenarios? Don't call them (too creepy) and don't use chatbots (too impersonal, and the technology isn’t there yet).

Currently, the best option would be to open a live chat with a real human, preferably one who can “see” the page the way the customer sees it, or at least see what they are trying to buy and what price the system gave them. They can try to save the sale in the moment where we still have the customer on the site or in our system. Keeping that momentum going gives you a better chance than after they have left your site. Once they are gone, they might be on a competitor’s site trying to buy.

Related Article: The Danger of Designing for Only One User

Is This Too Expensive to Undertake?

You might think implementing the ideas above are too expensive or not worth it. Maybe these people are just “edge cases.” Time to do some math.

Example 1 above was B2C, a $2,000 cruise package from a famous international cruise line. Statistically, a cruise package is 62% of cruise revenue; the rest is from items people buy while on the ship. That means a $2,000 cruise is really $3,225 in revenue for the cruise line, per cabin.

Example 2 above was B2B, an enterprise SaaS that would cost a team of 50 people over $12,000 per year (and plenty more for larger teams). This company is Fortune 100. Both sites have a lot of traffic and a steady stream of leads and potential buyers. Both companies have a variety of competitors customers could choose.

  • If 10 people per workday at each site had trouble checking out and couldn’t make the purchase, that would be 260 customers per year who possibly never bought or chose a competitor after failing on your site.
  • Company A leaves $840,000 on the table each year. Company B leaves over $3 million on the table annually.
  • They may have lost even more if frustrated non-buyers tell friends or post online about their purchasing struggles. Everyone is a micro-influencer now.

What would a Behavior Triggers project cost to research, design, test, iterate, build and release? If it cost $500,000, wouldn’t we say it’s worth it to try to save as many of those lost sales as we can and decrease the negative micro-influencer word of mouth?

Related Article: Using Behavioral Intelligence to Improve Your Site's User Experience

Consider Behavior Triggers

We will still need to assess damages after we have incurred them, but we should be proactive about how we can lose fewer sales. We must monitor customer actions in the moment, and stop using assumptions about customer behaviors or cart abandonment. Guessing at why we had failures wildly increases our business risk.

We’ll need a lot of collaborators on this one, with at least one CX Data Scientist on the team, but let’s work to create Behavior Triggers in our products. Help people before they become “just another ugly metric.” Proactively find UX and technical bugs, save sales and increase customer satisfaction.