Does your on-site website search play a role in your customer experience?

Why have a channel of communication with your customer and not look after it?

How many communication channels do you have with your customers? I counted mine and realised I have 20 ways that people can get in touch with me, and the question is: do I give the same level of service to all 20 touch points? Am I as quick to respond, am I as effective with all channels, do I really take care of all those channel in the same way?

Well, if you have a way for your customer to get more information or get help, support or get in touch with you, you have to deliver the same seamless experience at every touch points.

Last week, I participate to a roundtable discussion on ‘Website Search Engine’, you know that little button at the top or bottom of your website which enable your customers to look for something very quickly and the gain information they need from you, without having to ring you or come and see you and waste everyone’s time!

The idea started with a research conducted by Visionary Marketing, on behalf of Yext, an AI-enabled search technology company, it looked at senior UK and French marketers that would explore the role and impact of on-site search on a customer’s experience, and here are the headline findings (read the full findings here: PDF Document):

  • 70+% are convinced that Website search is fairly or very strategic.
  • 63+% think that visitors are using the “Website search” function of their company’s website(s) to find information.
  • 45+% think their visitors are fairly or very frequently frustrated with “Website search” results.
  • 94+% think that their visitors are resorting to other means when the quality of the results that they get from the Website search feature of their website is deemed poor or unsatisfactory.
  • 79+% think a better search experience will improve visitors’ level of trust in their company.
  • 70+% think a better search experience will have a positive impact on a visitor’s propensity to buy from their company.

Paradoxically, however, the research also found that over 81% of UK marketers find their website search engines fairly or very satisfactory. OK, what surprised me the most is that ‘perception’ figure of 81% of marketers believing their search engines is satisfactory when in fact according to the previous YouGov research, 62% of consumers report that feel rather or very frustrated with onsite search results. 6 out of 10 of customers say they are frustrated, and let me tell you what a frustracted customer do, not only they are frustrated, they lose trust in your brand, and most probably won’t buy from you and go somewhere else but they will share it with their friends and family, on social media… a frustrated customer could be a saboteur very quickly.

One way to reduce those kinds of frictions could be adding your search engine tools as part of your mystery shopping programme, this will an objective view and current feedback on all of your touch points, measure to manage!!

The search tool is another touch point within the customer journey, therefore it has to be just as efficient as the rest of the website experience. If you can’t guarantee this, you are better off not having a search button at all! The more consistency in seamless experience during the customer visit to your business website will increase their trust in the brand, their feeling of being valued and therefore increasing their loyalty.

The panel assembled consisted of:

  • Nico Beukes, Senior Vice President at Yext @yext,
  • Yann Gourvennec, CEO of Visionary Marketing @ygourven,
  • Our Host Adrian Swinscoe @adrianswinscoe
  • And joining me a series of influential voices in the CX and digital marketing space
    • Clare Muscutt @claremuscutt,
    • Elise Quevedo @elisequevedo,
    • Naeem Arif @NAConsultingLtd and
    • Tim Hughes @Timothy_Hughes

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