The growth of digital channels and the complexity and value of business conducted via the web means that companies need similar capabilities to what is available to service customers who use more traditional channels:
- phone-based customer interactions require calls to be recorded for quality assurance and to provide a record of what was said
- paper-based interactions require documents (or images of documents) to be kept so that there is a record of information and instructions that were given
- but when it comes to digital channels, the general level of support and record keeping is not as comprehensive
Companies need the capability to record and replay digital interactions exactly as they happened to enable them to service their customers and keep a permanent record in the event of a complaint or dispute.
What is the big issue?
The design of websites and the content is becoming ever more sophisticated, dynamic and personalised. As a result, how you service and support customers using digital channels has become more complex.
Information presented to an individual customer:
- Can be tailored to the circumstances of each individual customer
- May be based on specific circumstances that day (e.g. account balance <£10k)
- Could include a time-limited offer
- May include web pages generated from multiple sources/systems which are visually reconstructed by the browser (using frames, Ajax and other
- Include disclaimers, caveats and warning messages specific to that customer, at that time, based on the then current circumstances of that customer
- Reference specific versions of the T’s & C’s
- Can be displayed differently depending upon the device the customer is
- Can look different depending on the browser/browser version the
customer is using
- Can be presented differently if it is viewed on a desktop, or mobile or via a native app
- Will vary as web layout and content changes constantly
The result is that what an individual customer sees can vary from customer to customer, and the customer journey could be different from session to session.
Why is it important to keep a visual record?
In the event that a customer needs to contact you because:
- they need help
- they have a query that means they need to speak to somebody
- they have a complaint or dispute about information they were given
You need to access information and the details of what happened in that specific customer’s session. Our experience is that companies often rely on running scans and extracts of databases, logs, etc. to try and recreate exactly what the customer was shown when they need to know what the customer saw.
It can take days or weeks of skilled and costly resources to assemble the information from a number of different sources, and even then it will potentially only give a partial picture of what the customer saw – especially if the session in question happened months or years in the past.
It may be possible to retrieve relatively easily the data relating to the customer’s interaction (e.g.name, address, salary, etc.), but not the context (i.e. the actual screen, the questions asked, etc.). This is why it is essential to keep a visual record.
Why aren’t companies keeping a visual record?
Our experience from the companies we have spoken to is that:
- They have little awareness of record and replay technology
- Those companies who are aware of it think that it is difficult and complex to install and maintain
- They assume that the cost of maintenance and storage is prohibitive
- They think that their existing solution (often based around logs, running scans, heat-maps and queries to try to reconstruct the sessions) is adequate, albeit that the reconstruction may only be a partial picture and it cannot be guaranteed that it is actually what the customer saw.
What are the benefits of record and replay technology?
The benefits accrue in the following areas:
Record and replay technology enables organisations to see the customer Experience exactly as seen by the customer. It enables them to see where the customer struggles to understand what is required and where the customer abandons the journey – and what they were doing immediately before that may have caused them to leave the process. Organisations can change the customer journey and immediately see the results, becoming more customer centric and enhancing the customer experience.
Record and replay technology shows every session where the customer abandoned the process and provides the information to enable organisations to contact the customer to discuss why they did not complete a purchase or account opening. In our experience, this leads to increased conversion rates and increased sales.
Customer Service and Support
Record and replay technology records every session as it happens, so that if a customer encounters difficulty and needs to speak to the firm’s contact centre, the agent can immediately find and replay the session to see what the customer’s problem is and help them, and to co-browse.
In the case of software issues, it enables IT to see the actual problem sessions and fix them, ensuring a continuous improvement of the digital customer Experience.
Record and replay technology enables companies to maintain robust records of every customer session by recording every session exactly as seen by the customer, regardless of whether they are using desktop, mobile or native apps. The information should be tamperproof so that the record can be used to resolve complaints and disputes by proving what was provided for the customer. The technology must be able to store and retrieve the information economically and quickly – for the life of a product.
Compliance Monitoring and Reviews
From time to time it may be necessary for compliance or audit to undertake reviews or investigations of digital business. Record and replay technology can automate much of this activity by searching the data to find and replay every session that meets the criteria. Specific funnel reports can be defined to run routinely or ad hoc to identify every session meeting the criteria for further investigation or review.
What are the key features of a Record and Replay solution?
The key features of record and replay technology are:
- The ability to record and replay every session on a company’s website and mobile app, exactly as seen by the customer regardless of the device or browser used to access the site
- The data should be capable of being stored affordably for the long term
- The record should be tamper-proof
- Sensitive data should be masked
- Access to the data should be controlled by function
- The data should be capable of being searched and interrogated to facilitate reviews and monitoring
- The data should be capable of being retrieved immediately to respond to customer requests
- The solution should be capable of including changes to the website design or layout as they happen without having to make additional changes to the record and replay technology i.e. it should happen automatically
- The ability to identify where customers are struggling with the website spending too long or too little time on specific pages
Record and Replay technology gives companies comparable capabilities to service customers using digital channels, to what they have for phone and paper based channels. It enables companies to review and monitor digital sessions exactly as seen by the customer and to be able to respond faster and more effectively to issues. It enables companies to enhance the record keeping of digital channels and to help customers who have questions or difficulties in using the website.
About the Author
Andrew Stacy is the Business Development Director at Glassbox. Glassbox empowers organisations to manage and optimise the entire digital lifecycle of their web and mobile customers by enabling enterprises to see not only what online and mobile customers are doing but also why they are doing it. Glassbox informs and facilitates action based on those insights that can lead to enhanced customer experience, decreased customer disputes, and improved regulatory compliance.