What True Customer Centricity looks like: Actionable Insights for Understanding Your Customers Online

Once a certain term becomes a buzzword its true importance is usually washed away in a wave of low quality content that blur its true importance. While, customer centricity can take many shapes, here is one very concrete example to get you started.

Get to know the other 98%

If you are like most organizations your macro conversion rate is hovering somewhere around 2%.

Perhaps you are working hard on optimizing your call to actions and removing friction from your conversion funnel.

That’s great, but what about the other 98%?

As a matter of fact, one can argue that it is not very customer centric at all to inundate your visitors with incentives that are pushing for a conversion most of them are not interested in at this point.

So what does a customer centric organization do? They find out what the remaining 98 % want to accomplish and incorporate goals and KPIs to track real visitor intent.

If you don’t know what your visitors want. Ask them

Web analytics tells you what happened. Not why something happened. And in one way or another you need to go beyond hunches and get real insights into why people visit your website and what they are trying to accomplish.

There are several great and inexpensive tools that do not ruin the customer experience and that enable you to survey your visitors intent, by nudging them to answer a couple of quick questions, right in the moment of interacting with you.

Now, it is absolutely fundamental that you ask strong questions, from which you can drive action. Otherwise you might as well not ask at all.

To get started, it makes sense only surveying your visitors highest level intent. For this you need two questions:

  • What did you come here to do?

  • Were you successful in accomplishing what you came to do?


Understanding visitor intent

Once you know why people are on your website, it is your job to figure out the appropiate way to satisfy each main bucket of visitors.

Apart from the folks that came with the intention of buying who you are obviously looking to convert, you need to find crisp and actionable KPIs for the rest of your visitors.

While this may differ a bit depending on the business that you are in and how your company operates, it is usually effective to to break down the intent of the visitor to specific tasks to complete. So in the case of support, your KPI may be the ratio of visitors who are able to solve their issue online, without having to do a channel switch and pick up the phone. 

While doing research might mean different things depending on the stage of the visitor and the type of content you offer, you want to make sure that you track the activities that are associated with adding value to your business over the long run.

This could be specific events such as the amount of times someone downloads your product brochure or relationalship events, such as newsletter opt-ins or social media follows. 

Once defined, you can steer your content marketing and website development towards improving your visitors chances to complete their intended tasks.

In other words: every time you invest in new content or in the development of new functionality you want to make sure you are crisp and honest about which KPI it will improve. If none, you shouldn't undertake the activity.

And remember to use smart call to actions that respect your visitors intent. So for the folks doing research skip the push for a macro conversion and focus on being clear about the value of opting in for a newsletter or following you on Twitter.


Let the voice of your visitors guide your improvement efforts

Your task completion rate is one of the best indicators of where your biggest problems are. If your data shows that of the visitors who came with buying intention, 35% were not able to accomplish their task, you know that you need to start generating hypothesis on how to create a more friction free buying journey. 



Your objective for the buying category?  Fix the impediments so that everyone that is open to converting can do just that. But if this bucket of visitors contain 20% of your total traffic, your true and relevant conversion rate is really the percentage of visitors you convert within those open to convert. Not the percentage of visitors you convert of total website traffic.


Perfection is the enemy of action. Finding next targets

Unless you are an ostrich putting your head in the sand, there should be ample opportunities to improve the experience for your customers online.

Now, it is critical to agree on where you are heading and describe what a state of awesomeness would look like. But, you must also very carefully define your next target, that will (hopefully) move you towards our goal of awesome.

Make no mistake about it: everybody is waiting for something. In your case, maybe it a great new software or merging customer analytics offline and online. But whatever it is that you are waiting for you, don't let it be an excuse for not taking action.

Oftentimes surprisingly simple things are holding your visitors back from accomplishing what they came for.  If 15% your visitors come to find contact information and you are failing to provide for them,  there should be a clear incentive to invest an hour or two to incorporate this information into your footer or header.

The faster you go through the cycle of identifying your customers issues, executing on improvements and evaluating what works, the better your chances are of being customer centric.




To meet the ever-changing needs of the perpetually connected customer, marketers need to experiment with new ideas, execute rapidly, learn and act based on the results. Watch this recorded CMSWire and Episerver webinar on how adopting a real-time "test and learn" methodology within your marketing team can deliver execution in a flexible, agile manner.