Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is the process of using feedback and data collected from users to fine-tune an organisation’s website and marketing. In turn, this should provide the users with the best experience possible and cause an increase of the rate at which they complete desired actions. Whilst in different organisations the CRO process may vary slightly, there are five core foundational steps.
Experimentation platform VWO describes the process as follows:
- Research – identify areas of improvement
- Hypothesis – construct a well-defined hypothesis
- Prioritisation – prioritise the test ideas
- Testing – choose the right testing methods and experiments
- Learning – analysing the test results
Curating a long-term CRO Strategy
At a strategic level, CRO is an ongoing process of learning and optimising the online customer experience. However, CRO should not be considered a solely tactical activity. CRO is not a strategy for fixing short-term problems arising with the goal to increase customer sales. For CRO to be effective in an organisation, it needs to be embedded in the culture and seen as a cross-functional work discipline to improve the customer’s online experience. Known as “soft organisational factors” (those are closely related to the people within the organisation), Wout Cox’s research uncovered how imperative these factors are for a businesses CRO maturity.
Through his interviews with six CRO experts and a survey completed by 107 CRO, customer service and digital marketing experts, four main “soft” organisational factors were found to positively influence a businesses CRO process.
Organisational Learning Culture and Knowledge Sharing
An organisation with a strong learning culture encourages continuous development and believes that cross-functional relationships are important for creating a culture of knowledge enquiry. Leaders should be reinforcing this practice through formalised training, giving recognition to employees learning, and developing a process for information sharing. In the introduction to this series, we discussed how Customer Service teams handle a wealth of data about customers, but people in CRO and Customer Service teams are often not aware what their scope and responsibilities are and therefore do not easily seek collaboration. A value-adding cooperation between CRO and Customer Service is fundamental for cross-functional learning between the two work disciplines.
Leading on from developing a learning culture, it is imperative that this knowledge is spread throughout the organisation. Organisation silos can often mean new findings are not shared outside of a team, which in the case of CRO maturity is detrimental. CRO should be regarded as an innovation-driven work field, and needs to aim for continuous improvement of organisational processes that positively influence customer experience and buying behaviour.
For companies that have a large online presence, the collaboration between Customer Service and CRO is an exciting opportunity to improve customer experience and add value to both customer and business.
Collaboration and Customer Centricity
Of the four soft factors explored in the interviews and survey, two stood out as the most impactful – collaboration and customer-centricity. In particular, the collaboration between CRO and Customer Service teams was a recurring theme discussed by respondents. Throughout the interviews, it was clear these two teams still struggle to collaborate effectively.
Collaboration cannot happen unless there is an awareness of each teams purpose, and a willingness to work together. Respondents stated that people in CRO and Customer Service teams are often not aware what their scope and responsibilities are and therefore do not easily seek collaboration.
When done correctly, the collaboration between CRO and Customer Service facilitates a much-needed qualitative context to the predominantly data-driven, quantitative CRO process. The Customer Service team, as the frontline of the organisation and in direct contact with the customer, has the ability to add that qualitative dimension that helps CRO to evolve and mature.
What appeared clear from Wout’s research was the importance of customer-centricity. It forms the foundation of the collaboration between CRO and Customer Service, as it is the common purpose for the two business functions to work together. This customer-centricity is founded on a culture that has a strong customer-focus and utilises customer data to gain valuable insights into the behaviours, needs and challenges of customers.
A well-developed collaboration between CRO and Customer Service has a positive effect on CRO maturity. In addition, customer-centricity forms the foundation of the collaboration between CRO and Customer Service, as it creates the common purpose for the two business functions to work together.
In part two, we will be delving deeper into the role Customer Service plays in the CRO process, the enablers and barriers that can occur when attempting to collaborate, and give practical recommendations for ensuring this collaboration continues.