We've worked with many financial institutions perplexed by rate quote, application and mission-critical process abandoners. The most frequent question is: Why are so many users leaving after the first page of the process? After evaluating numerous applications, rate quote tools and other key task flows, we have developed some rules to help financial institutions better analyze and diagnose abandonment issues.
Rule #1: Know how users ended up there in the first place
Web analytics are a wonderful thing, but if they're not tuned to measure the specific nuances of particular task flows, they're merely expensive tools that spit out value-light traffic data.
What you want to know:
Why does this help? The major downfall of basic Web analytics is that the numbers tell you what happened, but not why they happened, because they do not record users' intentions. It is possible to ask users why they came to the site, but in lieu of doing that, knowing how they ended up on a particular page may lend some clues. There are basically three reasons why a user may end up on, for example, the first page of a rate quote process:
The reasons a user might drop off:
Rule #2: Know where they go
Of the users who leave the process, where do they go? Off the site entirely? To other pages?
If users go to other pages, it may indicate that there is information missing from the first page of the process, but users may think they can find it elsewhere on the site. If they leave the site entirely, it may mean that something on the page made the user uncomfortable enough to leave altogether, such as a personal information request without explanation or a fear-inducing legal disclaimer.
Rule #3: Know which context-sensitive help they use
Are 90 percent of the people who complete the task clicking on the link explaining why you need their Social Security number, but the abandoners are not? It's important to know which pieces of information successful users are utilizing and figure out ways to get that information in front of potential abandoners.
These are things that add frustration to the process:
These are things that chase users away:
In summary, analytics can be a great aid in determining where there are issues within key processes. However, the processes and supporting pages must be designed with user objections and possible confusion in mind. While the elements of an application may make perfect sense to those of us in the financial services industry, and may pass through grueling compliance cross-examinations, there may be small details that scare away potential customers. It's important to review these processes using both quantitative and qualitative exams.
Jennifer Cardello is Vice President, Customer Experience Services with Watchfire GómezPro in Waltham, Mass.. She can be reached at [email protected].