Ayat Shukairy: Why “Customer First” Fails – And What To Do About It

Ayat is a ‘queen of CRO’ with over ten years helping companies create websites that customers love, and that result in increased sales and retention.

Most marketing talk, or business strategy meetings, emphasizes the importance of ‘customer first’. Yet if we take a look at companies, and how they operate, the  C-Level exec are still calling the shots without paying heed to the needs and wants of the customer. We have all stumbled across a website which uses terminology and jargon that the average person simply can’t understand or when a design is simply the result of a bunch of executives deciding what they ‘think’ their customer wants. Even when companies embrace a customer first approach, the way they tap into their customers voice doesn’t give them the right result.

In this BoS Talk you will learn:

  1. How to conduct qualitative research to tap into the customer voice more effectively
  2. How to pair quantitative and qualitative research for a more global understanding of the customer journey
  3. How to use what you’ve collected to design a voice that addresses the real motivations, needs, and wants of your customers.
also available on the podcast



Ayat Shukairy: Hi Everyone. That’s the second tribute to Aretha and also second Michigander. So I’m definitely loss of seconds which is great.

So it’s funny because this specific title I wrote about the fact that I mean come to BoS and then I’m talking about why customer first fails so somebody was like ‘What? Customer First fails? How is that possible?1 And I’m like ‘No’ what I’m trying to say is we’re going to talk about why it fails and what we can do about – it how we can improve it. A little bit about me. I am the queen of CRO, I have been doing conversion rate optimization now for 12 years so I’ve definitely earned that title. The little video that you see here is my son. He’s the youngest of four and he is kind of like a mini Elmyra I don’t know if you guys remember who Elmyra is but I have this little video  also. But it’s just hilarious: our cat is like kind of tortured by him but she loves him as well.

How do we get into the minds of the customer?

So what I’m going to talk about today is of course everybody wants to know ‘how do we get into the minds of the customer’ and I think Jared (Spool) yesterday spoke a lot about customer behaviour and understanding the customer journey and that’s a lot of what I’m going to talk about with you today; but what we can do about really implementing different tactics to make sure that we understand a little bit more about the customers. So we all think that our customers behave in a certain linear fashion, but the reality is of course that they don’t behave that way – they never do what we want them to do or what we expect them to do; it’s always erratic and they’re coming from different sources and using different devices and I need to understand all of that and map it out. So, it becomes very challenging to really understand how the customer is behaving: how they’re using your software, how they’re navigating your website, and that’s kind of the gist of if I want to understand why and address kind of the customer needs I need to understand really how they’re behaving and how they’re going through trying to crystallize that journey. Really understanding a little bit more about okay well who are they and where are they coming from and what can I do about it. And that’ll help you really get ahead and provide them with the experience that they’re looking for because ultimately it all comes down to the experience who knows this character here? Salt Bae, right. I mean he went viral – we all want to go viral right. But what was it that Salt Bae provided? Why did he suddenly open up a huge restaurant in Miami and in New York? He’s actually originally from Turkey. So how did he get such international success and he has a restaurant actually in Dubai as well. What was it that he provided? Does anybody know?

Auidence member: entertainment

Ayat Shukairy: Pardon me? Entertainment or an experience. Because that’s what everybody is looking for. They want some sort of an experience. And the way that they prepare the meat and they put on this show with every single dish that they’ve prepared. So I actually lived in Istanbul for a few years so I went to this restaurant – a lot. And they prepare the meat in a way that’s just it’s so interesting and so great. And the thing is that they’re not the first that did this. I mean when you go to Istanbul a lot of the different restaurants there, they put on a show they put on a show with like how they prepare the food. But he became viral and that’s what we all want: we all want to become viral. We all want to provide the customer with that experience and make sure we’re like really famous. But the reality is it takes a lot of time to get there. You always see those like means about like what we want and what the reality is. That’s the reality is that it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to understand the customer and provide what they want and get them to that really unique experience that’s going to get the buzz and everybody’s going to talk about you because of what you’re doing.

The Age beyond commoditised

Now, the thing is is that a lot of customers when they look at the different services provided, and the different products, and the different subscriptions there’s so many options. There’s so many options for them to choose from they’re always comparing you against some sort of competitor because we have become very commoditised and so the only way to break out of that commoditization is really providing an experience that they’re going to remember something that’s memorable. And I really liked right now at PDQ showed how they are kind of like honest – that rawness – and that’s really providing their customers with something raw and real and something that’s going to be that overall experience. There was also like I remembered right away if you guys recall Kentucky Fried Chicken ran out of chicken. Does anybody know the story? And so they bought a full page ad I think in the Wall Street Journal and they just switched around their letters to F C K.

So it was funny and it was just like this is yeah a major mess up that we did. And that was ideas that they’re owning up and they’re kind of providing again with something real and raw that’s what visitors and customers are looking for. So when we talk about customer centricity there’s a lot of stats out there. I pulled a few that I thought were interesting of course 60% of companies that have some sort of customer centric program are more successful. However only 48% of marketers believe that their organizations can get to that point. So, obviously, there’s a lack of being able to succeed in that area. And then also just trying to integrate: 70% of marketers believe that they can’t integrate and try to provide again between all the data that’s online and offline that customer centric kind of culture. And then finally when you look at just marketers themselves they can’t even recognize who their customers are. So there is again like a data breakdown almost really trying to understand who the customer is and why and we’ll talk about that.

The reasons why customer service fails

So what are the reasons why customer service fails. And so one of the first ones that I came up with and I did like my due diligence and research about this and of course from my own experience and thinking about some of the companies that we work with. I know the first one that comes to mind is a lot of people just pay lip service to it. They say hey we are a customer centric organization, we love our customer, our customer is always first. But the reality is that their actions speak louder than words.

When your organization and your top management hasn’t changed, they haven’t evolved, you haven’t informed everybody how we’re going to become more customer centric then ultimately that doesn’t really mean anything. So, in order to become a customer centric organization you need to take steps in order to change that. The first thing is of course be data driven. And again Jared talked a lot about this about the quantitative and qualitative data and really pairing that in order to understand the customer journey a little bit more. And it’s funny because I had a client who are like a one point $5billion company. Huge. And they thought we know our customers so well. And so when we would suggest like different changes that they should be making on their website and on their applications they said “no, no, no, no. This is not going to work our customers we know them really well. These are the behaviours, these are the actions that they usually take. This is what they do.”

But the reality is when we dug deeper that’s not what we were seeing. And so, we said listen it’s fine. We’re a conversion optimization company and everything that we do we usually A/B test it we make sure and validate every single change that we make. And so the first test that we ran proved them wrong completely and they were just shocked.

So the thing is that sometimes you think your customers but the data maybe isn’t that fresh and it’s not that new and maybe you have a new set of customers and the way that they behave online isn’t the same way that they behave offline and you have to understand that and recognize that.

So you want to kind of understand demand fresher data and really understand who are those in market customers more. And then of course like try to think of things more broad based. Really understand all of the different facets and all of the different areas kind of get that that complete journey map. Nowadays used to be that the bigger companies gobble up the smaller companies. That’s what it used to be like. And to a certain extent sometimes that’s still the case. But the advantage that small companies have is that of course they have the ability to be more agile to change to adapt whereas larger companies don’t have that flexibility and actually just some of the conversations that I had yesterday with a lot of you were that when you’re working in these large organizations and these large companies, they have this inability to kind of change and it takes a really long time to change whereas these small companies are able to just pick it up. You have a smaller set of employees, you’re able to like implement change very quickly, but it’s a matter of recognizing what kind of change that I want to implement.

The second one in order to not pay lip service and really change and become more customer centric is try to be innovative. And we’re all about kind of innovation and how we’re going to innovate our organizations and into the products that are offering. But, for us, we’re very keen on of course like A/B testing. And what we believe is that the more we’re able to produce tests the more we’re able to see these innovations. And the thing is is that what I’m talking about when it comes to A/B testing is not like these just slapping something, changing a colour – please don’t think that that’s how simple it is. It’s actually very complex. You have to really understand so much about what’s going on, really identify what the issues are and then try to come up with different ways to solve it that are innovative and actually this is a quote by Jeff Bezos.

“If you can increase the number of experiments you try from a hundred to a thousand, you dramatically increase the number of innovations you produce”

But he also talks about ‘delighting’, the idea of like delighting the visitor. And he talks about getting this big win and he uses the analogy of baseball where you’re batting and you’re trying to hit that homerun. You keep on going, keep on going until you hit that homerun right. And the nice thing is that when I use that analogy obviously for A/B testing you have a lot. You have the chances are much more to be able to hit a homerun. So the more you’re able to test, and identify, and figure out what’s going on with your customers the more you’ll be able to reach kind of innovation overall.

Be Collaborative

Another way to avoid paying just lip service to being customer centric is make your organization more collaborative. I had a conversation yesterday with somebody who is saying that we’re so siloed in whatever organization that she was working and the idea is you want to make sure that there is communication between the people that are actually leading the product development with the marketing people, with the people that are doing the optimization, or UX because there has to be a kind of collaboration. I think it was like in 2017 one of the words that marketers wanted never to hear again was like ‘silos’ because it was like so overused and everywhere you would go you’d hear the word silo but it’s the reality is that that’s what organizations do a lot of time is that they put certain people in certain boxes and there’s no collaboration between the teams. But that’s not the way to see that growth. That’s not the way to become a customer centric organization.

And so if you look at some of these leading companies Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Dropbox a lot of them are integrated functional growth teams in order to make sure that there is collaboration and communication and everybody is constantly on the same page when it comes to customer centricity and trying to become more innovative with their organizations. So ultimately again you’re trying to create teams that are designed for growth, designed for understanding the customer.

Follow a specific process

The second reason why customer first fails in a lot of organization is that they don’t follow a specific process and I know that yesterday I don’t know who talked about process but they said it’s not about process it’s more about like systematic change but the idea is that you want to provide some sort of guidelines of what to do and we’re all about a process. So, when it comes to how we approach our analytics or what we review and what we look at when we talk about even qualitative data collection there has to be some sort of guidelines. We’re not taking away autonomy from our team but we need to provide some sort of process. A lot of companies want to do it but they just don’t know how and they’re looking for ways to actually know what to do and how to create a process. And sometimes it’s just providing again some sort of guideline for organizations to better understand how they should go about doing things. So we have like our we have a nice little acronym ship that it’s it just kind of highlights what exactly is our process and how do we approach conversion rate optimization and we do it through scrutinizing, hypothesizing, implementing, and then propagating all of that great information that we gathered in order for us to find more and more ways to become a better organization and more innovative.

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A lack of customer data

The third reason why a lot of customer first fails is there’s just a lack of customer data collection – or it’s poor data collection in general. There was a case study – and I’ll get to the story in a little bit – but there was (and you guys maybe familiar with this) in the ‘90s Heinz ketchup came up with this idea that they wanted to change the colour of ketchup. Does anybody remember this? Right. And what happened was they brought in a bunch of moms and kids and they showed them the booger coloured ketchup and the orange ketchup and the purple ketchup. And they said they were they loved it. It was so awesome. It was just so like great. And then they pushed this product out and people hated it. So, the reality is that sometimes customers don’t really tell you the truth and you have to really dig deeper. So this is also at the brink of the industrial revolution. There are there are building all these skyscrapers. And within these skyscrapers they had to provide some sort of a lift or an elevator. And a lot of times there’s only one.

So, it’s like this huge skyscraper that only had one elevator and so people were just hating it. They were crowded. They took forever because they’re a lot slower than they are today. And, so, people were very unhappy. So, they asked people what should we do. How can we improve the elevator experience and so everybody’s like we’ll obviously build more elevators but what would that cost? I mean if you’re going to build change infrastructure you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars in many cases. So, they’ve decided that they’re going to find a different solution. They recognized what the problem was people were unhappy how could we just help them feel a little bit more comfortable in their elevator experience. So, what did they do? They put mirrors and that’s why you’ll find a lot of mirrors and elevators is because it makes it feel like the elevator is a lot bigger. So, it’s just giving people like a feeling and then a lot of times when you’re crowded you don’t know where to look. And so sometimes looking at the mirror and being able to stare at somebody else kind of helps. So, again, the idea is that if I relied on just if they took what those customers said and they just apply that then they would have would have cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the fact that they just they solved it by providing like just putting these mirrors in and they were able to still make people happy and at the same time not cost themselves so much money.

The reason is a lot of customers give you really top of mind answers – and you have heard this a lot already – when you’re trying to figure out what’s happening with them they won’t tell you the reality of what’s happening with them. They just let what they think they want you to hear sometimes or what they think they want but it’s not really what they want. So, it’s almost like you have to dig into their subconscious because they can’t express what it is. And I think Jared yesterday talked about this a lot about observing like a lot of times when you observe customers how are they interacting with my application how are they interacting with my website. I’m going to be able to learn a lot more because they’ll do things that they typically wouldn’t do when when I ask them question. So that’s why I’m trying to understand how to conduct proper qualitative research is essential. And we always say the planning part that should be the bulk of what you’re doing because ultimately you really want to get into the details of how I’m going to conduct and what I’m going to conduct and who I’m going to target and then conducting the research part is the smallest portion. But it’s really that first part the planning phase and then of course analysing the results. Okay it’s great that I conducted this qualitative research but if I’m not actually applying that knowledge then really I haven’t I haven’t done anything for my customer and I haven’t really changed anything that’s going to help them.

So there’s different ways and of course the more you can actually get into the face of the customer the better. Really like we love to do customer interviews talking to people looking at their facial expressions sometimes it can tell you a lot more than maybe their words can sometimes. Usability studies as well; especially when you have like some sort of an application that you need to test out to see how visitors interact. So what are kind of the same overall steps. These are really quick to conducting qualitative research first. It’s funny because like a lot of times people think that they need something and they don’t really know if they need it. So I think it’s first really important to kind of recognize why it is. What am I trying to do exactly. And then the second thing is you want to try to identify what the goal is. What am I trying to accomplish with this research that I’m conducting? And then you want to identify who it is that you’re targeting with this research as well. Like a lot of times you might say ‘oh look I’m just going to conduct this qualitative research with all of my customers and all different kinds’. But what if you want to look at people that subscribe, people that have left. Really try to understand it. It goes back to the goal. What am I trying to understand from my customers. And that’s the participant that I need to ask these questions to identify your personal bias. Funny story about this is that we had a subscription based client who sold men’s grooming products. So here I come in and I’m just super familiar with all men right. So I start making these assumptions and so then the males that were in the room were just like no that’s not what we think or that’s not how I would interact with this or that’s not what I would do. And they recognized ‘Hey I have a major bias’. And I took the same question some of them and I asked I come from a large family and I have two older brothers and two younger brothers. So, I ask them as well and I have a brother that’s like pinstripe corporate lawyer big shot I figured ‘oh he would definitely love these type of products’ so I started to ask him some questions. He’s like ‘No, I have no interest whatsoever in a product like this’. And then I asked my younger brother who is more of a guy who like loves his hair, he takes care of his hair all the time and the easy wearing type guy. And I figured ‘for sure he would love this product’. And he’s like ‘No, I would never use this product. I have great genes. I don’t have to worry about it.’ So, again, even with my own siblings I had biases I assumed that these specific brothers had they would be more inclined to a product like this and I was completely wrong.

And then of course like when it comes to qualitative you have to determine what type of qualitative research I’m going to be conducting what makes the most sense in this to answer this specific question and to reach the specific goal and make sure of course that you format the questions correctly. And then of course the ultimate thing that always – whenever anything is conducted in type of research – if you don’t analyze and propagate that data in some way shape or form you’re just missing out on great nuggets of information. So, we had a customer and we conducted customer interviews for this particular client and they have kind of online radio show slash podcast type service. So, this was their sign up process looked like it was one page: first you had to actually sign up for the account and then below that it gave you kind of like the package details and more information. So, when we talk to the customers what we found was a lot of them were frustrated because they couldn’t find the information that they needed. Some of them said I’m just not ready to sign up. Some said that they felt rushed that this type of sign a form made them feel very rushed. Some of them said that they were looking for the costs and they couldn’t really find it. And then some were just like what is involved in this.

And the key thing about understanding sometimes customers and how they think is there’s something called cognitive progression that’s really trying to understand getting into the brain of the visitor and seeing like this specific product. Yeah, it might not be a very expensive product but there’s investment involved and that’s what they’re thinking about. So, when I think about how I’m going to take them from one step to the next I really need to consider the fact that there is an investment involved in this. There is a personal time investment that has to go into doing a radio show or a podcast – it’s not something easy to do. So, we wanted to really kind of dig deeper so we took those great nuggets from the customers we plotted them we thought what is it telling us? So, some of the things maybe were test ideas some of the things that they mentioned like feeling rushed or looking for cost some of them are just fixes that we just needed to address right away. How could we make the cost more visible? How could we ensure that they had all the information that they needed? And some of them required us to actually investigate a little bit more like maybe I need to like dig deeper like why are they saying this specific thing I won’t understand a little bit more about it.

So, of course after many iterations this was what the final check out looked like. So I could give you guys probably a whole talk about the process of how we went from one stage to the next. But this is what the final page looked like. So, again, we tried to clarify the process. We made sure that the benefits were very clear for them to see. We of course made sure that the price was clearly displayed. And then of course they offer a free option we want to make sure that was visible for the visitor as well so they understood that. And then the last thing was we made it a two page sign up, again, thinking about cognitive progression. It isn’t something that they should feel rushed they should take their time read the details come back to it if they want to and then they’ll move on to the next stage. But when you just put all that you have to enter your information now, a lot of visitors were hesitant to do that. So we want to make sure we addressed that.

So, again, there’s different each type of qualitative research is going to give you a different set of answers and different type of information. Another customer that we had with subscription based and they noticed that between one to three months their customers were leaving the subscription they want to understand why is this happening. And so we thought to do as rather than just focus on those customers that were leaving we also wanted to look at those customers that were staying because we want to see what was the reason that they decided to stay with the subscription versus the other visitor it’s actually just signed up and then within like one to three months left. So, we split up the groups we conducted interviews for each of them and we’re able to really pin down reasons why a lot of the different visitors were leaving


The fourth reason why customer first often fails is there is no context. So, yeah, we understand now we have to conduct good qualitative research. We need to have a more customer first organization. But what if what else in terms of just overall understanding the visitors you can’t cast, obviously, a wide net. I have a client now who has asked us to do kind of some copywriting know CRO focused copywriting and so obviously when we’re doing our due diligence we’re asking her a little bit more about who is she targeting, who are her target customers? She’s like “just women. Like that’s who I’m targeting. All women at any phase in their lives.” And I’m looking at her like What do you mean? How is it all women at any phase in their life? That’s casting a really wide net. Are you sure that this specific service is going to work for all women? And obviously my copy needs to be catered towards specific groups at any point in time. So a lot of times you talk to organizations and that’s what they think all people why would it be any different.

And maybe like a long time ago in the times of Mad Men or the time of like when Web sites just started it was okay, you’d get away with doing whatever. But now again when it’s trying to provide that experience it’s not like that anymore and you can’t get away with just whatever, you really need to understand the visit are a lot more and be very very specific not all customers are the same and they’re definitely not going through all the experiences so the key here is what is it about those experiences that I’m going to understand a little bit more about. So, when we approach this when we’re trying to understand experiences overall I come in with a lot of different questions about how am I going to make it easier for visitors to complete tasks, how am I going to make sure that they’re enjoying it, we know not all customers come to a website or an application thinking the same thing. A lot of times they’re coming sometimes to answer questions. Maybe there’s something coming to find a solution. Maybe they’re comparing options. They’re coming with different intent and I need to understand what is the intent that’s bringing them and how am I addressing that concern right away. And then again I’m thinking about what task they’re trying to accomplish and what is the behaviour that I’m trying to facilitate for that specific task? So we have a number of things that we ask in order to understand this. for every client that we have we look through trying to understand all the experiences that bring people to different websites and applications in order to understand a little bit more: so what’s their intent. What is the context of their visit. What devices are they using. What browsers we’re trying to really dig deeper and understand a little bit more about the context now. It’s not a 100% science but it’s more of trying to our best map out that journey to understand exactly where and how they’re coming to the website. Where does their experience start. It’s trying to figure out where are they first looking is it click on add or is it visiting our Facebook page. What is it what’s happening and then where does that experience finish. And then again you want to understand also how brand aware are they when they’re coming and depending on that context maybe they’re at different levels of brand awareness and then of course where are they within the buying funnel. If I want them to actually end up subscribing or if I want them to end up like purchasing where are they in that funnel.

So, for us mapping out those experiences helps us understand okay well there’s these different types of visitors and these different types of visitors are coming through the website with these different experiences. And how do I enhance that overall for them and make it better for them. And then of course what we do is we take that we map that information we understand okay this is where they’re coming. This is the intent. This is the context is where they’re starting. This is where they’re ending. And this is the feelings that they have the brand awareness level on the buying stage that they’re at. Again it’s just a way for us to have this good view of the customer overall and how we’re going to address all their needs.

Lack of prioritisation

So, the fifth reason why customer first fails is, a lot of times, there’s a lack of prioritisation. And it was funny because like they’re talking about the first talk was about the product roadmap overall in prioritising what’s the most important feature that you want include. And that’s something that we deal with a lot is especially when it comes to providing people with overall experiences. You’re thinking how do I prioritise? How do I make sure that I’m hitting on the most important thing that’s going to impact my visitors and really giving them that that experience. What happens in a lot of organizations is the HIPPO or the CEO or whoever says I want this change. I want this feature to be added. I want this modification happen. And everybody scrambling to make it happen and then they kind of fudge the numbers to make it just work right. And so this kind of like the typical hypothesis statement but using kind of the HIPPO or the CEO giving this type of instruction. So that’s not the way to approach prioritizing. You want to make sure that prioritization is a little bit more scientific than that to make sure you’re addressing the customer needs and providing really that customer first experience. The second thing is it should never be about putting out fires. Now we all also double develop software so we know that sometimes things just happen and you just have to like address. Of course. That’s just normal with development but at the same time you want to make sure that there’s less of putting out fires and there’s more of coming up with the features and the path that’s going to work better for visitors: having to really provide them again with that experience putting them first. So on and so forth.

So what we do is we have basically this way that we prioritize all these issues that we collect we conduct – and I showed you guys kind of that shift method – a lot of research at the beginning of a project and then we plot it all. Plot all that information in to kind of see and there’s kind of like a mathematical formula somewhat of telling us exactly what we should be tackling first what issue are we going to address first for our customers. Now none of these and you’ll see it like a lot of CRO companies a lot of UX companies that may have methodology behind this. It’s not bullet proof it’s not 100%. A lot of times you need still a person to look at it and make sure that that makes sense if that’s the first thing that I’m going to tackle. But we do our best to kind of figure out what is the first issue. So, we’ve collected all the data and then we classify it. We figure out there’s some like usability things okay. Those issues aren’t things that will test those are just things that need to be fixed. Now there’s some things for example that I need to track better. There’s no event tracking on these specific areas on the website. I need to make sure that there’s event tracking everywhere. I also want to make sure that there’s some things that are research opportunities which are what we call kind of the tests or the experiments that we conduct. And then there’s some things that need to be investigated further. I don’t have answers. I’ve done some research here in this specific area and I found that there’s some questions that I have, but I don’t have all the answers so I need to dig deeper, understand a little bit more about what I’m going to be investigating.

And so we kind of take this classification and somebody mentioned this is that like ‘oh well the jar is never really closed because you should be always adding to this list’. And then we prioritize them. So we try to separate problem identification from what are the possible solutions and what I’ll do at the end you’ll see at the end of the presentation I also have a link to this so that you can also possibly use this within your organizations and then we use 18 different factors to weigh each line item. So whatever the issue is that you’ve identified how do I weigh this in terms of priorities for my customer? And then you of course assign different priorities for each line item. Some of the things that we look at are like the potential impact of this particular issue, was the problem how is it discovered. Was it just discovered through a heuristic evaluation? Was it discovered through qualitative research maybe usability test? Was it discovered through analytics or heat map data? What was the problem above the fold? And then I of course look how does this idea enhance what’s the primary goal of the entire site? Is it subscriptions? Is it whatever it is does this particular issue enhance it? Is implementing the change easy? Sometimes you want to implement a change and nobody agrees or you don’t have the development team on board or your CEO really hates it.

We had a client where we showed like you know some massive improvements on his website but he was married to his site and he didn’t want to change it. And we’re like hey you’re getting 60% more orders. Are you sure you don’t want these changes? He’s like I love the design, I put my sweat and tears into this design. There is no way that I can like part away with it. So, we’re like okay sometimes people just make choices in their life and then that same customer actually came back a couple of years later and he’s like hey my conversion rates are really down… So, again, the idea is that sometimes it’s not easy to make changes. Sometimes it’s about adding or removing some sort of an element and all of these are things that were weighing and deciding okay well based on all this information what is the priority what’s going to come first what’s going to come next. After prioritization we have a really nice list that we work off of. And we say okay let’s look at all of this and let’s kind of knock out each of these. Some of them are going to be like I said tests, some of them are going to be fixes and so on and so forth.

Politics and expense

And then the sixth, and final, reason why sometimes it’s difficult to become customer first: sometimes it’s just politically difficult or it’s very expensive. Again I’ve talked about a little bit is that larger organizations sometimes implementing change is a lot more challenging than with smaller organizations that are already more agile and they can kind of adapt to change a lot differently. So, what really has to happen, and we do this all the time also because we don’t want to ever start a project with any organization where there’s not complete buy in from everyone. So, you have to make sure that top management is all onboard and if they’re not onboard you’re going to run into challenges and you’re not going to be able to implement this customer first type of organization and methodology into your organization. So, you have to make sure that top management is there buy into it. And the way to do that very often is just sell it like you’re selling anything. Make sure you provide them with data. Make sure you bring the customers to life in some way shape or form. Reach outside the organization make sure you involve people that are on the front lines and then if you have the data points -a lot of times it’s not easy to sell people especially when they’re stuck in their ways – but if you provide what is needed then you’re going to be able to see kind of some sort of result there. So, I did provide, like I mentioned to you there’s this there’s a lot of different links here. This one link  will give you a lot of different options and a lot of different tools that will hopefully help your organizations start with thinking about conversion rate optimization and how to improve and how to approach it. And, actually I guess I’m the one person that’s between you and lunch and I finished early so you guys can get there faster and we can also take some questions.

Thank you.

Mark Littlewood: Thank you. That was fantastic. I was admiring both the talk and thinking that would make a really nice shirt. There we go. Questions. Are those hands up? Yeah.

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Audience member: Thank you by the way, the thing that comes up with us is we’re selling to the enterprise. So, we have people who come to the website multiple times maybe over many months. Imperfect data. So we don’t always have the best source information from Google- Thank you, Google – And so we’re trying to connect all the dots and if you run into that situation before and if so are there any ways that we can kind of get some better data that helps us make better decisions?

Ayat Shukairy: So, I mean, in terms of better data, like if you’re relying on Google you’re if that’s the only source. There’s obviously different analytics tools that you could possibly..

Audience Member: Hubspot!

Ayat Shukairy: pardon me? HubSpot? Okay. I mean I think HubSpot obviously it’s a great tool to use and you can obviously, there are ways to just tie in all of that information but sometimes these tools are a little bit limiting. So that’s why we always suggest again like trying to reach out and for example if you do get we have a customer actually in a very similar situation as you where they sell to enterprise clients, they’re like these like a $50,000-$150,000 deals. So they want to make sure that they’re understanding everything that they possibly can about their visitor and that’s, we’re trying our best to create their analytics package as much as we can customize it to gather as much data points as we can. So like I said adding events to certain areas that they didn’t have, doing conducting some customer interviews, so like for instance even if somebody didn’t sign up or try to recruit them just to understand a little bit more about what they were looking for, or listening in on some of the conversations that our client has with some of their potential deals and what are some of the pain points that they’re experiencing again to kind of give us as much of a picture as possible about their visitors to their website before they contact them.

So I think that that’s the only way that you could possibly do it. And if there are other like I said tools that you could install to give you a little bit better picture we do like I said usability testing, or video recording, heat map recording, all of that gives you kind of a little bit more insight into how people are actually behaving and what they’re looking for and how you can enhance the site to make it a better experience for them.

Audience Member: thank you so much for a wonderful talk, I want to make a distinction between things that are perpetual right. You talk about structural changes in the organization to be customer centric versus those things that are punctuated like the qualitative research processes you were talking about which are obviously not zero expense, do drive marginal cost, and even the examples you’re giving were like: It’s a project has a beginning middle and end and then you come back what would be a good way to think about frequency as I try to be a better HIPPO will be a good way to think about the frequency of those projects for bringing in someone such as yourself your organization or having staff on hand for returning to this so that we are not spending infinite amounts of money that same time not chasing the fire?

Ayat Shukairy: so I mean I think again if you’re trying to get to that customer centricity that the ultimate goal there definitely has to be structural changes but yes that is going to be a lot more expensive. In terms of frequency of changes as I mentioned to you guys at the beginning the more frequently you’re changing and adapting like to some of these structural these more punctual changes or website changes or application changes that might not be as expensive – there’s still going to be some expense but not as expensive – you’re going to see yourself at least becoming a little bit more innovative as an organization as well because you’re forced to your you have a set of issues that you’re dealing with and you’re forced to figure out what is the best solution for our customer in this particular situation. And so when you have them and we always whenever it comes to conversion optimization we say it’s not a one man show. You definitely need a group of people that are thinking and talking about it and discussing and throwing out ideas and different hypotheses and trying to tackle those issues in that way and that way you can really start getting to that point where you’re innovating and producing different and unique solutions to your customer.

Audience Member: How do you integrate your activities with everybody else who wants to talk to the customer? But I feel like developers want to have a better understanding of the customers doing, the design team wants to talk to customers, sales obviously they’re talking to customers start with. So it’s like a queue of people. Everybody wants to get in front of the customer and find out what’s going on. How do you juggle that?

Ayat: so I mean I think the that’s why you want to be collaborative. Right. You want to have teams that are working together so that you’re not constantly bombarding the customer with like lots of trick questions from lots of groups. You want to try to like minimize it prioritize what’s the most important thing right now that we need to tackle by talking to all the different groups and putting all of those different issues and questions and then launching some sort of qualitative research based on that. But of course if you overdo it, the customer is not going to really like that. So you want to kind of, again, even when it comes to that prioritize what’s kind of the most important thing that we’re going to be looking at and everybody should be onboard and aware of what we’re going to be doing with that right now.

Mark Littlewood: Thank you very much indeed.

Ayat Shukairy Invesp
Ayat Shukairy

Ayat Shukairy

Ayat Shukairy started her career as an educator & copywriter before co-founding Invesp to help customers convert web traffic into action. In 2016, she launched FigPii, a SaaS product to help companies improve their CRO.

With over a decade of CRO experience, Ayat helps companies create websites that people fall in love with, while increasing their online sales. Along with her partner, Ayat developed the SHIP method to optimization which employs robust qualitative and quantitative activities paired with contemporary psychology and behavioral marketing tactics to create winning websites for clients including eBay, 3M, The Special Olympics, O’Reilly, DISH Network and many more.

She is the co-author of “Conversion Optimization”, a book that combines ground-breaking marketing research with powerful story-telling and case studies to demonstrate how to leverage these principles to create killer websites. She provides insights grounded in comprehensive research, the best contemporary psychology and behavioural science which any company can start implementing immediately.

More from Ayat.

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