Evolution, Mutation And Metamorphosis – The Journey From CRO To CX

by Garry Lee RedEye

So, we’ve got a new website. Why? Because everything evolves.

The Conversion Rate Optimisation industry we helped to create has evolved into Customer Experience. Back in 2010 we became the first (and only) sponsors of the annual eConsultancy CRO report – the biggest industry report of its kind – and we brought the industry innovations like UX driven Multi-Variate Testing. I’d like to think we played a huge part in building the CRO industry in the UK and while that industry is going from strength to strength, it’s now part of a larger entity, Customer Experience (CX). As I said in my blog last year, CRO is evolving and we continue to evolve with it.

Why Should I Care? Is CX So Different From CRO?

This is just the beginning. The change is being driven by customer momentum: your customers expect better, they expect more, they expect the perfect Customer Experience, and it’s no longer enough just to use clever tricks to improve conversion. You need to think like the customer and to evolve with your customer’s needs. Don’t get left behind – many brands have already seized the ‘Customer Experience baton’ and are running with it.

Take the example of Lemonade, the innovative insurance business, that are already ahead of the curve. They’ve played with how they bill clients, different ways of managing the claim and a particularly effective app. But what makes them so different is the focus on the customer and not on insurance.

Customer Over Product

A great example is how they donate any unclaimed insurance money to the customer’s chosen charity. This is a prime example of a brand genuinely thinking about the customer’s experience and their motivation. Have a read of this great Forbes article for more examples like this.

Conversion Rate Optimisation will always have benefits, but it should no longer be the only focus, it needs to be part of the wider conversation around the Customer Experience. It’s about short-term wins vs. long term success or to put it another way, Quick Wins vs. Big Picture…

What Is The Big Picture Approach?

This approach is about thinking strategically, planning for the long term and not relying on conversion hacks for future success. We believe in stripping everything back to basics, looking at the culture of a business and ensuring it fulfils two key criteria:

  • Putting the customer at the heart of decisions – this cannot be a PR stunt to be handed over to the Marketing Team as a great ‘angle’. Do you genuinely put the customer first and make company-wide decisions based on what they want, need, or enjoy?
  • Continuous testing – this isn’t just about AB testing, but your general decision making as a business. A culture of testing means you are prepared to take measured risks and make decisions based on solid data.

How we help our clients on this journey depends on them. We build our proposition around their needs because every engagement is different. Yes, we learn from each engagement and we’ve got a team with decades of experience. But no two companies are the same, and neither are their requirements.

As always at RedEye, we look at innovative ways of working. We challenge our clients to think differently, to focus on the customer and to be brave. Ultimately, the customer should get an enhanced experience, which naturally increases conversion. If we recall the age-old adage that people remember bad experiences more than they do good ones then ideally, the customer won’t even notice the changes. The experience should be smooth, seamless, easy – exactly what the customer expects.

So Why Bother With Quick Wins?

The ‘Quick Wins’ part of this strategy reflects the core of what we have been doing for years, helping our clients improve their conversation rates. These problems haven’t gone away and whilst a long term strategic approach is preferable, sometimes it’s simply not possible to put everything off until you can implement a plan for the long term. We live in the real world and help our clients with problems at all levels because they have a business to run and results to achieve! The key is, while focusing on short term quick wins, keep an eye on how you can combine them to support, or kick-off, a long term, Big Picture strategy.

What’s Next?

As I have been saying, the customer and their expectations are constantly evolving and that means the industry must too. We talk a lot about putting the customer first, but to truly evolve it’s going to be about genuinely centring your whole business around them. This isn’t a marketing initiative, it’s not for the Ecommerce team to implement, it needs to be embedded into all departments, from IT to Finance. For example, think about how the customer pays you, is that best for them? How can they access your services, do the options you present work for the customer or are they just the easiest ones for you?

These are the questions you should be asking (until then, we’re going to keep repeating them!) while getting buy-in from across the business to answer them.

Whether you choose to work with RedEye Optimisation or not, your agency should challenge you, tell you when they disagree, and always offer alternative directions when they feel they are best for you as a business. Be prepared for and welcome that. In an industry that is changing at this exponential rate, ‘yes men’ will not bring anything to the party.

I’d like to leave you with a final observation, tenuously attributed to Darwin, but insightful never the less:

‘It’s not the most intelligent, nor the strongest that will survive, but those most adaptable to change.’