What Customer Feedback Can Teach You About Web Performance

by | August 2, 2016

Customer feedback provides excellent insight into how your website is operating in real-world situations that’s helpful even when your business is running Synthetic Performance Monitoring. While the monitoring software provides immeasurably important synthetic feedback on a scale that simply can’t be reproduced manually, the human experience provides additional feedback on site performance when an actual person is using it.

Moreover, receiving feedback for improved site performance from people who use the service is a nice morale booster. Customers often provide unsolicited feedback via email channels, but your company can also request feedback via mailing list requests and on-site survey pop-ups.

Are Your Improvements Noticeable?

Amazon reports that every 100ms of latency in site load times costs 1 percent in sales made it clear that even imperceptible load time increases affect conversion rates. However, regular visitors are unlikely to alter their habits based on such tiny changes–and most people won’t notice a latency boost from 2500ms to 2200ms. Instead of quantitative information, customer feedback on load time improvements provides qualitative information for measuring progress. Smaller increments will affect conversion rates, but they won’t necessarily change your site’s reputation as a “fast loading” or “slow loading” site. Customer feedback, however, can help your company monitor its reputation against competing sites. Does your site have a reputation for “loading much faster now” in opinions as well as on paper? You’ll have to ask to find out.

Undetected Problem Alerts

While monitoring tools do an excellent overall job of checking on things like uptime and response time on a large scale, visitors’ web browsers may experience performance issues that make the site “feel” like it’s taking longer to load than it really is. For instance, your customers probably use a wide range of web browsers that feature different plug-ins. Typically web developers troubleshoot the most recent version of a sample of browsers, like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, with a handful of typical plug-ins. Your page may load normally, but a problem with a script, flash file, or other feature in a specific browser probably won’t show up in web performance monitoring statistics even if it’s very apparent to the end user. An advertisement from a third-party service, for example, could be failing to load, and make several attempts to reconnect–slowing down page performance for the visitor. Feedback from your customers in situations like this is very important, because while the problem only impacts a share of the audience, those numbers can add up quickly and harm your site’s reputation.

Performance Speed in Unmonitored Areas

While Apica’s immense testing network spans 2,600 nodes across 83 countries, your business may do a lot of work with customers in remote areas that have poor Internet connectivity speeds. The tests would not represent the experience for these customers. For example, North Dakota’s population is booming compared to the rest of the U.S., but the state’s population is spread out and comparatively far from testing infrastructure. If customers in an area like this are experiencing performance issues, the only way you’ll know is if they tell you.

Apica’s LoadTest and Web Performance services are great assets for your business to keep tabs on how well your site is performing. The extra information from customer feedback works well with these services to help your business build a faster, more reliable website.

Apica Product Team