As all websites, WooCommerce stores are bound to suffer from issues at various ends. These issues can depend on a variety of factors that you may or may not be aware of.
And for critical ones, like a broken checkout page, time is crucial because an issue occurring there means your users won't be able to complete their purchase.
Best practice dictates, other than your automated setup to monitor the ups and downs of your store, there's an additional route you should implement to discover issues on top of that. It's user feedback.
In fact, your customers can be the perfect ones to help you uncover things not working as they should because their money is involved. Specifically, these users should become your sources for gathering information that can help you pinpoint the cause(s) of the issue(s).
Since an issue on your WooCommerce store might directly impact your sales numbers, and therefore your revenue, it's better to get the most out of this type of feedback because a broken store will scare clients away.
But how can you get user feedback in an effective way? The short answer is: you have to have a procedure to follow. In other words, you should have a process in place and follow a proven set of steps rather than just having an unorganized way to react.
Do you want to know what this framework looks like? Then, let's begin!
Determine if it is a one-off issue vs recurring issue
First and foremost, as soon as you get the first email or message for an issue, you don't want to postpone analyzing it. At this early stage, your goal is to check for a pattern. If the issue was a single report it is usually not a cause for huge concerns. However, if there have been multiple feedback being sent to you highlight the same problem, it should get the bells ringing. As WordPress developer and Codeable expert Ashley Shaw elaborates:
The idea is, if I'm getting emails from users saying: 'Hey, there's this issue with your store.' The first thing to start from is trying to understand whether that was just a fluke, a bad situation, or more of a recurring issue kind of thing.
If it's a one-off issue, which nobody has ever reported yet, I'll try to replicate it immediately to confirm that and sleep well that night. On the other hand, if that's not the case and it all starts looking more like a recurring thing, then I should step in and try to collect as much information as I can. And I could do this through using a survey with some sort of reward attached to it.
Gathering as much information as you can from your users, that's what you should be doing now. But what information will you need to collect?
Check on their browser
Trying to identify an issue you're not fully aware of is a hard task because, without any details, you're fumbling around. That's why your first bet is to mark off your area of research and go with one of the most common elements rising issues: your user's browser. Explains Ashley:
When trying to shed light on an issue being reported by your users, firstly you need to understand what browser your user is using. More often than not, the browser would be the source of the problem and that would reveal a browser-related error, rather than an issue pertaining to your store.
Once you have more info about their browser, it's time to dig a bit deeper and look at what your users were doing when the issue popped up.
Have predefined questions to establish the exact path your users took
It's crucial for you to establish the exact path, i.e. the user journey, that your customers took when the specific problem occurred. The reason being to enable you and your developers to better define what might have caused the issue. As Ashley highlights, you could do this by having a predefined set of questions to be shared with your users:
After checking on their browser, you then identify where the users started their journey. You should always have a few standard questions to use here. Did they come in from the home page? Did they come in from a campaign you're currently running? Did they come in from one of the other entry points? Which actions did they perform right before the issue happened? Which page were they on? If that customer would be willing to provide a screenshot with annotations, that would be even better.
Motivate users to report issues
Having a process to collect and handle user feedback when issues present themselves has several benefits:
- It dictates the immediate course of actions you should be taking in regard to an issue on your store
- It provides you with valuable information on something affecting your store that you had no idea was happening
- It helps to position your company as a customer-centered one that cares and listens to its customers, hence reinforce their connection with your brand
An important part of this process, as a whole, is the rewarding aspect which can't be left out of the equation. Specifically, if you'd like to build such kind of behavior within your customer base, you'll need to think of a way to show your appreciation to those willing to share. As Ashley gives a few tips in this regard:
Your job is to make it clear that not only are you enabling your customers to share their feedback with you, you are also rewarding them with something they will likely appreciate. So it'd be a matter of putting some kind of message on your site like: 'If you encounter any kind of errors, consider reporting it to us and we will reward you with X'. Often, when you involve a customer in this sort of a diagnosis, you shouldn't stop there. Instead, follow up with them saying they provided really useful information to help you fix that issue and reward them with something like a coupon. If you do that correctly, that user will become an evangelist for your brand from that day on.
Inform your users on the rewards they can get for reporting problems. Or even better, incentivize them to report issues as soon as they occur through a prominent menu option or live chat bubble.
Once you have all the relevant information, submit it to your developer
Thanks to all the gathering of information, which is a compound result generated from the user feedback with your subsequent research, you now should have a clearer picture of that issue afflicting your WooCommerce store.
That's the best scenario to then start working on a fix with your developers or, if the issue is too specific or you can't count on in-house resources, craft a great project brief and hire a WooCommerce expert.
Websites have issues because they're living creatures, they're moving pieces of software. And with your WooCommerce store, things get worse as there's usually money flowing from a buyer's pockets to yours.
As the store manager, your goal is to keep that flow going with no leaks in between. When trying to identify issues, there's never enough feedback to be collected and your customers are surely one of the best and most effective "tool" at your disposal.
That's why having a framework to properly manage user feedback, which is helping uncover issues you had no idea about, means a stronger safety net your business can rely on.
This blog post features Ashley Shaw who is the founder of LightSpeed, a web agency that has been developing WordPress websites for over a decade. They can take care of and manage different areas of any business, such as frontend or backend development, WooCommerce support, MailChimp and Systems Administration.