Web Analytics essential in improving customer Web experience for FedEx Corp.

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Web analytics is a central component for FedEx Corp. in its quest to improve the customer experience online, according to Russell A. Fleming, managing director, customer experience marketing, in his keynote speech at the Direct Marketing Association’s B-to-B Interactive Marketing Conference in Scottsdale last week.

“One of the great things about the Web is the ability to measure in a way you can’t in other channels,” Fleming said.

Fleming said one way FedEx uses Web analytics is for so-called “path analysis.”

“We use page tagging to help us see how the customers are moving through the site and where they are dropping off, so that we can understand whether there are aspects of the experience that can be improved,” he said. The company uses WebSideStory's Web analytics tools.

Among the discoveries, Web analysis revealed customers were stalling at a point in the process where they were asked to provide the exact weight of a package. “Weight was tripping them up,” Fleming said. Customers would abandon the site in order to look for a scale to weigh the package or to bring the package to a drop-off location where it could be weighed.

As a result of that kind of analysis, Fleming said, FedEx has been able to redesign facets of its Web site to give users a better experience, particularly in how they navigate the site.

“We redesigned navigation in terms of customer feedback,” he said. For example, secondary navigation buttons on its home page--including Ship, Track and Manage My Account--have been reworked to provide faster and easier links to such customer services as scheduling a pick-up and getting shipping rates, he said.

Fleming said it is important for FedEx “to service different experiences,” from the needs of individuals and small businesses to large corporations.

One of the most valuable tools it has used in its ongoing site evaluation is “intercept polling,” Fleming said. The short online surveys target customers who either abandon the site or complete an order in order to gain feedback regarding their experience.

“We invite customers to give us feedback immediately,” he said.

Fleming said FedEx used intercept polling three months ago and it was so successful that it had to be turned off after five days because it generated more than 20,000 customer responses.

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