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Measuring the “Piss-Off Factor”

Posted By Holly Buchanan On March 30, 2007 @ 1:01 pm In Buying Process,Customer Experience,Customer Focus,e-commerce | 30 Comments

operator [1]“It was like this sales woman was following me all over the store. I told her I didn’t want any help, but she didn’t listen to me,” commented my co-worker John Q. “She was always right on me, constantly looking over my shoulder. I half expected her to come into the dressing room and help me into my underwear!”

Wow… creepy.

Sound bizarre? It’s a real experience, though in the virtual world. John was shopping online at an ecommerce site and was followed everywhere by the nice looking woman with the headset in the “Live Chat” window. She wouldn’t leave him alone. So he left, and may not ever be back.

John experienced what might be dubbed a high POF (Piss-Off Factor).

When you measure ROI are your taking into account POF?

Every website and online communication has a POF. There are things you are doing that are pissing-off customers and potential customers. Trust me: no one is immune from POF.

There are two reasons why POF is an important factor:

One: The vast majority of your online visitors don’t share this information with you. You have no idea WHY they left (or what upset them).

Two: These are people who willingly came to you, wanting to buy, and left disappointed. These are qualified buyers who want to do business with you; they’re extremely valuable customers or potential customers that you’re paying a lot of money to attract in the first place.

Here’s the problem:

frustrated [2]Imagine if you will that you’re a single guy with a profile on a dating site. An attractive single woman looking for a guy visits your profile. But there is verbiage in your profile that turns her off. She leaves. Not only do you not realize what you did to turn her off, you don’t even know an amazing woman looked at your profile and left.

Now, yes, you can measure “abandonment rate.” But can you measure whether that person was just in the wrong place and not really interested vs. whether that person was very interested and wanted to buy?

That single guy has no idea there was a really hot woman ready to date him. And more importantly, he doesn’t know what he did to piss her off. But he is not focused on measuring his POF, he’s only focused on the women who actually do contact him (i.e., his conversion rate).

Hmm… does this sound familiar? Are you so busy focusing on your conversion rate that you’re not paying attention to POF?

I’m sure the online retailer John Q visited, like many e-tailers, found that introducing Live Chat increased conversion. And the more intrusive that live chat was, the better the conversion rate (incrementally, of course). But what about the visitors who found that constant live chat surveillance intrusive? What about the visitors that left the site and won’t come back because they were pissed off about that intrusion into their sacred online space?

Subscription sites suffer from some of the highest POF of any online business model. “Oh, you want to see that? Well first you need to give me lots of personal information and fork over your credit card.” The kicker is, this model proves very effective! People aren’t happy about it but if they want/need what you have badly enough, they’ll fork over the information and the money.

But what about the portion of visitors who want/need what you want but just need more information? Need more questions answered? Need a few vital pieces of persuasive copy that would give them enough confidence to move forward? What is the opportunity cost of the visitors you’ve “turned away”?

What about the overall customer experience? Is that 0.05% conversion increase with constant live chat intrusion worth the opportunity cost of all the customers who leave and don’t come back because the experience pissed them off? What if that percentage is actually higher than the conversion increase?

How much money are you turning away? Are you measuring your POF?

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