Improving internal site search is now crucial to customer experience. Unfortunately, outdated beliefs about making serious investments in intelligent site search on the external website are holding businesses back from increasing conversion rates – and potential revenue.
George Chang, 2017 Sitecore MVP and Coveo Certified Developer is a Solution Architect at Perficient, one of Coveo’s valued Sitecore partners. He ties the importance of search to the complexity of content for Perficient clients. “As websites got more complicated with more content, it was difficult for users to navigate through and find exactly what they needed,” he said in a recent interview with our content team.
Watch more of George’s interview:
More companies are growing their content base, especially with the pressure to provide more and more personalized content. As they do so, upgrading their search technology must become a priority, along with letting go of the myths about site search holding them back.
Myth #1: It’s too time-consuming to manually tune search results.
Fact: Industry-leading products provide automatic tuning for relevance, applying machine learning to usage data to truly understand what users need, and delivering the most relevant content.
Myth #2: Great UX design can overcome poor search technology.
Fact: Today’s websites need both; it’s not either-or any longer. The search function is no longer a “crutch” only for websites without great UX design guiding users to content. Today’s website visitors won’t take the time to browse. For example, mobile users more frequently search to find what they need, and now that more website views are coming from mobile than desktop, great search is a must-have.
Myth #3: It’s not affecting conversion rates.
Fact: Imagine going to a store with the intent to buy something specific. Do you wander the aisles perusing at other items until you half-heartedly get to it? No, you do your best to find the item immediately. The same thing happens online; determined buyers are going to use the search box to get to what they need. In fact, ConversionXL reports that website visitors who use search convert at a 5 to 6 times higher rate than other visitors.
Myth #4: More data on website visitors is not needed.
Fact: Usage analytics of the search experience provide a data-driven view into how your website content performs. Supplement customer surveys and feedback on the website experience with data that shows how well content is able to meet specific customers’ needs. Take a look at the queries that return no results or low clickthrough rate results to guide your content creation strategy.
Myth #5: It’s okay if customers need to call the help line to get answers.
Fact: “Our customers reported that their customers couldn’t find what they needed to on their site,” George explained. Research shows that customers prefer to self-serve with content online to find the answers they need and in this survey from Forrester, 53 percent of buyers reported abandoning their purchases if they couldn’t find easy answers online. Providing self-service content online also helps boost the case deflection rate of the contact center and makes the contact center more efficient..
Myth #6: Keyword-matching is the extent of customer expectations.
Fact: The experience on external search engines is the bar that website search must pass. These search engines take full advantage of the user’s context, use auto-complete to suggest queries, and provide predictive recommendations. This delivers a much richer experience to the user – and one that they won’t hesitate to use over an inferior site search and end up heading to a competitor’s website.
Myth #7: Search is only useful on the website.
Fact: Search technology, and more holistically relevance, is creating the future of business. From digital assistants to online self-service communities, search technology will have a major impact on the intelligent workplaces of the future and the best-in-class digital customer experience enterprises need to create.
Myth #8: Designers cannot do much to improve the UX of the results page.
Fact: Boring text-only results pages fail to showcase the visually compelling results website visitors see on your other pages. Providing quick view previews of rich text documents, such as PDFs, and pulling in images and videos will make a difference to users. Even better: search-driven content pages that change automatically as content is updated.
Falling victim to these myths about site search lead to a poor search experience for the customer, which results in them leaving. “What our clients found was that visitors would leave their site at a fairly rapid pace because they could not find what they needed to find,” George explained.
One of the key reasons why George recommends Coveo to these clients is the deep integration with Sitecore. “The capability that I like the most about Coveo for Sitecore is that it has a strong tie-in to the Sitecore implementation,” he said. “Coveo provides first-class support on the Sitecore platform, and because of that it doesn’t feel like you are using a product that wasn’t intended for Sitecore or trying to shoehorn a product into Sitecore.”
Learn more about the impact of site search with our “Best Practices for Site Search” whitepaper or download the free edition of Coveo™ for Sitecore for your Sitecore site.