Digital Body Language

Posted by Anar Bata | 27-Sep-2018 15:09:20

Data analytics dominates almost every industry right now. Companies are working to understand how they can best use customer data to provide better experiences for their users. It is not enough to simply extract data, and it may not be helpful to make decisions based on a partial picture.

You must model complexly; that is to say, actively model the intent and psychology of your customers, rather than simply follow the clicks.

In the real world, you can observe a lot about an individual’s emotions and perceptions based on how they behave. This physical body language can then provide you with cues on what the customer wants and how you can best serve their needs. Body language; however, does not need to be confined to the physical world but can be transferred to the digital space.


Customer intent

Understanding how a customer reacts to a website can help organisations in determining what their users expect. It’s essential to understand why an individual is on your website and what their specific expectations are.

For example, you may have two individuals both looking for headphones but with different intent. A customer who is looking to buy headphones for their workplace may be looking for something that is noise-cancelling, while another individual may be hoping to find something flexible that would be suitable for the gym.

A company that can make these distinctions based on past purchases (users who have looked at trainers, sweatbands, etc are more likely to be gym goers) will be better at retaining customer loyalty.

It’s also important to understand how a consumer views your brand and their relationship with it. One member gave the example of their local council, which spent a significant amount of money on CRM, only to realise their customers viewed their council as a transactional process. For those individuals, being able to pay council tax in the quickest, easiest way was more of a priority than receiving strong customer services from their local council member.


Interacting Online

Analysing how customers interact with a website can also help companies serve their clients better. Organisations should be wary of asking too many questions and getting in the way of why the customer visited the website in the first place. While it is helpful for companies to ask specific questions about their customers preferences, asking a question at the wrong time may result in the customer feeling violated and leaving the site all together.

Additionally, if a company can analyse the speed and intensity of which a customer is typing, this could indicate frustration with the sites applications. Understanding how the customer feels when they are interacting with different parts of the website can help companies understand what segments of their digital experiences need to be updated to better fit consumers needs.

Measuring this kind of behaviour can help in unexpected places. From a financial services perspective, the speed at which your customer usually types can help identify fraud. A bank has a greater chance of identifying theft if they have a record of the pace in which a customer interacts with their site. A customer who usually types slowly, but who is now moving across the website at a quicker speed could indicate a hacked account.


Customer journey psychology

Customer intent can also be determined based on the type of device used. A company can see whether an individual is shopping for themselves or for others based on the device they use.

Mobile use can generally be viewed as the optimal choice for quick, transactional actions; ideal when making a purchase for yourself as you’re more likely to know not only the product you want, but the exact size and colour too.

Desktop or laptop use might be more appropriate for buying a gift for a friend; it requires more thought and therefore recommends a more substantial interface. Mobile use is more common for consumers who want key information on specific products, while laptops are for those who may not know what they want but want to discover more.

It’s also been shown that computers are used for making more emotionally charged purchases. People are more likely to donate money via computer than mobile.

Cultural and generational aspects also play a role as region and age affect how a consumer interacts with a company. In the West, it is more common for the family device to be a desktop, while in the East, families generally use the same iPhone. It may be harder to discern specific user information from iPhone use in the East, while iPhone use in the UK, for example, can generally be attributed to an individual.


Future interactions

We are very much at the beginning stages of understanding digital body language and the larger implications of it. Members predicted we may reach a stage in the future where businesses integrate physical attributes with technology for optimal gain.

Some predict speech analytics and biometrics will be the norm only 2 years from now, with devices like Alexa and our iPhone analysing tone of voice and facial expressions to make decisions about the user journey.

Hangzhou, a city in eastern China has already begun this process as a local KFC now offers their customer the option to pay for their meal via facial recognition. This was done with the intention of driving growth by attracting a younger generation of users who prefer the faster, cashless option.

While we may have to wait longer than 2020 to be able to make all of our purchases by simply looking at our phone, we are on the right track in creating easier, more efficient user journeys.

The Digital Body Language Dinner took place at Mews of Mayfair, London, on 13 June. Attendees came hoping to better understand how to measure the behaviours and emotions of customers using their digital experiences.

The event was held in partnership with Clicktale. Clicktale works with organisations to provide their customers with the best digital experiences by using behavioural data and clear visualizations.

Topics: Thought Leadership, Event reports

Written by Anar Bata

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