How Choice Hotels Reduced Cart Abandonment by 90%
Choice Hotels optimizes their online channel by combining Tealeaf’s customer experience management insights with iPerceptions’ Voice of Customer analytics solution.
Choice Hotels International is one of the most successful lodging franchisors in the world. As an industry leader with millions of customers per month visiting their sites, Choice Hotels knew they needed to maintain online channels that matched their commitment to innovation and customer service. The company therefore turned to two best-of-breed solutions to keep their sites in optimal shape – iPerceptions for Voice of Customer analytics and Tealeaf for customer experience management.
With iPerceptions, Choice Hotels is able to optimize their sites by tapping into real customer feedback. When customers visit one of Choice’s web properties, they have the option to complete a short survey at the end of their transactions. Choice Hotels is then able to analyze this data to identify online trends and potential issues and keep a close eye on customer satisfaction.
With Tealeaf, they gained an even clearer picture of their online customer. Using Tealeaf’s unique session replay ability (a page-by-page, browser-level recording of the actual customer experience), Choice Hotels is able to watch customer sessions, allowing them to understand the complete customer experience and quickly diagnose the issues causing customers to struggle online.
“We are now able to identify gaps in our customer experience using iPerceptions, then validate and understand the details behind the customer feedback thanks to Tealeaf. This integration has been invaluable to helping us optimize all of our online properties.”
-Miguel Almaraz, User Experience Manager, Choice Hotels
While both iPerceptions and Tealeaf were providing Choice Hotels with critical insight into online customer behavior, the data was contained in completely separate systems. If a customer completed an iPerceptions survey after an unsatisfying visit, Choice Hotels had no way of reproducing the customer’s experience to better understand their feedback. When analyzing customer behavior in Tealeaf, it was a very manual process to tie this data back to iPerceptions’ customer feedback. As a result, Choice Hotels needed to find a way to connect these valuable solutions and maximize their return on investment from both.
How the Integration Works
By capturing the customer’s session ID in both tools, Choice Hotels is able to link an iPerceptions survey to the corresponding session in Tealeaf. Allowing the company to pivot from iPerceptions reports directly into Tealeaf and visualize a customer’s comment by reviewing the full context of that customer’s online experience. Additionally, the company can use Tealeaf to go a step further and quantify the business impact of a reported issue.
For example, when iPerceptions survey responses indicate an unexpected site trend, Choice can then search Tealeaf for all other customers who experienced the same issue. Choice can then prioritize their site optimization efforts by business benefit and immediately jump on the issues that are impacting the most customers and risking the most revenue.
Rather than hypothesizing about why negative or unexpected trends on the site are occurring, Choice Hotels now has the tools they need to make more informed website optimization decisions – ones that reduce site issues and dramatically improve the overall experience for their customers.
WIN 1 – Validates and Resolves Costly Reservation System Error
When a visitor is viewing details on available rooms, the site automatically takes a selected room out of inventory and places it on hold until the customer completes his reservation – essentially adding the room to the customer’s “shopping cart” to prevent multiple bookings of the same room. But when a segment of customers went to complete their reservations, all of the rooms they had viewed were awaiting purchase. And when these customers tried to book the one room they actually wanted to reserve, they received the error message, “cannot mix reservations,” causing many to abandon their transactions.
iPerceptions alerted Choice Hotels to an increase in the number of confused customers. This information led the company to use Tealeaf to uncover the technical root of the problem. First, the company utilized Tealeaf’s visual replay to understand the customer commentary and see the error message first-hand. Then, because Tealeaf captures all the details of each customer session, including the HTTP’s Request and Response code, Choice was able to identify the source of the problem – a back end error which was mistakenly placing the “on hold” rooms into the customer’s final purchase rather than releasing the unselected ones. Finally, the company was then able to use Tealeaf to determine the magnitude of the problem – how many customers saw this specific error message, whether they submitted an iPerceptions survey about it or not, and whether they abandoned as a result. Choice Hotels then used this information to determine the best permanent fix.
Utilizing iPerceptions and Tealeaf in concert, Choice Hotels was able to validate customer feedback and understand the exact path customers took before abandoning. The company was able to immediately correct the system error once the issue was identified and streamline the booking process for future customers. As a result, conversion rates improved and the occurrence of that error message decreased significantly
WIN 2 – Reduces Abandonment by Quickly Resolving Site Usability Issue
After a website redesign, iPerceptions surveys indicated problems on the payment step of the reservation process – many customers were having trouble selecting a credit card to complete their purchases. However, customers did not provide enough information in their survey comments about what exactly had occurred on the site leading up to the issue. Furthermore, Choice Hotels employees were unable to recreate the problem for themselves.
With iPerceptions’ intelligence and Tealeaf’s visual replay capability, Choice Hotels was able to quickly diagnose the problem. It turned out that during the site redesign, the company listed their branded Choice Privileges® MasterCard® as the default credit card selection. Customers using a regular MasterCard did not realize the difference and entered their card number with this selection – only to receive an error message. After several attempts, many customers simply abandoned. With insights from both tools, Choice Hotels was able to identify and resolve the usability problem. Now, no default card is displayed on the payment page and customers actively select their credit card of choice to avoid confusion.
iPerceptions made Choice Hotels aware of a negative trend in the booking process, and the integration with Tealeaf provided the visibility required to understand customer behavior and site behavior in order to quickly fix the issues and limit the impact on conversion. In fact, Choice Hotels was able to reduce abandonment caused by this particular issue by 90%.