Speed is best measure of customer experience

The basics of customer experience is helping people do what they want to do. However, if you want to excel in customer experience you must help people do what they want as quickly as possible.

For every second faster Walmart.com has been able to make its pages load, it has had a 2% lift in conversions. Firefox reduced its page load time by 2.2 seconds and had 10 million extra downloads as a result. The Financial Times found that a 1 second delay in page downloads caused a 4.9% drop in the number of articles read. A 3 second delay caused a 7.2% drop.

An Alexa study found that the top ten sites on the Web are significantly lighter than other sites. The study showed that while page size for the top sites rose until 2014, after that the size began to drop substantially, as the page size for other sites continued to quickly grow. When GQ magazine reduced its page load time from 7 to 1.5 seconds, unique visitors rose from 6 million to 11 million in one month.

A 2015 study by Radware stated that “a site that loads in 3 seconds experiences 22% fewer page views, a 50% higher bounce rate, and a 22% fewer conversions than a site that loads in 1 second, while a site that loads in 5 seconds experiences 35% fewer page views, a 105% higher bounce rate, and 38% fewer conversions”. Google discovered that even a 400 millisecond delay could result in 8 million less searches per day.

Amazon found that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in lost sales each year. Etsy found that an additional 160 kilobytes added to a page resulted in a 12% increase in bounce rate on mobile.

Almost half of respondents to a 2015 Google survey said their top frustration was waiting for slow pages to load. Slow pages was way ahead of any other issue. Online shoppers expected pages to load in 2 seconds — and at 3 seconds, a large number abandon the site, the New York Times reported in 2012. People will visit a Web site less often if it’s slower than a close competitor by more than a quarter of a second, the New York Times also reported 2012.

Helping people complete tasks gets you onto the pitch. It allows you to play the game. But if you want a chance of winning you must focus relentlessly on speed. Of course, it’s not simply about how fast your pages download. Your content must be optimized for speed by making it as simple and as fast to read as possible. You must remove all distractions whether they be unnecessary links or graphics or fields in a form. You must constantly simplify your processes. How can you bring it down from a 5-step application process to a 4-step one?
Making it faster and simpler for the customer should be the number one conversation on Monday morning. Speed should drive the agenda. In digital, speed is the customer experience.

Podcast: World Wide Waste
Interviews with prominent thinkers outlining what can be done to make digital as sustainable as possible.
Listen to episodes