March 4, 2004, 12:00 AM

The merger of customer satisfaction and web site performance measures

Customer satisfaction does not come without understanding web site performance, Paul Leroux, CTO of Gomez Inc., web site performance monitoring company, tells InternetRetailer.com.

The talk at the eTail conference last week was all about customer satisfaction. But customer satisfaction does not come without understanding web site performance, Paul Leroux, CTO of Gomez Inc., web site performance monitoring company, tells InternetRetailer.com. “Understanding customer satisfaction in the context of web site performance is what people should be concentrating on,” Leroux says.

For instance, Leroux says, most retail web sites know their download speed and availability, but they need to understand the other factors that feed into customer satisfaction as well. “They should understand how often key business transactions, such as product search, are successful,” he says.

Especially in retail, where search and navigation systems present a different site to almost every customer, understanding performance is important, Leroux says. “Retailers don’t really know what the site will look like when a customer comes in,” Leroux says. “Sure it’s got to be fast, but it also has to be right. Search results need to present the right products with the right links. Retailers have to do content-based transaction management.”

To achieve that level of understanding, retailers should conduct their own searches--or other key transactions--and measure results, Leroux urges. Gomez measures web site performance by contracting with tens of thousands of computer users around the world to allow their computers to be used to test sites through a variety of connections, including dial-up and broadband. “Relating performance metrics to customer satisfaction is something that is very important to the business side of the house,” Leroux says. “It’s not something that should just be left to IT.”

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