The Definitive Guide to Session Replay Recording

The Definitive Guide to Session Replay Recording

by Audelia Boker Posted on Feb 20, 2017

Digital transformation has meant that business as usual is over. Studies by comScore, Radicati, and Zenith have found that mobile now represents at least 65 percent of digital media time. Other studies have found that consumers pick up their mobile phones 150 to 200 times a day, and switch between their devices up to 27 times per hour. Alongside this mobile explosion, there has been considerable advancement in customer analytics, taking on board machine learning and predictive analysis.

2016 was the year of big data, but according to Information Age it was “Big data, little learning curve.” With IT, marketing, and compliance all using their own analytics systems to assess the consumer experience on the desktop, mobile or app version of a site, the end result was unnecessary confusion and little learning about the real customer experience.

Quantitative Analytics vs Deep Analytics

With Google Analytics, you get valuable insights into the numbers and metrics: the numbers of page views, unique visits, conversion rates, and ROI. But does it tell you why the customer got stuck or abandoned the shopping cart? It doesn’t tell you how customers are using your site.

Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just see a “video” of what happened? From the moment the customer entered their password, where did their fingers move on the phone screen? What did they actually see on the screen? At what point did they give up and leave the app? What was their journey to check out? This is all deep analytics, driven by incredibly rich data capture, which you don’t get from quantitative data analytics. Website session recording allows you to see what numbers don’t.

Deep Analytics, combined with rich website session replay tools, gives you the picture behind the numbers and the ability to visualize digital (online and mobile) journeys in real time.

So What is Session Replay?

According to Wikipedia, website session replay is “the ability to replay a visitor’s journey on a web site or within a web application. Replay can include the user’s view (browser or screen output), user input (keyboard and mouse inputs), and logs of network events or console logs.”

At Glassbox*, we explain it simply as the recording of every session on a firm’s website or native app, exactly as seen by the customer, regardless of the device (laptop, tablet, mobile) or browser used to access the channel. It allows you to see exactly what the customer is seeing or doing on your site. In addition, website session recording allows you to replay a session that was originally on an older version of a device or browser and see the journey exactly as the customer saw it at that time.

Right now, there is no industry-wide accepted name for the website recording and replay of every session exactly as seen at the time by the customer or visitor. There are many other terms used to describe the collection of customer data via website recordings, such as:

  • Customer Experience Analytics or In-Page Web Analytics.
  • Mouse Recording Tools
  • Session Recording, Session Replay Analytics
  • User Replay, User Session Replay, User Experience Replay
  • Visitor Session Replay, Visitor Replay, Visual Session Recording
  • Visitor Behavior Analytics, Visitor Recordings
  • Visitor Playbacks
  • Visual Analytics
  • Website Session Replay, Website Video Replay

How Can Session Replay Help Me?

  1. Customer experience analytics software
    According to McKinsey research, two-thirds of the decisions customers make are informed by the quality of their experiences along their journey.Automated customer journey mapping produces a visual map to follow a journey from beginning to end. Conversion funnels and click maps can help answer questions like:

    • Where does my traffic come from?
    • Which design elements are attracting clicks?
    • How many rows of products do visitors scroll down to see?
    • How do they use the site’s navigation and menu bar?
    • How do customers interact with banners, forms, or CTAs?
    • How far are visitors scrolling down the page?
    • When and why are they abandoning a transaction?

    This data should not only be accessible to IT professionals; it needs to be exportable to everyone that needs a digital question answered. The meta data or batch data can help all realms of management – from marketing to distribution – to get a 360-degree profile of the customer.

  2. Customer support optimization
    Call center reps are often on the receiving end of bad customer experiences from a self-service website. But they don’t have a clue about what happened to you online, immediately before calling customer support. With real-time replay (3 seconds after it happened) they can view the recording of a website session exactly as you saw it and quickly guide you to successful resolution.If a problem keeps coming up, call center agents can share that trend with the IT department to get a long-term fix to the problem. At the end of the day, the organization benefits from:

    • Reduced average handling time of complaints
    • Increased first call resolution
    • More knowledgeable call center agents
    • Improved customer experience
  3. Risk management & compliance
    2017 will be the year in which organizations have to better deal with data privacy and access to your Personally Identifiable Information (PII). As of May 25, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will come into effect in Europe.As a result, many industries will be forced to capture and archive web and mobile sessions in a tamper-proof, source-proof and time-stamped manner. With some industries being forced to archive and make available up to seven years of data, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of data will become a huge cost.Apart from being always ready for an investigation or audit, businesses will have to find all the sessions for a customer who wants to exercise their right to be forgotten or the right to obtain all of their stored personal data.Read more:
  4. Performance analytics
    With 40% of consumers abandoning a website if a page takes more than three seconds to appear, IT needs to test every element of a site before it goes live. And on an ongoing basis, IT needs to check site usability and to be able to troubleshoot problems. In order to prioritize which issues to solve first, they need to be able to understand which performance and availability glitches have the most impact on customer experience and revenues.

    • Are visitors clicking on non-clickable items?
    • Are visitors abandoning the shopping cart because there’s a technical issue with the checkout page?
    • How long does the site take to load on an old phone?
    • Why does the app keep crashing?

    To diagnose errors, IT professionals need to be able to reproduce what actually happened. Immediate access to a session replay combined with its entire meta data eliminates the need for error reproduction. By flagging digital performance issues, digital channels’ performance can be continuously monitored and improved.

    example of mobile session replay tools from Glassbox/Mobilebox

Session Replay Tools Provided by Glassbox

To optimize the customer experience, a comprehensive out-of-the box solution is needed which includes all of these characteristics:

  1. Monitor all digital channels on a single platform – website, mobile site, app
  2. Less noticeable impact on channels’ performance
  3. Can be used by business users, removing dependency on IT or business analysts
  4. Visually map all customer journeys, build funnels, and drill down to individual sessions
  5. Easily search across the entire data to retrieve sessions
  6. Accommodate any application changes in real time with no need for pre-configuration or tagging
  7. Create ad hoc or regular reports and alerts, based on free text
  8. Source-proof, time-stamped and encrypted records so they are tamper-proof
  9. Store and compress records so they can be kept as long as required by the industry or regulations
  10. Meet highest security industry standards
  11. Role-based access to functionalities and data
  12. Sensitive or confidential data (e.g. PII) can either not be recorded at all or be masked
  13. Compress high volumes of data to minimize Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
  14. Openness and the ability to import/export data
  15. Quick implementation within weeks

The future of Session Replay and Big Data Analytics

Embedded analytics are being incorporated into applications to make insights accessible to non-technical business users. Nucleus predicts that in the next seven years, 90 percent of business users will interact with analytics at least once per day but only 15 percent will realize they are doing so.

Gartner asserts that by 2018, more than one half of large organizations globally will compete using deep analytics and proprietary algorithms, causing the disruption of entire industries. By 2020, Gartner analysts predict that through the use of intelligent business analytics, information will be used to reinvent, digitalize, or eliminate 80% of business processes.

At Glassbox*, we predict the major trends for 2017 to be the cross-departmental use of big data by analyzing digital channels from the point of view of the customer’s experience and the emergence of automatic insights. With website session recording and replaying the digital journey we can gain an insight into the experience, the needs and the expectations of the customer.

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