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5 Ways to Supercharge Your Site Search – Webinar Highlights

At the start of the year, we presented a hugely popular webinar, Boost ROI with Site Search, which focused on the business case for site search and identifying areas for improvement in your search experience. But for many organisations, visualising the possibilities for their website’s site search experience is the hardest part of the process.

In our follow-up webinar, Supercharge Your Site Search, Funnelback Product Manager, Samantha Gilbert and Digital Solutions Consultant, Simon McEwen, delved into a common problem that many organisations face, as well as five real-life examples of businesses that are using search to improve and fill gaps in their customer experiences.

A Win-Win Search Experience 

Firstly, Samantha identified the secret to a win-win site search experience – one that fulfils the needs of both your users and your organisation:

How to get happy users:

  • Increase the findability of information
  • Dynamically offer the most relevant content
  • Provide insights across your content library
  • Connect services across internal silos
  • Solve accessibility and navigation challenges
  • Improve the quality of your online content

How to get a happy organisation:

  • Increase user satisfaction
  • Improve your SEO rankings
  • Increase average visitor time on site
  • Lower the cost of interactions
  • Reduce reputational risk by surfacing key information
  • Boost key marketing metrics

The Netflix Model – Why Personalisation Isn’t Enough

Next, Simon took over to explain common problem organisations face when trying to achieve the perfect customer journey. “The pitfall is prioritising your ideal journey over what the customer actually wants”, Simon revealed. “There are times when a customer may not want to be ushered through an experience, but simply wants to jump straight to the information they want”.

To explain further, Simon described ‘the Netflix model’. “Many companies create customer personas and believe they know their customer’s wants, desires and demographic. But consider this scenario: You log into Netflix and want to watch Ocean’s 11. You search for it, find it and watch the movie – you knew what you wanted, and you got it. The next day, you want to watch another movie but this time, you don’t know exactly which film, just that you fancy an action movie. This time, you’re relying on Netflix to tell you what you’re looking for. The next day, you have no idea what you want to watch – not even a genre – so you want Netflix to just suggest something to you. You’re the same customer, but you’ve just followed three completely different sets of behaviour on each consecutive visit”.

Simon’s point is that there are times when we cannot predict what a customer wants because customers are human and don’t always follow a predictable pattern of behaviour. It’s on these occasions where matching a good web experience with a good search experience can connect the dots.

5 Examples of a Great Web Search Experience

To show the audience exactly how search can fill a range of gaps in your user experience, Simon walked us through five Funnelback customers who are using site search in different ways.

1. Linkt 

For a company that helps Australians to pay tolls, Linkt was receiving a disproportionately high number of calls from customers who were unable to work out how to pay or check their tolls online. Despite investing in its web experience, customers were struggling to find basic information – resulting in high call centre costs (approx. $7-12 per call) and frustrated customers.

2. Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC)

There’s a lot of competition in the US education sector, so a poor website experience isn’t an option for schools and colleges. There’s also a lot of information to house on a college website and choosing a college is a big, emotional decision. A prospective student could be worth $20-30,000, so CVTC needed to make information easier to find which, in turn, would make the decision to choose CVTC easier for students.

The new CVTC search experience provides auto-complete suggestions as you search. Furthermore, once a user has entered the popular term ‘apply’, it also provides a 3-step admission process suggestion, which has sped-up the search process and resulted in far higher conversions from search.

3. Tourism Tasmania

Tourism Tasmania’s events were not being updated in real-time, which meant marketers and content editors were spending valuable time with manual updates. Further to implementing Funnelback, a simple search for ‘Hobart’ now returns instant results before the user has hit ‘return’. Users are presented with rich imagery around attractions, what to do, travel information and more – making great use of the existing content in the media library. Within the search page, users can see a map view, where they can hone-in on information and events for specific locations. Users can also take advantage of recommended and popular searches, and view rich media within the search, view maps and events.

4. Australian Super

At Australian Super, the marketing team were challenged to create more content in less time, with half the amount of resources and budget. The team needed to find a way to repurpose content over multiple channels, so used Funnelback to showcase more of their content and create a richer user search experience. The Aus Super experience now shows content indexed across different categories and formats, relevant Twitter and Facebook feeds, and videos from their YouTube channel. Video production is expensive, so the ability to optimise this content and ensure it isn’t hidden away on their YouTube channel ensures that Aus Super isn’t letting valuable content go to waste.

5. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)

A common problem for government websites is how to make extensive datasets and document archives easily accessible. DELWP had 37,000 documents in PDF format on its website and planners weren’t able to find the documentation they needed, leading them to call in order to track-down non-urgent information. (The only alternative to calling was to download all PDFs in order to sift through and find the right one, which was hugely time-consuming). By redeveloping its planning portal, powered by Funnelback, the new search provides planners with a range of filters and search options to help them to pinpoint the right PDF quickly.

“Each time search is being used, in a different way, to fill an important gap in the user experience”, noted Simon. Between all five examples, site search created the ability to: search by category; provide location mapping; increase conversions; enable personalisation and display results across all channels (including social media). “But imagine if you could piece together all of these capabilities together in your own website’s search experience?”.

An enhanced site search can radically reduce your cost to serve, increase conversions and increase your student, citizen or customer experience. So, what are you waiting for? For the full presentation, watch Supercharge Your Site Search on-demand here. Alternatively, for more information on how to perfect your site search experience, read our latest eBook The essential guide to site search.


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