When a customer asks your for a report do you deliver or engage them? There is a shift in Web Analytics in South Africa as more clients are becoming aware of the availability of Clickstream Data
and free Web Analytics options like Google Analytics and are requesting information on their websites performance.
The question is when they request this data from you do you just send them the numbers or do you engage with them? Sending them the numbers in the form of a Excel or PDF report is often the most common solution to making these kind of requests go away, and I've noticed that reports from our clients that I have seen, even ones that have been the result of massive campaign expenditure, more often than not take this format.
When you send a client a report on something they have to interpret, more than likely they're either just going to dismiss it or simply email you back a list of questions, which is actually their way of pleading with you to help them understand their data.
What you are not doing is actually explaining why an banner placement out performed another of instance, or why users who landed on a certain page had a greater propensity to purchase. All of these learning's from web analytics and reporting are thrown down the drain with the same mistakes to be repeated over again. This leaves no gap for campaign optimisation and in the long run leaves you open to an attack from another company who will raise this as a concern when pitching for your clients business.
Aside from this obvious downfall of not engaging clients, you are also not helping clients understand how their business fairs online, you are not offering them insight into business critical questions which their website may be able to answer, or giving them insight into improving their business online. By simply delivering a report to them you're trivialising reporting, what you're saying is that they shouldn't care about reporting.
The question for them is then if they shouldn't care that much about web analytics reports, why then should they care when you increase their Search Engine traffic by 150% with a 18% increase in conversion.
Engaging with your client in reporting is part education and it does require effort. The effort is with it though, because when the time comes and you spot an opportunity through your web analytics reports you can be on the same page about the importance of a large scale or rapid roll-out of a solution.
A lack of engagement is a massive opportunity loss in the development of your relationship with the client, and your ability to justify additional development expenditure on the website.
The feeling I get is that most Suppliers who have the capability to deliver reporting are afraid that by educating their clients in reporting they will expose the clients to the bad decisions made during the development of the website, or the underperforming area's in their conversion strategy. And yes, you probably will, but if you get your client to that level of understanding then they will more than likely understand that the web and in fact business in general is fraught with strategic mistakes, and we all know that it's better to try and fail than to not try at all.
Clickstream - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clickstream