January 20th, 2014 | Published in Google Enterprise
Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Ed Lecky-Thompson, Head of Digital at Charles Stanley Direct, a leading online investment site and part of the Charles Stanley Group, which has £18bn of investments under management. To learn more, join our Hangout with Charles Stanley Direct on January 23rd. Register here: http://goo.gl/A23N59
As a direct-to-client investment service, our website plays an absolutely critical role in attracting and retaining customers. While we’ve won a number of awards for the quality of our customer service and online trading platform, we realized our site's search functionality was in need of an upgrade.
Clients use our site to search for and view information on funds and stocks to help them weigh their investment decisions. However, Google Analytics showed that between 35-45% of client searches on the site resulted in no matches at all, while 15% of searches came back with thousands of potential results, meaning the right ones were often buried. Search was one of the last tasks clients performed before leaving the site altogether, showing the frustrations they experience in being unable to find what they were looking for.
To tackle these problems in-house would have proved costly and time-consuming, so we looked at a number of hosted providers. When our Google partner Extended Content Solutions Limited demoed the Google Search Appliance (GSA) using our own data, we saw instantly how it would benefit us.
Since deploying the GSA, feedback from our customers has been fantastic. Now, only 5% of searches result in zero matches or an unmanageable number of results, compared with 65% beforehand. We have a 99% click through rate, showing us that users are finding the fund or stock they’re looking for on their first search, whereas previously only 20% of searches actually generated a click-through to view that share or fund. Calls to our contact centre relating to finding information on stocks and funds on the site almost disappeared overnight. The next step for us is adding the ability for customers to search for our videos, which give up-to-date and insightful information on market trends. It’s exciting to think though that we’ve probably only scratched the surface of all the potential the GSA has to offer and how we can use it.
In the months since we’ve deployed the GSA we’ve improved customer retention and acquisition and increased the conversion rates of website traffic to client registrations. As the site goes from strength-to-strength it has paid for itself a number of times over. It is no exaggeration to say that the GSA has completely transformed the role the website plays within our business.