Simulate business critical user journeys with synthetic monitoring

Today’s user journey is much more complicated than ever and has completely changed the perception of how business critical functions are managed and maintained to support customer expectations for flawless digital experiences.

The journey that users take when visiting your website will vary depending on your business model. An e-commerce site, for example, might involve user interactions that go from product selection to shopping cart to payment transaction. Other times, the user journey may involve collecting customer data, such as login profiles and email addresses to fill sales funnels.

If these types of customer behavior drive your primary source of revenue, that last thing you want is to be inundated with customer complaints and mountains of support tickets. It may be a good time to start thinking about the importance of user journey monitoring.

Protect your reputation. It’s all in the numbers

At its core, business critical functions are the activities and processes that must be immediately restored after a service disruption to protect the organization’s assets, ensure regulatory compliance, and, of course, retain loyalty and minimize blowback from unhappy customers.

With that many balls in the air, it’s easy to imagine that when your website or service doesn’t operate properly, your users will likely switch to your competitors. Not only will they switch to a competitor, but many of them will never come back. A recent study on customer expectations reported some astonishing statistics:

  • 86% will leave a brand they were loyal to after only 2-3 poor customer experiences.
  • 63% will leave a brand due to one poor customer experience.
  • 65% of customers, able to do so, will pay more for an outstanding customer experience.

If those numbers aren’t enough to convince you of the importance of having a solid user journey monitoring plan, consider that the US ecommerce market alone generated $599.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow 5% annually to the year 2025. In Europe, the ecommerce market generated €757 billion in 2020.

Carve out a proactive plan with synthetic monitoring

In short, there is a lot of revenue to be lost by those businesses that don’t focus on user journey monitoring. It’s that simple. In today’s competitive online marketplace, optimizing revenue pipelines equates to satisfied customers, which in turn, equates to high levels of system availability, and a proactive approach to anticipating and minimizing service disruptions.

Simulating a business critical user journey starts with understanding the role played by proactive synthetic monitoring. Unlike Real User Monitoring (RUM) — which allows you to view user behavior from actual browsers and devices, and from different geographic locations as they occur in real time — Synthetic Monitoring allows you to check the performance of your applications, APIs and more even when there is little or no end-user traffic on your website. That benefit is clear in that it gives IT teams time to identify and resolve problems before too many users are affected and form a negative impression of your website.

The case for synthetic monitoring as opposed to real user monitoring

While RUM allows for the immediate collection of data from scripts as users access your page, it offers a passive overview of website performance from a user perspective. Synthetic Monitoring takes a proactive approach that goes beyond uptime and performance monitoring with a focus on finding issues, fixing them, and optimizing website performance to provide better simulate business critical user journeys.

Synthetic monitoring also employs website performance tools, such as a Transaction Recorder, which is a Chrome browser extension and a script that can be set up to monitor logins and logoffs, password resets, or the modification of account settings.

To monitor interactions along the user journey, you need to put them in a script that can be run over and over to check if everything still works as expected. Once the script is activated and uploaded, you can record steps of everything you do in the Chrome browser from Uptrends’ network of 229 checkpoints or behind your own firewall using a Private Checkpoint.

If you own an e-commerce business or manage network systems for one, the ability to record and modify scripts that go through the entire checkout flow — from adding shopping cart items, filling in shipping details, and processing payment transactions — will matter greatly. The same applies to the travel industry and SaaS providers when it comes to detecting and rapidly resolving issues across business critical user flows, business transactions, and API endpoints. Fluidity of processes is key to positive user journeys.

Being able to visualize page load performance and bottlenecks is where waterfall charts and screenshots come into play as part of the check details. If you are using transaction monitors, you can decide which step along the pathway where you want to add a waterfall. Some of the page-load elements you will view and benefit from are:

  • The resolve, TCP connect, HTTPS handshake, send, wait, receive, and timeout duration for each element
  • Page load progressions and spot slow and page-blocking elements in the waterfall chart
  • Failed page elements and examine the request and response headers for clues about the failure.
  • Identify whether a CDN node sent the wrong content, or the response was too slow

The last word

Because ecommerce, travel, and SaaS businesses tend to rely heavily on financial transactions and other user-critical process flows to provide revenue, it stands to reason that user journey monitoring and transaction monitoring be at the forefront of your efforts to ensure correct functioning of user journey pathways on your website. These pathways may entail something as simple as logging into an account all the way up to the selection and purchase of products on your website.

When it comes to assuring your customers about the reliability of your digital assets, it’s best practice —and simply good business policy — to simulate business critical user journeys with synthetic monitoring. Give your IT teams the advantage they need to identify problems before they affect the user experience. Learn more about Uptrends Synthetic Monitoring.