Web application problem detection, it's not your customer's job!

Travel is my hobby. I love a great adventure and in a few weeks I will be nurturing my inner “Dora the Explorer” and heading to Italy. What I don’t love about travel is making the arrangements. It reminds me of a visit to the dentist with no Novocain; it’s never fun or pretty. Enter my latest travel planning fiasco, a vain attempt to upgrade my upcoming flight.


According to the air carrier (who shall remain nameless in this post), upgrading a flight via their website is EASY! A click here, an approval there, and you’re flying in style.


I clicked my way through the site, entered my credit card and frequent flyer information, arrived on the “confirmation/ approval” page and BAM, no flying in style for me. Instead I received a lovely error message that made absolutely NO SENSE AT ALL. So, I went back, started over, and tried again. On the third try, I gave up.


To me, this experience was like pouring salt in an open wound. Not only did I walk away without an upgrade, I also know this event (and ensuing blog post) could have been avoided if the air carrier had been monitoring their users’ experience. Monitoring critical, revenue generating applications from the user’s perspective can provide your business extraordinary value. Not only can user experience monitoring can offer insight into poor conversion trends and lost revenue, it can also reduce the cost of servicing your customers. If your business relies on critical web applications for revenue generation or customer support, user experience monitoring can help you:


  • Identify problems before they affect end users.
  • Pinpoint which components of the application stack are causing the problem.
  • Troubleshoot, diagnose root cause and resolve the issue.

As a customer, I’m happy to purchase goods and services through a website and in this case I was a captive audience. However, when a company makes it difficult for me to spend money with them, I prefer to keep that money in my pocket. As a marketer of application performance monitoring solutions, I wanted to cringe. If the airline would have been monitoring the customer experience during the “check out” process, they probably would have already discovered the problem and fixed it. Instead, a business analyst is probably sitting in a Monday Quarterback meeting today scratching their head, wondering why revenue from flight upgrades drop like a lead weight on Saturday morning?