We don’t want to dampen anyone’s party, but, customers are far less loyal and even less trusting than they used to be, and thanks to social media, they exert more buying power than ever before.
Now that the hard stuff is out of the way, it’s not all bad news for eCommerce business owners. Even though we live in incredibly sceptical times where 81% of customers will do online research about your products before they buy, there are a few tried and true ways for online stores to get attention in an increasingly noisy marketplace.
In this post, we look at 7 easy tips to nail your customer experience (CX) so you can be the hero your consumers deserve.
What is CX?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to be a CX master, let’s take a quick look at what the customer experience really is.
The customer experience is best defined by the series of interactions and touchpoints a customer has with your brand, and how that journey makes them feel about purchasing from you.
Is your website clearly laid out and easy to navigate? That’s great! You’ve taken the first step in delivering a great CX. If, however, information on your site is hard to find, it takes a long time to load pages or there are too many pop-ups, this might be frustrating to your website visitors, creating a barrier to them purchasing from you.
Building a great CX requires long-term investment, something not all business owners are willing to consider if they don’t see immediate results. In fact, customer experience futurist (yes, that’s really a role now) and Forbes contributor Blake Morgan state that quarterly earnings reports often hinder real development in the CX department.
“Investing in customer experience is an act of bravery because often the returns don’t happen right away — and many boards and CEOs are not willing to wait around for that payday,” states Blake. Read the full article here.
So why make such a fuss about it then?
To business owners out there, customers are still king. And if you don’t give them a flawless, seamless, personalised, and standout experience, they’ll most likely move onto a new supplier that ‘just gets them’.
So if you want to be everything to your customers, check out our 7 tips below.
1. Get Personal
Personalisation is not only one of the most fundamental principles of CX, but it’s also the backbone of eCommerce. Look at the Daily Edited. Who would have thought 10 years ago that perfectly crafted leather bags would sell even more units if the customers’ initials were stamped in the centre?
Remember the time when you could get your name printed on a Coke can or even a tub of Nutella? Both of these strategies were calling upon the need of consumers to feel like connection they have with a brand is unique, important and makes them feel like they’re the most important customer in the world.
If you can crack stellar personalisation, you’ve already won half the battle in the CX war.
Getting personal with your customers requires you to listen to what they want, and deliver it. It sounds easy, but that becomes tricky when different groups of customers want different things. That’s where personalisation comes into play.
Personalisation is one of the most critical components of a CX strategy because it has a direct impact on advocacy and loyalty. This is one of the best ways to build genuine relationships with your customers, and if you can get it right they’ll value more than switching over to a competitor with cheaper rates.
2. Create Natural, Multichannel Purchase Paths
The eCommerce landscape doesn’t consist of one selling channel business owners hone into. Being successful in an online marketplace means being available in as many of the channels your customers participate in as possible.
A multichannel approach involves promoting and selling where your customers already spend their time. Taking your products to your customers will not only increase your conversion rates but it will create a seamless and effortless purchase path for your loyal customers.
So what are some easy ways to vary the way consumers buy from you? One easy way you can start today is by utilising Facebook Messenger for Business. For a few years now online businesses have been using buttons so their customer has an easy way to purchase through the messaging feature.
Another channel to consider is Amazon. Many customers use the Amazon review features as a way to research products. Why not remove a few steps for them and set up an account with Amazon too? Thanks to BigCommerce, here are some tips to successfully selling the Amazon marketplace.
Another recently new example of this is shoppable retail posts on Instagram that SmartCompany describes as marrying “a consumer’s desire to follow a brand with the ability to quickly buy the products they see on the site”.
3. Don’t Forget the Mobile Experience
It may sound like old news now, but if you want to make your customers know just how special they are to you, then stop and think about the mobile experience you’re providing them with.
Most people with a smartphone are accessing online content via mobile devices, so you’ll need to make sure your award-winning CX strategy flows through to places that are accessed with the limited dexterity of a scrolling finger, two thumbs, and an index finger.
According to data from eMarketer and Accenture, 37% of eCommerce transactions will take place on a smartphone this year, so unless you’re happy to turn away nearly one-third of total revenue, it’s definitely worth reviewing your customer journey on small screens.
Luckily, there are a few tools out there that can help you go above and beyond for your mobile customers:
Customer service software that was built with the mobile experience in mind. Zendesk is a great tool that can help you stay on top of mobile enquiries and complaints all while providing an engaging and flexible personalised experience.
With all the online communication platforms available to businesses these days, it’s never been easier than before to neglect your social media messages. The last thing a business owner wants is to turn a frustrated customer looking for help in a message, into a flaming ball of raging tweets and Facebook status updates. Sprout helps you consolidate all your channels to prevent any heated social media explosions.
Giving a great customer experience is all about being flexible enough to cater to a wide range of customer wants and needs. Now not every single customer will want you to text them updates, but the few who do will greatly appreciate your efforts. TextMagic allows you to communicate with your customers easily via text while also allowing for personalisation and automation along the way as well.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
Don’t forget to test how mobile friendly your web content is by doing Google’s super quick mobile-friendly test. This is a great way to test your site’s load time on mobile and to see if your content is mobile responsive. If you get a bad result, don’t stress! Look into reducing the size of your site’s images if you get a slow load time result, and look into moving your website to a mobile responsive template if your site is in need of a refresh.
4. Keep on Top of Buyers Remorse
We’ve all felt that flutter of emotion that tells us we need that new jacket, after all, it is on sale and it’s nearly winter. Our customers are no different, and if a purchase they receive doesn’t meet their expectations, that expectation they felt at first will turn into frustration and regret in seconds.
This is referred to as buyer’s remorse, and it’s a business owner’s worst nightmare.
It can cost 5 to 25 times more to attract new customers than to retain your current customers, so you’ll want to make sure your customers aren’t falling off the grid after they purchase from you.
The only issue with buyers remorse is that more often than not your unhappy customers will remain silent and simply refuse to purchase from you without ever telling you. Try to be proactive after your customers buy from you. Offer refunds and returns, send them information on how to use your products, check in and see how they went and ask them to rate your products, or even send them replenishment reminders to show them you care.
5. Give Your Customers Personalised Shipping Experiences
You may not have thought about it, but the delivery process is the perfect opportunity to give your customers a little TLC.
Many businesses overlook the opportunity to resolve many of their customer’s questions after they purchase. As soon as a customer commits to buy, they’ll start to wonder:
- When will my item ship?
- When will it arrive?
- Will I need to make arrangements for the delivery?
- Will I be able to track the delivery?
- How do I contact if there are issues?
If you’ve got your customers covered with all the answers to these questions then well done. You get a gold star in the customer service department. If you think there is some room for improvement here though, Shippit will help you offer your customers personalised tracking updates and an easier return process that will have your customers raving about you.
6. Give Your Customers a World Class Unboxing Experience
Have you heard of the unboxing phenomena? It’s a craze that hit YouTube and social media a few years ago where excited delivery recipients record a birds-eye view of themselves opening their hotly anticipated package.
Unboxing videos are so popular that they can rack up nearly 838 million views, and there are even YouTube channels dedicated solely to the intricate unravelling of cardboard and bubble wrap.
If you haven’t thought about the experience your customers have when they unwrap your packages, it’s highly worth a bit of thought. After all, maybe one of your customers is a serial unboxing YouTuber?
Well, on second thought, maybe that is unlikely. But even something as small as a handwritten thank you note can do wonders for your CX.
7. Don’t Confuse CX with Customer Service
Did you know that customer service and the customer experience are different from one another? They are similar, but customer service differs from the latter in one very important way.
According to our old friend Wikipedia, customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.
Most of the time, consumers will call upon customer service teams when they’re having an issue with something or want to complain and they’re looking for a fast solution or advice.
If you fail to provide your customers with standout service when they want it, they’ll begin to associate negative emotions with your brand and will choose to buy from a competitor that is better at answering their questions.
Getting personal with your customers at every point from the moment they land on your site to the moment you send them their first tracking notification is one of the most important components of CRM and CX.
CX extends the borders of your site
In an eCommerce environment filled with complex marketplaces, you need to consider how your customers can most easily access your products outside of your site. Get to know your customers and where they purchase from. Not only will you understand them better, but you’ll be able to make alternative sales channels more profitable.
CX does not equal customer service
Don’t confuse giving your customers great support (i.e. answering their questions) by giving them a great experience. Most of the time bad experiences go unnoticed until it’s too late.