Did you know that customer experience has become a part of marketing? Some people even say it is new marketing. It shouldn’t be surprising because the vast majority of unhappy customers won’t complain to you will tell other people about an unsatisfying product or customer service. In fact, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, dissatisfy consumers tend to tell between 9 and 16 people about their bad experience. However, this number seems to be underestimated and probably based on old data, when social media were not as massively used as now. Currently, an average Facebook user has 338 friends, an avid Twitter or Instagram user may also have hundreds of followers; and influencers thousands, even millions of them. In such a condition, the number of people who can hear negative comments about your company or brand can skyrocket. At the same time, a happy client who shares a positive experience may have a more significant influence than many marketing campaigns.
Of course, customer experience is also a crucial part of sales. Managers or business owners who are reluctant to invest in it should be aware that it’s anywhere from five to twenty-five times more expensive to acquire a new client than to sell to a loyal one.
However, everyone who has ever worked in customer service knows that making clients happy is not a piece of cake. Their demands are growing, and loyalty is decreasing. Thanks to social media, review sites and comparison apps, they’re already well informed about the product. In fact, they often behave like harsh restaurant critics – informed, well-prepared, with high expectations and little patience. What customers expect is hassle-free, fast and personalized customer experience, as efficient as on Amazon or other e-commerce giants. From a small business perspective, it seems not to be easy to achieve, but it really can be. In 2019, we’re lucky to be able to choose from various digital tools that facilitate, automate and personalize different processes. We’ve gathered the essential components of integrated, holistic customer experience to guide you through the process of providing stellar customer experience. But let’s start with the basics.
What is modern customer experience
The most straightforward definition of customer experience comes from the Forrester Research that defines it as How customers perceive their interactions with your company. It’s often used interchangeably with customer service, but it’s not how it works in reality. Customer service a part of customer experience. In fact, in the ideal world, it wouldn’t even exist because happy clients and flawless services don’t require any support. On the other hand, shopping without customer experience is impossible – everyone needs at least one touchpoint with a product and to go through the process from realizing a need and getting to know the product to the final purchase. In short, customer experience accompanies the customer journey and happens before, during and after the purchase.
Omnichannel is one of the top trends in customer experience and therefore, it deserves more attention. It’s a modern and highly demanded approach when customers receive a fully integrated holistic customer experience, no matter what channel they use. And the number of channels can be pretty significant: website, email, call center, live chat and/or chatbot, social media, brick-and-mortar shop, just to name a few most popular. What makes it different from another popular approach, multichannel, ist that a company is not only present on numerous channels, but they’re all connected, the information flow between them is flawless, and customer experience is always the same quality. To achieve that, it’s necessary to pick the right channels (you need to be where your customers are which doesn’t have to mean everywhere) and focus on mobile channels as they more often need improvement. Another crucial factors are agility and using the right digital tools that automate as much as possible.
Churn is something you want to avoid at all costs. Churn rate is a metric that measures the percentage of customers who decide not to use your products or services anymore. Poor customer experience is one of the top reasons behind the high churn rate, and you should keep that in mind.
Five ways to provide stellar customer experience
Now you understand that the key to success in delivering the customer experience that makes clients happy and eager to come back is the combination of the right approach and technology. In the past, when most of the commerce operated in a single channel (visit in a shop), no sophisticated technology was necessary (and available). However, now, neglecting it can be the final nail in the coffin. We’ll now show you five different ways how to introduce digital solutions in customer experience.
User Experience Design
According to Adobe, and they’re undoubtedly the experts in design, 38% of online shoppers will leave the website if they don’t like the way it looks. Even more of them are discouraged by the way the website works. The astonishingly high percentage of e-commerce cart abandonment (76% of customers do that) shows that the way the buying process is designed is often far from the customers’ expectations. Of course, there are many reasons behind it, including treating carts like wishlists. However, bad user experience has a significant impact on the abovementioned churn rate.
User experience is a vast field, and e-commerce leaders invest in it a lot. However, there are a few fundamental factors that you should implement as soon as possible:
- Clear, professionally-looking design that supports and not overshadows the offer,
- Order forms that are as simple as possible and where the final cost (including taxes, shipping, and any other additional cost) is clearly visible at the beginning of a buying journey,
- Seals of trust and security,
- Intuitive navigation.
All of that should always be preceded by in-depth research, prototypes, and testing. Before the e-commerce website is launched, you should invite people who were not involved in its creation and record and analyze how they use the site. Some tools help you do that, and they don’t require skills in coding or data science. LiveSession is one of them. It can even detect and differentiate between rage clicks from error clicks.
What is also crucial in e-commerce and user experience is facilitating payment. A big part of cart abandonment is caused by payment methods that are difficult to use, don’t support many payment processors or don’t induce trust. Fortunately, some tools help to add professional payment options to the website and provide a seamless checkout experience. PayKickstart supports the most recognized payment processors like PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, Braintree, just to name a few. Customers can pay by credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal or ACH & SEPA transfers. Besides, we offer well-designed checkout templates.
Efficient Contact/Call Center
There are many harmful myths about call centers, and one of the most common ones is that people don’t call anymore because they prefer to use email or social media. Even if the popularity of written forms of communication is on the rise, making a phone call is still the most preferred way of trying to solve an issue. That’s why you should neglect the call center in customer experience. Especially with cloud-based solutions (CloudTalk is a good example), it’s no longer expensive or difficult to set up.
Call center software makes it possible to automatically route a call to an agent with specific skills or knowledge, use international phone numbers, and set a callback to make sure calls are never unanswered. When it’s integrated with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), agents can see updated information about a client they talk to, including preferences, contact and purchase information. It allows for highly personalized and efficient customer support.
It would be best if you kept in mind, however, that a part of your audience is indeed reluctant to call. . Especially younger generations prefer emails, chats and leaving messages on social media. If you want to meet the needs of every customer and reduce churn rate, you need to diversify and bring your sales, marketing, customer support and other parts of customer experience to live chats and social media.
With chatbots, it’s possible to achieve even more. Unlike people, they are available 24/7, can cover every time zone and talk to thousands of people at the same time. However, they’re even more useful than that. If you pick a chatbot provider like Chatbotize, you can set up a chatbot on your website or integrate it with Facebook Messenger and engage the audience with quizzes, surveys, and challenges, automate replying to comments on Facebook, manage ads, and more. Not only millennials will thank you for that.
If you aim for providing stellar customer experience, it has to be available on mobile. 80% of internet users have smartphones, and 40% of all online transactions are made on mobile devices. Focus on mobile is not a trend anymore, not even a novelty, it has already become a necessity. However, a focus on mobile also needs to be holistic and every part of customer experience, including user interface, communication channels, payments, and customer support, has to be mobile-friendly.
It’s important to stress that in customer experience, you need to be agile and change your plan whenever the situation requires it. Even the best strategy will fail if you won’t adjust to the changing environment. And in e-commerce, it changes a lot. New players and functionalities emerge, competitors do their best to be innovative; users follow new trends and solutions. That’s why, if you want to be the first who meets their needs, you need to keep your finger on the pulse, be able to react quickly and optimize whenever necessary. It may sound time-consuming and complicated, but luckily, technology comes to the rescue again, and some tools help. For example, Growcode is a service that provides real human experts, technology and proven process to optimize the website and increase conversion rates.
As you can see, an effective, holistic and user-friendly customer experience is not a piece of cake, but it is within everyone’s reach. Keep your clients’ needs in mind, be available wherever they are and expect you to be, don’t neglect the mobile channel and use digital tools that won’t let you stay behind the competitors, even when they’re e-commerce giants. All of that is a secret sauce that will make your customers happy.