The nature of the eCommerce industry leads to there being minimal human interaction throughout a customer’s buyer journey. This combined with the variety of tasks that keep you busy day to day can cause eCommerce brands to become detached from the customer. Therefore, it’s important to maintain vigilance and keep the customer as the focus.
Customer Experience is the result of every interaction a customer has with your business, from first discovering your offering, right the way through to the support you provide if any issues arise. Each interaction impacts your customers’ overall perception of your business along with their affinity to your brand. Research has found that customers who have a great experience are more likely to return in the future and tell their peers about you.
Businesses frequently struggle to pinpoint areas where they can affect positive change with regard to customer experience. This is primarily due to the variety of factors that impact each customers opinion of your brand. This piece details the importance of customer experience, what we have found to be the most common causes of poor customer experience and our suggested solutions.
What makes customer experience important?
Giving your customers that positive affinity to your business is crucial for success. Research finds that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Great customer experience leads to happy and loyal customers which, in turn, helps boost your revenue.
Companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in customer experience. That’s a 70% increase in revenue within 36 months
Further to this, the best form of marketing out there is a customer who promotes your business for you. Someone who’s loyal to your company and advocates for your brand and products.If you think back to the last time you had a genuinely great experience as a customer, remember how that experience made you feel about that brand. Perhaps you even told your friends about it.
Hopefully, you now see that customer experience is a crucial component for the success of an eCommerce business. These are just some of the reasons why creating and obsessing over customer experience is so important.
Common issues and how to solve them
As customer experience is affected by a variety of areas within your eCommerce business it can be tough to pinpoint where your efforts are best spent. We have segmented customer experience into Strategy, Infrastructure and Implementation to begin uncovering the source of specific issues and so, look to make adjustments where you deem relevant.
As mentioned the lack of human interaction throughout the customer's journey can leave the customer feeling undervalued. We recommend personalising when possible. This could be as simple as including the customer's name within emails Some brands go as far as tailoring their website experience based on customer data such as their past purchasing habits. However, we understand that not all brands have the resources to achieve this. So simply personalising their checkout procedure or email correspondence is a great place to start. Customers respond well to personalisation, it adds value to their purchasing process and increases the likelihood of repeat purchases.
Investing in hiring and training
You'll likely find that the quality of customer service you provide is dependent on those hired for the job. Not hiring the right employees has been found to be the number one reason for poor customer service. We suggest that you look further than relevant experience,and skills, employees should have the right attitude, mindset, and a natural passion for helping people. Couple this with an ongoing structured training process and you can be confident in your customer support teams capability.
A customers expectation of a product can be the cause of disappointment. A disparity between customer expectations and what your business is offering can often become the cause of poor customer experience. Although the entire customer journey impacts what the customer expects, product descriptions are the primary cause of misaligned expectations. This may be due to a products description not aligning with the product or hidden costs later in the purchasing process.
A calculated communication strategy refers to more than just customer service scripts. It’s the tone and clarity of all communication touchpoints a customer may experience. We recommend taking the time to ensure that your messaging is consistent across channels and processes. This is made easier through the use of a platform that allows for an omnichannel approach. Having a single location where all your communication starts and ends can prevent repetitive and conflicting information from being displayed.
Our blog on website performance shows the importance of not making the customer wait. Customer waiting times are primarily affected by your technology stack but strategy and implementation also play a role. With the correct strategy in place, customers won’t have to wait for their products to be restocked and with effective implementation, customer service can be quick and painless for the customer.
Unfortunately having poor support systems that are unorganised is all too common. Brands that are yet to invest in support systems are likely to manage their customer service enquiries on each channel. This increases the time commitment for managing support tickets and adds to the risk of mistakes and non-resolved enquiries.
We can all relate to the painfulness of describing an issue to multiple people to come to a solution. You find yourself being bounced from employee to employee having to repeat your issue each time. This is preventable through the use of support software that helps each employee view the status of a customer’s queries and progress from that point.
Support systems are often late to be invested in by companies, primarily due to the investment required to implement. Putting off investing in customer support can cause more harm than good. Once you have a system in place you’ll enjoy having an organised support system and you’ll benefit from it in a variety of areas.
Automation can be very beneficial, however, certain situations require a personal touch that may just be the key to your companies success. We recommend automating systems and processes where possible keeping in mind that a personal touch can go a long way for eCommerce brands.
If an employee lacks the autonomy to make decisions, frustrations will likely mount for both the customer and the employee. Generally speaking, employees want to make a difference and be able to act autonomously. If you don’t feel confident enough in your employee’s ability you may need to invest more time in structured training.
A closing note
Improving customer experience should be treated as an ongoing process. If you keep your customers at the forefront of your decision-making process and continuously make efforts to improve your customers experience you will be on the path to eCommerce success.