From the first click on your website to the delivery of the product, business owners own the customer experience. Customer experience isn’t solely limited to when customers interact with your team; it encompasses the entire experience a customer has when interacting with your business.
With more businesses being launched online, how does one manage the customer experience without a traditional brick-and-mortar store?
If customers aren’t walking into your brick-and-mortar store, then their first visit will be to your website. It’s critical to have a website designed exactly how you would design a physical store – clean, easy to navigate, and organized. Online stores that are messy and hard to get around in will find their customers leaving their digital carts mid-shopping.
Have all important information easy to find on the homepage, such as any discounts and promotions, shipping costs, or new products in addition to their own appropriate pages (such as a “Coupons” page that includes all discounts and promotions). The last thing you want is for customers to have to spend time searching for important information instead of shopping and completing their purchase on your site.
Searchability is crucial, too. Customers should easily be able to search and navigate through your menus and search function to find what they’re looking for. Spend the time and money to build a robust search function and ensure that your menu items are in order and properly connected to one another.
For additional ways to improve the user experience online, check out this Salesforce blog post.
Social Media Networks and Review Sites
Wherever your customers are, you should be, too. Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with customers on their preferred social media networks and review sites. Your business will be talked about, so ensure you are there for the conversation.
That doesn’t mean set up profiles for your business on every single social media network and review site. Determine where your target audience spends most of their time and develop a robust profile that is consistently managed. For example, if your target audience doesn’t use Snapchat, then it doesn’t make sense for you to spend time there. However, if they are huge Instagram users, posting consistently to your business profile on Instagram and paying for advertising on the network may be advantageous.
Amid airline debacle after airline debacle, Southwest Airlines continues to maintain their positive track record. With over 5.3 million Facebook fans and ranking #1 in Airlines in the 2016 Temkin Experience Ratings, Southwest continues to provide a quality customer experience for their passengers. They are also extremely responsive across their social media profiles, responding with custom messages to address both positive and negative situations promptly and cheerfully.
For those companies who sell products digitally, the question of how orders are fulfilled needs to be answered before launching. If you’re selling custom-made products, it’s possible for you to handle fulfillment yourself. However, companies who are processing hundreds of orders per day will need additional help. Companies like Whiplash provide a quick and easy way to fulfill orders, and many of them connect directly to website shopping carts like Shopify.
Have fun with your fulfillment strategy! The subscription service has been exploding in popularity over the last several years, with 2,000 subscription box services in operation as of March 2016. As a result, there has been a huge growth in the popularity of ‘unboxing’, watching YouTube influencers unbox their treasures to their millions of subscribers. As of 2015, there was over 6.5 years’ worth of unboxing videos available on YouTube!
Customer service is a large part of the overall customer experience, especially in the case of product questions, returns, and complaints. Customers will want to have a way to directly contact your company, whether it be through social media, email, or phone. Ensure your contact information is correct throughout your website and social media profiles, Google results, and that you are correctly receiving notifications when customers email or message you through social media.
Additionally, have plans in place for how to handle both positive and negative situations. If customers are leaving glowing reviews, it’s easy to give thanks and positive feedback in return. If customers are complaining, be prepared to handle each situation delicately and tactfully. The horror stories of companies throwing customer service out the window are frequently making headlines – don’t be another company joining those ranks.
Consistency across all aspects of your business is crucial, especially throughout the customer experience. If the look and feel of your business is different on social media than it is from your website, if the packaging does not reflect the experience online, or if the customer service is lacking, customers are going to struggle returning to your business. Own the customer experience, and you’ll build a loyal following to your business to sustain you throughout the future.