The online customer experience (CX) is the next frontier of good business practice — and one that many brands have failed to fully consider until now. There is fierce competition both online and offline for consumer dollars, so anything you can do to enhance your relationship with your client base will benefit your brand in the long run.
In a survey of marketing leaders, researchers discovered that 80% of organizations plan to compete on the basis of the customer experience. Companies now realize the value of the customer perception and whether the person walks away feeling as though you care about them as an individual and made an effort to make sure they had a positive purchasing experience. Figuring out the ins and outs of ensuring your customer experience rises above your competitors isn’t an easy task, however. There are so many moving parts when it comes to interacting with buyers.
One important key to creating a positive encounter is having the right customer management leaders in place. You need someone with a history of previous work handling people and leaving a good impression of the company. Outside of that, here are nine specific things you can do to create a good customer experience on the web.
1. Create Consistency
One of the first things you should do as a brand is to create a consistent image. If a customer contacts you via phone, your attitude and answers should be the same as if they contacted you via your website. Few things are more frustrating for a person than getting one answer online and then phoning to find that the rep has no idea what they’re talking about. Conducting your business this way will make you seem shady to many people, so make sure all your customer service reps are trained the same way, no matter what medium they interact with users on.
2. Utilize AI Technology
You can’t be everyone all the time, so don’t be afraid of tapping into some of the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology to enhance your buyers’ experience. You might utilize a chatbot, for example, and program it with some of your most commonly asked questions and answers. Anything outside the realm of the machine’s knowledge will transfer immediately to a live agent so that solutions are customized to the customer. One study found that AI technology drives as much as 37% of online revenue.
3. Find a Clear Purpose
Good user experience (UX) is part of the bigger CX of your website. Take a step back and figure out the purpose of your site. What is the one singular goal when someone lands on your page? Do you want them to sign up for a newsletter or perhaps make a purchase? Once you understand this purpose, you can cut out all the clutter that doesn’t point the user toward your business’ online goals. What’s more, customers will no longer have to guess what they’re supposed to do.
4. Provide a Call to Action (CTA)
One way you can create a clear, purpose-driven message is by using strong CTAs. Urge the user toward some action, and grab their attention with a compelling CTA button. Use a color that contrasts with the rest of the page to draw attention. Think through the language you use in your CTA, and gear it to the target audience. If your typical customer is a millennial, for instance, they may be more likely to respond to certain words or colors than others.
5. Be Authentic
The general public has grown used to companies dangling a carrot and then snatching it away. The bait and switch tactics of some underhanded brands give everyone a bad name and make customers much less likely to trust you. Be as open and honest as you can about your policies, including returns, so that there are no surprises for your customers. Once people feel they can trust you, they’re much more likely to do business with you again. Be ready to live up to your word. If you promise 100% money back no questions asked, then make returns super easy without any invasive questions.
6. Get to Know Your Customers
You might create a customer experience strategy based on who your customers are, but then the makeup of your audience changes over time or you gain new specifics that you didn’t have when you were originally creating the strategy. Every six months or so, take a look at your customer database again. Who are your top and repeat customers? Spend time polling them and asking upfront about what you can do to make their experience with your brand a better one.
7. Pay Attention to Complaints
For every customer who complains, you can be sure there are others who aren’t happy for the same reason but didn’t complain directly to you. Pay careful attention to any complaints, and work hard to resolve them until the customer is satisfied. Once you’ve come up with a solution, take a step back and figure out how you can keep the problem from occurring in the first place. At a minimum, make sure you have an instant solution should the issue arise again.
8. Make an Emotional Connection
One Harvard Business School professor states that 95% of purchasing decisions happen on a subconscious level and are tied into our emotions. When you make an emotional connection with your customers, you’re forced to see the world through their eyes. This process allows you to think about their overall experience and how they will personally react to happenings. Work hard at making an emotional connection by learning what they care most about and embracing those causes. Figure out the pain points that your customers deal with on a daily basis, and solve those problems for them to create an amazing and memorable customer experience.
9. Gather Employee Feedback
Your first thought about creating a great customer service experience might not be to look at employees and their thoughts, but your workers are often customers as well. Even if they don’t buy from your brand, they likely work with your customers, taking complaints and solving issues. As a result, they can offer valid insight. Create a panel of employees to work on bettering the CX for your brand.
Creating a great customer experience isn’t something you look at once or twice before moving on. Instead, you should constantly seek ways of improving your website and your customer service. Study the different phases of interaction with your buyers. They should have a positive view of you from the minute they land on your page, during any questions they might ask your support agents and even after they’ve made the purchase and received delivery. Customer experience can almost always be improved, so never stop working on bettering yours.
Chapter 1: The Top Front End Technologies for UX Designers
Chapter 2: What is the Difference Between UX and UI?
Chapter 3: The Laws of UX
Chapter 4: Why Mobile UX Matters
Chapter 5: What Is the UX Process?
Chapter 6: Why User Experience Design Is Essential to Everything
Chapter 7: What Is Lean UX?
Chapter 8: The Top UX Design Principles
Chapter 9: The Best UX Tools and Techniques
Chapter 10: How to Become a UX Designer
Chapter 11: Top Mobile UX Design Principles to Remember
Chapter 12: Dark Patterns: The Trickery Behind These Poor UI Tactics
Chapter 13: What Does Good Customer Experience Look Like?
Chapter 14: The Different Types of User Interface
Chapter 15: The Top UX Design Courses
Chapter 16: Skills Needed to Become a Great UI Developer
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.