Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. ~ Steve Jobs
If you are a marketer, business owner or other decision maker at your company, “improve customer experience” is something you should be looking to do as part of your overall growth strategy. That’s because customer experience affects customer satisfaction. So does retention. And both impact your return on investment.
In fact, a recent Walker Study indicates that customer experience is fast becoming the most important brand differentiator for companies doing business online. To put that into numbers, by the year 2020, 86 percent of buyers will be more willing to pay for a better customer experience over price competitiveness or product features. With that said, there are a number of ways to continuously provide a great customer experience.
1. Personalization With a Purpose
According to research by Invesp, 59 percent of online shoppers agree that personalization allows them to find more products they are interested in. There is no excuse for your marketing to be generic. Nowadays, there are a number of ways to track customer preferences, behavior, and location. This includes setting up customer relationship management software. If you personalize in a smart way, you not only appear considerate to shoppers, you can also receive valuable insight about them, which in turn allows you to deliver a tailor-made experience.
Examples of good personalization include:
– Communicating in the customer’s native language
– Showing someone recently viewed items and suggestions based on those
– Tailoring interactions to suit someone’s location/time zone
– Sending personal greetings and birthday wishes
2. Provide Valuable Content to Improve Customer Experience
You’ve probably heard the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) in order to grow your online presence and attract more traffic. While this is true, creating content solely for SEO purposes will not get you the results you want over the long term. This is true even if you are ranking highly in search engines. Your website’s pages need to have a good flow of content from the homepage and “about” page to your product/service descriptions, contact page, and blog. Consider this: research shows that 86 percent of visitors to a company’s homepage want to view information about its products or services next.
Not only that, you also need to vary your content mix to include videos and images to increase engagement. You should also ensure appropriate links are placed on each page in a logical manner to lead customers where they want to go, as well as making sure that all information is up to date. Having a non-working link, useless telephone number, or bad email address anywhere on your website can easily frustrate a website visitor and cause them to never want to return.
Another good idea for content is to create an FAQ page, which answers the most relevant questions a customer might have. This will go a long way in providing self-support for those who try to find answers before looking up your contact page. By providing useful and informative content on your website, you will automatically add value to the customer experience.
3. Use Action-Packed Calls to Action (CTA)
Whether you want people to sign up for a newsletter or to buy a product, you need to tell them to do so in a concise but effective manner. The most compelling CTAs go straight to the point and use strong verbs and text to spur people into action. If you have vague CTAs like “submit” or “enter,” consider using more direct words such as “download your free e-book,” “learn more about [insert name of product, etc.],” and “reserve your spot now,” just to name a few choices.
4. Keep Landing Pages Up to Date
Landing pages make it easier for people to focus on what you want them to do, whether it is to download an e-book or to subscribe to your mailing list. Your landing pages should not only describe what is on offer but also stay up to date with your current offerings and specials so there is no confusion when the customer hits that CTA button.
5. Keep Sharing Valuable Content
In addition to keeping your website up to date with useful blog posts and content that helps improve the user experience, you also need to be sharing this content with your mailing list. Putting content on your website doesn’t mean that people will find and read it. However, once you have their email addresses, you can create newsletters and other content to share with them. While there is no guarantee as to how many people will actually open your emails, some will, and are likely to be drawn back to your website.
6. Interact with Customers Through Multiple Channels
People want to reach out to brands through the channels that are most convenient to them, whether it’s via social media, live chat, or telephone calls. Of course, email is a must; one study shows that 91 percent of Americans still check their emails daily. Customers want numerous channels but they also want to be able to connect with you at any time or place, whether on mobile or desktop devices. There is an emphasis on mobile since one comScore study found that mobile devices now account for almost two out of every three minutes spent online.
Speed and convenience are most important to the journey of a customer getting value from an interaction with you as well. A McKinsey study found that 75 percent of online customers expect a response within five minutes.
While it may not be possible (or practical) to meet your customers across all channels, you want to make it easy for people to contact you. At the very least, have a contact page that explains clearly how to get in touch with you. If you have intentions of introducing another channel, you can let people know that as well with a note such as “coming soon” so that they have something to look forward to. Integrate with social media as much as possible because almost everyone in your target audience is using at least one platform.
Running a successful business online is much more than setting up a website and investing in professional web design. More and more, it is dependent on providing an exceptional experience for your customers.
Customer experience is the new advertising department. – Max Kalehoff
To learn more about how to improve customer experience through your website, contact Stacey Mathis Copywriting today.