So you’ve set up your killer marketing campaign, your messaging is on point, you know your audience, you’ve built it, and here they are. Well, partner, the marketing may bring the metaphorical horses to water, but customer experience is what makes them drink. Once someone has committed to buying from you, an excellent customer experience is what turns them into brand evangelists and repeat purchasers. 86% of buyers have indicated they would be willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
A poor customer experience, on the other hand, can be a roadblock to customers even making purchases in the first place. A truly awful customer experience can result in bad reviews and damage to your brand’s reputation.
Sounds scary, right? No need to fear. By keeping track of a few key metrics from pre-to post-purchase, your customers will stay happy and roadblock-free.
There’s nothing more annoying than trying to order something on a website that is poorly designed, slow to load, or just straight-up broken. Since your site is built for humans and robots, collecting a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data is the way to go. Remember, an ugly site that loads quickly and works well is just as problematic as a beautiful site that's a nightmare to navigate.
Consider getting real human feedback from tools like UserTesting that give you access to anonymous site testers, or just asking someone to use your site and give you feedback while you take notes. It seems simple, but you’ll be surprised at the feedback you get. For data around your site load time and performance, turn to a site auditing tool (our favorite is Lighthouse, made by the good people at Google).
Having good product pages is essential. Not only do better product pages mean better SEO for your products themselves, but they help answer customer questions (which reduces strain on your customer service team) and establishes your brand. Do an audit of your pages and compare them to common customer questions to see where you may be missing the mark. Make sure all of the relevant details are on the page, and that the page is laid out in a way that makes it easy to find all of this information.
Audit your checkout process
If you look at your exit pages and notice people are bouncing right before they make a transaction, there could be a few reasons. One might be a lack of convenient payment options, or a completely faulty payment gateway. Another could be a lack of security on your site, making customers nervous and unwilling to spend their money with you. This is not something to set and forget—test your payment process often, solicit customer feedback, and keep this as optimized as possible. TL;DR - make it easy for people to give you their money.
Consider your packaging
Packaging can be tricky. While keeping expenses low is a priority for ecommerce businesses, studies have shown that 40% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases from brands with premium packaging. And with the popularity of “unboxing” videos on Youtube, it’s clear that people LOVE opening things. A good unboxing experience has the potential to grow your brand loyalty and bring people back for more.
The degree to which you decide to add personality or luxurious touches to your packaging will probably come down to which industry you’re selling in—things like cosmetics, skincare, and other luxury goods are an obvious fit. Even if you don’t immediately think your brand fits into this category, consider adding a thank you note, sticker, or other bonus goodies to your packaging.
Shipping notifications and delivery updates
Having automated order confirmation, shipping, and delivery updates is a basic necessity to establish customer trust. They’re also opportunities to build your brand even further, as well as cultivate that all-important customer loyalty to turn first-time purchasers into repeat loyalists.
Returns and Refunds
It’s really important to offer returns and refunds within a reasonable timeframe. With the advent of online shopping, customers are making most of their purchases without a chance to see or touch the thing they’re buying. Make sure your return/refund/exchange policy is laid out clearly, and make sure it’s easily found on your site.
How do you know if your customer experience sucks?
Monitor socials for bad reviews
Hopefully, you’re already monitoring your social media in some form or another (ideally, you’re managing your brand’s online reputation and engaging with both satisfied and dissatisfied customers). Social media and other review platforms are great places to find specific action items you can improve upon within your customer experience. Regardless of your level of social media marketing game, showing you’re listening and taking customer feedback seriously goes a long way in helping repair a broken customer relationship.
Ask for customer feedback
Along with these research methods, another great way to figure out the sticking points in your customer experience is to just….ask. It’s that simple. You don’t want to just do this at the end, either. Having a targeted, automated customer feedback strategy can be hugely beneficial to your overall customer experience, providing you additional details to help you optimize.
As you build your strategy, consider monitoring net promoter score (NPS) or customer effort score. NPS measures how likely a customer is to recommend you to other customers, whereas customer effort score measures how much work a customer had to do in an interaction with your brand, whether making a purchase or solving an issue. Both of these metrics will give you plenty of insight into how you can improve your overall customer experience.
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