If you’re a part of the eCommerce industry, you already know that nowadays, having a killer product isn’t enough to survive—let alone prosper. Of course, the goods you offer have a significant impact on the eventual success of your operation. However, you can’t, and you shouldn’t rely on product quality alone to draw, engage, and retain your respected customers.
As a matter of fact, product quality is no longer the most critical reason customers will do business with a particular brand. In this day and age, when everything is within our reach with a single click of the mouse button, it’s way more important to deliver a valuable customer experience to your eCommerce clients.
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So, to increase sales and successfully distinguish from market opponents, more and more eCommerce businesses are working tirelessly to build a dedicated customer experience team within their companies. They know that holding the best goods available just doesn’t cut it anymore. Innovative eCommerce entrepreneurs know that with each new day, thousands of new stores are being introduced to the world, new goods go viral, and it becomes more challenging to grasp the attention and loyalty of their online customers.
For the reasons mentioned above, to endure the next decade in eCommerce, you need to focus on delighting your customers, exceeding their expectations, solving their problems, and remaining a proactive listener. The time has come when you’ll need to understand your clients better than you’ve ever understood them earlier, and that’s a fact. To achieve this, you’ll need to improve your overall customer experience and the ways your company, brand, employees, product, and store interact with the people who are interested in dealing with your business.
The first part of this blog post will help you realize why customer experience matters so much to you and your organization. Afterward, we’ll take a look at how you can build a dedicated customer experience team that will serve your business for many years to come. Finally, we’ll go through three customer experience strategies that you and your team will need to incorporate to strengthen your customer’s lifetime value and exceed customers’ expectations.
Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know to create a fantastic eCommerce customer experience in 2021 and beyond.
With recent developments in technology empowering consumers as never before, the digital revolution broadens consumer choice and provides users access to information anytime, anywhere. Nowadays, consumers can easily make educated decisions between organizations, companies, brands, as all necessary information is free and literally at their fingertips.
Consequently, customers now have higher expectations of all businesses, especially digital ones such as eCommerce websites. These days, it’s more complicated than at any other point in history to convince consumers of the value your product or service brings to the table while contesting with more established companies and brands. At the same time, online customers are now those who run the show regarding the businesses they choose to cooperate with.
Nevertheless, there are two main reasons why customer experience is so important in the eCommerce industry: customer retention and brand perception. Even though there are numerous other good reasons why you should pay close attention to your customer’s experience, these will impact your business directly and are worth focusing on.
Just as being online gives you access to a whole world of prospective customers, that same power is extended to people who use your product or service. The internet gave birth to countless review sites where customers can leave honest reviews and comments to encourage, or discourage, others from purchasing a product from your eCommerce store.
That is precisely why customers’ online experience needs to be put on a pedestal—a satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all. Once you provide a top-quality experience to your customers, it shows a commitment to them and starts building trust. Consequently, positive perceptions mean positive reviews, comments, and testimonials for others to see.
According to research by Inc., 91% of people read some form of an online review before purchasing a product, and 84% of people trust an online review as much as a friend or family member’s recommendation. Just think about it, how do you feel about a product that has just three stars versus one with four and a half stars? These comparatively small differences in reviews add up and impact brand perception like nothing else.
Taking all the necessary steps to attract new customers makes sense, especially early on when the business needs a solid customer base to grow further. However, as the company matures, your best chance of growth is to keep your existing customers. As a matter of fact, a report has shown that businesses that increased expenditure on retention over acquisition had a roughly 200% higher likelihood of increasing their market share the following year.
Emphasizing your retention efforts is brilliant because, on average, it costs businesses five times more to gain a new client than to keep an existing one. Besides, existing clients contribute more to your bottom line because current customers are 10-14 times more likely to buy additional products and services when compared to new customers. To further the point, as of 2020, customer experience has overtaken price as the key differentiator of working with a vendor.
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With brick-and-mortar shops, there’s ample interaction with customers, so customer service is naturally fluid. Nevertheless, with eCommerce shops, the lack of physical interaction lifts the bar of customer service experience needed to dominate.
To make things easier on you and your dedicated customer experience team, here are five customer experience strategies you should implement right away and elevate your customer service efforts to another level.
Personalize Customer Interactions
A Forrester and Bloomreach recent study has revealed that only 14% of shoppers and 22% of B2B clients say that their most recent online experience was entirely personalized to them. And as the ongoing pandemic has triggered a fascinating cultural reset, new habits have formed when it comes to consumer positions toward shopping. Nowadays, customers are seeking out a personalized experience more than ever.
Photo from UX Studio
It goes without saying that creating personalized experiences is easier said than done. And while personalization is an increasingly hot topic, in reality, most companies are still in their early stages of understanding how to make the most out of this customer service strategy.
If you have the budget, artificial intelligence technology can enable your business to embed personalization and targeting in your digital offerings to help drive a tailored and relevant experience for each of your customers. For instance, products can be exhibited based on customer-driven performance data and your top business priorities. Machine learning capabilities also mean that eCommerce businesses can respond promptly to eventual changes in customer behavior and external factors like weather or season.
Invest In Self-Service Options
As modern-day customers are becoming more and more tech-savvy, customers now want to solve particular issues themselves. In fact, a recent survey showcased that over 60% of U.S. customers prefer self-service over speaking to a customer service representative.
Self-service options include FAQs, on-site knowledge bases, and even virtual assistants. Customers, especially younger-generation customers, prefer these options to help themselves out instead of waiting for a dedicated customer support agent to respond. Having self-service options on your eCommerce website can help empower your customers to find the answer they’re looking for in a matter of minutes; this way, encountering a positive customer experience, all while reducing the number of calls to your team of agents. It’s a win-win for everybody.
Be Where Your Clients Are
In the era of the internet, digital devices, and social media platforms, it’s pretty understandable that customers currently expect a smooth and streamlined omnichannel experience from their favorite digital businesses.
For that reason, instead of focusing on driving traffic directly to your eCommerce website or selling channel, embrace an omnichannel experience and bring your products to wherever your audience is. Whether they’re on Instagram, Twitter, or looking to take advantage of their Amazon Prime membership—make sure that your brand is present and visible wherever your customers spend their time.
eCommerce companies that provide purchasing options across websites, social media platforms, third-party marketplaces, and brick-and-mortar retail shops often offer the best customer experience of all. With social commerce being the fastest increasing driver of online sales, make sure that this is an area your customer experience team will focus on.
Optimize Your Website For Mobile Devices
Nearly three out of every four dollars paid on online acquisitions today is done through a mobile device. Moreover, in 2021, roughly half of all US online sales will take place on a mobile device.
With that in mind and following the trend where more and more shoppers move to mobile, eCommerce businesses need to ensure their website, listings, photos, descriptions, and everything else is optimized for mobile devices or that they actually have a mobile app.
Regularly Measure Customer Satisfaction
Above, we’ve covered four ways to help improve your eCommerce customer experience. The strategies mentioned above can be helpful in almost any industry. However, each company has different needs, and the audience base varies regarding the most important things to them.
The last thing you need to do is to regularly ensure that you’re receiving feedback from your customers. What metrics you’re trying to measure will be the most crucial thing in deciding what tool to use. Nevertheless, in recent years, the Net Promoter Score survey, or NPS, has emerged as one of the top ways to measure online customer satisfaction for both B2B and B2C companies, so we suggest you start implementing this tool on your website to gain insight about what customers think about your eCommerce venture.
As customer experience matters now more than ever, you can’t allow being passive about it because the second you do, you risk squandering existing and future clients to your rivals.
And here’s the most crucial aspect about having positive customer experiences follow your business journey—you can’t do it on your own. To get any ROI from creating and executing customer experience tactics for your eCommerce business, first, you need to find and hire personalities who are just as enthusiastic about customer emotions and interactions as you are. In the next section of this blog post, we’ll go through the process of assembling a highly dedicated customer experience team.
To successfully serve and help your clients, strengthen trust, establish a good rep for your brand, and influence consumers to purchase your commodities, you have to put together a first-rate customer experience team.
Photo from Forbes
Nevertheless, in case you don’t have the budget to build such a team from the ground up, there isn’t enough space in your offices for a whole new department to fit in, or you don’t have the slightest idea where to start, there’s still a viable solution available. You can always outsource a world-class customer service team to handle your customer experiences and boost your consumers’ overall customer lifetime value.
Bottom line, it doesn’t matter whether you decide to build a dedicated customer experience team within your company or opt to outsource one. Your crew should consist of inter-departmental experts with a wide range of skill sets. Below, we’ll talk about what an exemplary customer experience department should look like.
Head Of Customer Experience
The head of customer experience is the person who’s directly in charge of developing strategies, recognizing market opportunities, and managing all initiatives and projects that refer to customer experience.
The ideal candidate for this position should be organized, creative, confident, comfortable handling employees and deadlines, passionate about customer relationship management, and prepared to test and fail over and over again.
Customer Success Representative
The customer success representative is accountable for providing answers to all inquiries that come in from customers via email. Also, this person should consistently follow up with clients to ensure they got their purchased goods and are content with their quality and the quality of your service. They should work closely together with the social media manager to reply to comments and inquiries that come through social media channels. The customer success representative could also promote ‘net promoter score’ surveys to ascertain customer satisfaction.
The perfect candidate for this spot at your dedicated customer experience team should be a fantastic communicator with exceptional writing skills. They should be empathetic, patient, and passionate about communicating with all kinds of consumers.
Social Media Manager
This individual is in complete charge of the monitoring of all social media profiles and accounts of the company. Additionally, the social media manager should also be active in locating conversations on platforms about your eCommerce company or products, even when they aren’t taking place on your pages and profiles. The social media manager should work closely with the customer success representative to deal with all questions and comments you receive on social media.
Photo from Business 2 Community
The ideal social media manager should be organized, empathetic, patient, and possess strong communication skills.
Customer Advocacy Artist
This is the person responsible for packaging, accomplishment, and sending out written thank-you postcards to new and existing customers. In other words, your customer advocacy artist is your customer happiness expert.
The person who will fill this position should be artistic, creative, and enthusiastic about trying out new approaches to showcase to clients how much your company appreciates them.
Content Marketing Expert
Keep in mind that your job as a business is to deliver unmatched value to your clients, besides offering them exceptional products. To distinguish yourself from competition, you have to leverage your eCommerce site as a resource. Needless to say, this is where your content marketing expert enters the scene.
The content marketing expert is the one responsible for creating educational, helpful, rich content for your consumers. Besides, this person can also help create and launch email campaigns for consumers and is in charge of forming the official voice, tone, and style that the rest of your customer experience team practices when communicating and engaging with clients.
The ideal candidate for this position should be an organized person, a strong writer and communicator, skilled in content creation, strategy, and promotion.
The designer ensures that all initiatives and projects related to customer experience go hand in hand with brand standards and guidelines. The designer also works jointly with most customer experience team members to develop original graphics to be utilized when reaching out or engaging with customers.
The ideal designer for your team should be artistic, creative and manage many projects and deadlines at the same time.
The front-end developer is exclusively responsible for making sure clients have a positive experience when they land on your site, interact with any of your product pages, or go through the process of buying a product from your eCommerce store. This person should work together with the content marketing expert and designer to create compelling, helpful content for consumers.
The person who will fill this role should have the development skills and experience needed to make quick changes and adjustments to your website.
Technical Product Specialist
If you work with products that demand a lot of technical knowledge or assistance, you should ensure that in your customer experience team you employ a product specialist who will be 24/7 available to communicate with buyers when they need advice regarding the product.
The technical product specialist should be a skilled communicator, a decent writer, and should know the products you sell inside and out.
Last but not least, the data analyst is held accountable for gathering, interpreting, and displaying data that associates with your clients. As a modern-day eCommerce business, you should continually leverage data to discover more about your consumers or when you’re trying to verify new ideas.
The model data analyst for your dedicated customer experience team should have a firm background in business intelligence and analytics.
As you can tell from this listing, your customer experience department should comprise, more or less, employees that probably already work for your company to some extent. The ultimate intent is to bring in specialists from a wide array of different fields who can utilize their specific talents and knowledge toward catering better service and experiences to your respected customers.
Well, there you have it. We went through all that matters regarding customer experience. In fact, we explained why customer experience matters so much to your eCommerce business in 2021.
After that, we pointed out the importance of having a dedicated customer experience team to handle your clients’ experiences and expectations and how to build one from scratch.
Moreover, we covered three essential customer experience strategies, which if you decide on implementing together with your team of experts, you can expect to see immediate results.
Start building your customer experience team, satisfactorily address your customers’ needs, create a positive customer experience scheme, improve your customer loyalty, and future-proof your eCommerce business for success!