A 2018 study by PWC revealed that 32% of customers would leave a brand (even one they LOVED) after only one bad experience. So, if you want to plug the leak that’s costing you time, effort and money, the very first step is to improve your online customer experience.
The five strategies outlined below give you simple ways to improve your customer experience online. But there’s another technique that has an even more dramatic effect. At the end of this article is a dynamite strategy that will help you to transform your online customer experience forever…
5 Ways To Improve Your Customer Experience Online
- Customer Experience (CX) Design
- Give Your Customers Something of Value
- Make Your Content Scannable
- Build Emotional Connections With Your Customers
- Gather Real-Time Customer Feedback
When customers think about your business, they picture your homepage. Whilst it is unlikely to be the most valuable page in your conversion funnel (this is probably a product page or a landing page) your homepage is key to how you brand yourself. Because of this, it is central to how you attract customers.
With this in mind, it’s amazing how many designers ignore the customer when creating their website. The most user-unfriendly design features are also some of the most common. Here are a few serial-offenders:
- Absence of colour
- Excess of colour
- Inappropriate domain names
- Pop-ups and ads in the wrong places
- Small, unreadable print
- A busy layout with no organisation
It’s quite easy to identify a modern design with a cohesive colour scheme, but there’s more to improving your online customer experience. You have to make your website work.
How To Reduce Loading Speed CX Problems
One of the first things to consider is your load speed. Keep image files compressed and include large media files in an I-frame. If you’re not sure that your template or page design is loading fast enough, try running a performance test with Google’s free tool.
How To Optimise Your Site For Intent
You also need to think about how your site is actually going to be used. Most customers do the same things when they load your site, so it’s these tasks you need to focus on. Write down five key tasks that a customer should be able to achieve with their eyes closed, then tally the number of clicks required to complete each one. That list will tell you pretty quickly whether your site is optimised for usability.
Spam has given email a bad reputation. That’s a shame, because it’s actually one of the best ways to improve the online customer experience.
The reason email is such an effective CX tool? Customer experiences are built on a relationship. Emails allow you to exchange information with your customers and get to know exactly what they want.
A great way to make sure you’re on the same page is to establish a regular newsletter and publish content that you think is relevant to them. Not only does this build trust, it allows you to chart their interests by checking which content they engage with. Segmenting your list on the basis of open rates allows you to develop highly accurate customer profiles and create more specific offerings.
A recent eye-tracking study by Nielsen Norman Group revealed something remarkable…
Only 16% of users read the whole of an online article.
Another 79% of users scan content, and the rest do not engage with it at all. So, if you want to improve the way customers experience your website, you need to make your content available to the 4/5 of people who won’t read it.
There are some simple ways to make your content scannable:
- Structure your content with a visual hierarchy
- Create simple lists
- Use bullet points
- Divide your text with H1, H2 and H3 headers
- Write shorter paragraphs and sentences
Make sure your content is easy to read. Do not use obscure language and keep jargon to a minimum. By adopting a more accessible writing style, and including plenty of links to credible sources, you will earn your customers’ trust far quicker.
Your customers are humans, and humans are motivated by emotions. The quickest way to earn your customers’ loyalty is to build an emotional connection between them and your brand.
Below are some practical ways to improve your online customer experience by building an emotional connection with your users…
Give Your Business A Human Face
Studies have shown that pictures with human faces draw the human eye instinctively, regardless of the background. With this in mind, your “About Us” page should definitely include photos of your team. You may also highlight photos of individuals interacting with your brand to help your customers relate to your products.
Tell Your Brand Story Visually
Your website offers an excellent opportunity to tell a story about your offerings, making new and returning customers fall in love with your brand. For example, you could post inspiring (or moving/strange/silly) stories that involve your products or your other customers.
Build A Reward System
Gamification for customer support is a great way to increase engagement. Why not turn product exploration into an interactive game or add a recommendation quiz? They both make product search more enjoyable and convenient.
Capturing feedback in real-time is crucial for your customer experience strategy. It lets you know if you’re delivering the right kind of experiences and, if not, when and where the problems are occurring.
There are a number of easy ways to gather customer feedback from your website:
- Live chat platforms for real-time conversations
- On-page notifications with interactive buttons or links to a survey
- Follow-up emails with post-interaction surveys
- Customer experience management software
Understanding your customers is key, and feedback can help you to improve the online experience.
Customer Experience Management Software has changed a lot in the last few years. Most platforms now come with tools for collaboration, reporting, ticketing, and customer management.
These tools promise more customer engagement, higher customer satisfaction and reduced churn. However, with the cheapest plans often starting at around $100 a month, this kind of software is a huge investment. So, is it worth it?
The answer to that depends on your business and the average lifetime value of your customers. However, here are a number of statistics that highlight the importance of customer retention:
- 72% of people who have a bad customer experience will tell 6 or more people
- 67% of churn is due to customer experience NOT price
- 70% of customers’ buying decisions are based on how they feel they are being treated
PWC recently conducted a new survey into the factors that affect online customer experiences. The survey considered automation, artificial intelligence and design strategies to identify which is the most important issue for customers. The result was surprising…
34% of people believe access to a HUMAN sales associate would significantly improve the shopping experience online.
In fact, businesses in every sector are finding that the quickest and cheapest way to see real improvements in their customer experience is to invest in their employees. Why? Because employees are the first and most important brand ambassadors.
So, if you want to reduce churn and improve the online experience, your best strategy is to invest both time and emotional energy in your customers.