Graham Van Der Linde is Head of Brand and Creative at Eclipse UK
For years we’ve been told that picking the right platform to build our website on was the number one thing to think about. Whilst still important as part of the bigger picture, the not so latest news is that ultimately the customer isn’t concerned about what you’ve built it on, what they care about is the experience.
Don’t get me wrong, depending on what you’ve got going on in the back end and how your other systems talk to each other, the platform choice can have a big impact, but going for the longest-standing, cheapest or quickest to deploy is not going to give you an edge with the customer.
If the experience is broken or does not meet the needs of the shoppers coming in, you’re unlikely to sell anything.
Things Have Changed
It is an unavoidable truth that the pandemic changed the world. Anyone who is involved in the buying and selling of stuff can attest to that. We were all forced online, increasing demand on ecommerce, but more than that it exposed more people to more experiences across different sellers.
Those little things that people were happy to deal with when shopping online occasionally became unacceptable when they had no other engagement choice. They looked elsewhere, found better experiences, and left the annoyance in the dust.
Suddenly things like accessibility moved from ‘best practice’ into an absolute must. For a lot of businesses, they had to come to terms with the fact that just because it looks great, doesn’t mean it is usable. And if it seems unusable, good luck getting people to trust you.
Putting the Customer First
If you’re going to grow in the ecommerce space, you need to take customer experience seriously. We don’t mean customer service, that is part of the overall experience and is important but in most cases happens post-purchase.
The key to creating an awesome customer experience, which is something we should all be trying to do, is to make sure all the different points where a customer interacts with your brand are linked up, easy to use and offer the same level of attentiveness and care. Making things seamless and convenient will pay for itself countless times over and develop trust with your customers.
Offering the ability for customers to jump between channels like your social media to your website to live chat, as part of an omnichannel customer experience is vital.
Customer Experience Pillars
There are some core things that you can do that will help you improve and deliver a customer experience you can be proud of. And if you need a little help making them happen, our Experience team can design and deliver exceptional customer experiences for your customers, driving business growth in the process.
● Develop a relationship mindset, not just a transactional one
You want to be creating relationships with your customers and not look at things as a series of separate interactions that just happen to take place.
This means keeping track of what they’re doing with you, bringing everything into a single place and when linked with customer purchasing and browsing history you can create a solid profile of who your customers are and the types of experiences that resonate with them.
● Follow the data and the money will follow
And following on nicely from that is another great tip. Customer experience is strategic, not tactical, you need to know where the value is coming from, and where you’re throwing good money after bad.
If you know what makes your existing customers both tick and run away, you can optimize to do more of what they like and less of what they hate without the need to just rely on instinct. Invest in good data with things like user testing and A/B testing.
● Close the loop between customer service and customer experience and learn from it
Customer service shouldn’t be a dead-end or an island unto itself. Develop feedback loops between customer service and other key departments. Every single customer service interaction is an opportunity to learn and improve and do better.
If you’re just sticking the information somewhere and patting yourself on the back for a job well done, you’re literally hiding gold. Don’t do that. Share it around and find ways to make sure it does or doesn’t happen again.
The Technical Aspect of Customer Experience
So, let’s assume you’ve got the experience down and it’s on the right platform, job done right? Not so much.
Have you thought about things like security and hosting? Having an awesome experience that falls foul to a security breach or is taken offline because you have a sudden burst of visitors, and the site can’t scale with it takes all the good work you’ve done and sets it on fire.
People are fickle and once burnt, they’ll be twice shy. History is littered with examples of businesses that have lost the ability to sell during Black Friday or have been subjected to huge amounts of data being stolen. This erodes the trust you’ve built up and trying to get that back is hard work. Outside of that, it is an expensive mistake to fix, and your marketing department won’t thank you for giving them that task.
Protect yourself and make sure these types of things can’t happen. Building trust takes a lot of time, losing it takes seconds and core to offering an exceptional customer experience is having the customer trust you.
We work with Webscale to do just this. We ensure that our customers have secure, scalable, high-performing infrastructure so that the rest of your customer experience efforts are always delivered flawlessly.