Do you want to create a positive online customer experience (CX)? Follow through this post with rapt attention.
Customers are the people that sustain a company’s existence. An endless number of customers will ensure the longevity of your business.
Hence,it is crucial to ensure that you create a positive online CX whether your company is online or offline-based, but with a substantial online presence.
Nonetheless,customers would reach out for interactions, transactions, questions, inquiries,suggestions, etc. and their experience will indicate whether they will continue to engage with your company or not.
Of course, you wouldn’t want your customers to have a negative customer experience; hence, we will highlight effective techniques you can apply tocreate a positive online customer experience.
But,before we proceed, let’s show the basics of online CX, how it works, and areas for interacting with your customers.
Understanding Online CX
Online customer experience is the next significant term in the digital marketing industry as every goal-driven company is focusing on it. The world is more digital now, and people prefer making transactions online rather than offline due to the convenience and swiftness involved.
To understand online CX and offer your customers the best service, you need to know how customers interact with your company on the internet.
Here are six major areas customers can interact with your company:
The first area to note is reachability. Your customers need to reach you online through one channel or the other. This can be through your website, social media platforms, mobile app, and others. You have to decide on which medium is the best for your customers to reach you, and to do this, there are factors to consider.
First of all, you need to figure out which platform(s) your customers or target audiences are most active on. Next, you should figure out the features available– how the platform works – as this will determine the methods by which your customers will contact you.
2. Service convenience
Service convenience implies how your customers access your services. Nowadays, most customers prefer self-serving; they want to get answers to their questions and inquiries by themselves from available resources. This is one reason why businesses put up FAQ and knowledge base pages on their websites. It is a convenient medium as customers can visit these pages to get help anytime, without any need to contact the customer service team directly.
In terms of direct contact with customer service, service convenience has to do with when the service is available. Customers will always prefer a 24/7 service that is also available on weekends. Not all companies can provide this, but if you can, then you should.
3. Purchase convenience
This area has to do with companies that run online stores or offer paid online services;nonetheless, any business that requires making payment online. No one jokes with money, and the majority of customers would stay off a payment cycle that comes with hassles. The faster customers can make payments on your platform,the better.
To make purchases very convenient for your customers, you should utilize safe and swift payment gateways. There are many payment gateways you can use. Your site structure also plays a part here. Customers should be able to add items/services to cart, prices should be displayed clearly, so they don’t miss it. Likewise, you should provide rich information about the item/service.
One major area of online customer experience you should focus on is service personalization. The more customers can personally relate to your services, the better their experience. Customers view personalization as a form of relationship between themselves and the companies. They believe a company that understands them will be able to offer the best.
For personalization, data plays a huge role. There are several tools for tracking your customers’ demographics, thereby acquiring necessary information for personalization. For your website, Google Analytics is enough, and social media platforms do feature built-in analytics tools. Details like name, location,date of birth, etc. will go a long way in personalizing your service to customers.
For your customers to have a positive experience on your online platform, it needs to be simplified and very easy to use. Here, you would consider how comfortable information and service channels can be accessed. Will customers go through several navigation? Or is the process straightforward? The latter should be the case, so you should ensure that your site is user-friendly.
Your online platform should be optimized for various device types - mobile, desktop,and tablet. It shouldn’t be easy to navigate on one platform and then a hassle on the other. Mobile and desktop platforms require much focus as they are the most used platforms today.
6. Channel flexibility
Most companies make the mistake of singling out service channels on various platforms. If you offer services across multiple online channels, the channels should be flexible with one another. This implies adopting an Omni-channel strategy.
Take,for instance, you engage customers on Twitter and Facebook. Whatever is offered to the Twitter audience should also be provided to Facebook customers. The customer journey across the platforms should be the same, so it doesn’t seem like one audience is getting more while the other is left out. Also, each channel should be able to direct customers to the main channel i.e. your business website.
How To Create A Positive Online CX
With an understanding of the areas involved in online CX, developing a working strategy should be a cakewalk process.
Here are some techniques you can apply to plot the online CX graph in a positive direction:
1. Offer timely service
Time is money. For a customer to enjoy your offered services, it should be fast and should not waste their time. Making service fast is not always easy, but if you could achieve it, you’ll be on top of your competitors. Customers do not mind paying higher for a swift service rather than settling down with a sluggish one, no matter how small the price. Your service channels should be able to handle customers’ requests, questions, etc. promptly.
In terms of support, various mediums can be used, such as email, phone, and live chat. Capitalize on the ideal ones you can respond to at a faster rate and recommend customers to utilize them. If customers are to purchase items on your platform, the delivery time should be the fastest possible. Make a seamless online tracking channel so customers can track their items and know when to expect them.
2. Employ customer-centric staff
Staff who relate to your customers should have the core qualities of an excellent customer service staff. This includes communication skills, patience, ability to handle customer requests, and more. A service staff that lacks any of the core qualities will not be able to facilitate positive customer service from your customers.
It is the work of the customer service staff to convert regular customers to loyal ones. Moreover, a loyal customer is more important than ten purchases made by one-off customers because they’ll always come back.
Employ quality staff to handle all your service channels - email, phone, live chat,social media, etc. Likewise, you should ensure the support staff skilled in making use of the assigned support channel.
3. Respond timely to issues and questions
It would help if you did not fail to respond to customers’ requests. Leaving customer issues and questions unattended gives them the feeling that they are unimportant. To show that they are important, you should reply even if you are in a tight situation.
First of all, you should not make fulfillment promises you can’t keep up with. If you can’t offer 24/7 support, you shouldn’t state that you can and leave customers’requests pending for hours. You need to consider how your customers feel because if you were in their position, you wouldn’t be happy.
To ensure that you do not miss any critical requests from customers, you should constantly check your mailbox most especially the spam folders. For social media channels, their built-in notifications are enough to alert you. Also, you can make use of reputation management platforms to monitor your online reputation in real-time.
4. Do not overuse automation
Of course, we are in a digital age where there are several automation software for customer service management. While automation is a must-use for digital marketing, it should not be overused. Customers also want to interact with humans at some point or the other.
You can automate customer service by using live chat bots on your website or social media. However, this is only advised for straightforward requests and questions. Sometimes, customers may twist their requests in a way that AI chat bots can fail to understand them. In such cases, it keeps returning wrong responses that can frustrate the customer.
Hence,you should use automation rules to route requests that chat bots cannot handle to real individuals. Also, some channels might not need automation at all - like phone calls.
5. Always listen to customers
There’s a business saying that customers are always right. Whereas this does not apply literally to all cases, it implies that you should listen to your customers so as to understand what they’re saying. Whenever there is a service error or something similar on your service platforms, you’re likely to get notified first by a customer. If you do not listen to them, you will miss these helpful feed backs.
Lookout for feedback and reviews from customers on the goods/services you offer.From their complaints, you can figure out what needs to be improved to make their experience better.
Creating a positive online CX requires the right customer management strategies. It may take time, so you shouldn't expect to see positive results immediately.
First of all, understand the areas involved in online CX and implement the techniques. As a business owner, your customer base will grow every day, and you should never stop learning about them. That way, you can use better mediums of communication with your customers.
Sunday, May 17, 2020