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How to Provide a Superior Ecommerce Customer Experience

If you read the “About Us” page on a company website, you may see text about “providing great customer service” or “service excellence.” In fact, a recent survey suggests that companies value providing strong customer service more highly than providing a quality product or unbeatable prices. This customer-driven business model makes sense when you consider that 86% of customers are willing to spend more money when they feel they’ve had a good customer experience.

To truly provide service excellence, you have to go above and beyond meeting the basic needs of your customers. Learn what steps you can take to ensure your customers think of you when they envision a great ecommerce customer experience.

The Importance of Mobile Optimization

Nearly half of all customers will leave a website after a bad mobile experience. When you consider the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, it should come as no surprise that more and more people are accessing websites via mobile devices every day. In fact, well over half of customers access websites via mobile devices rather than desktop or laptop computers. 

Mobile customers aren’t just looking for your site to be able to load from their phone or tablet (though that should be a minimum expectation of your site). They want a customer friendly user interface (UI) that allows them to complete their desired action securely, with as little effort as possible, while on the go. With this in mind, here are some other factors you may wish to consider: 

  • Ensure your menus can easily be used on small screens.
  • Create a mobile-optimized help center.
  • Offer tools to help customers make an informed decision. For example, a paint website might provide tools for color matching or helping estimate the amount of paint needed for a job; a clothing website could have a tool to help customers decide the best size for them; a financial website may provide tools to help their customers make the right investment decisions.
  • Break paragraphs in blogs into small chunks so customers aren’t facing a wall of text when reading your blog from their phones or tablets.

Convenience is Key

Convenience and speed to resolution are two of the most important factors to customers. They want to be able to navigate your website, find the product they’re looking for, purchase it, and get it delivered in a timely manner with the fewest possible steps. If there are problems or changes to the order, they want to get immediate assistance and a speedy resolution.

Provide Human Interaction

If your gut sinks at the very thought of working your way through phone tree menus, only to be placed on hold, it should be easy for you to understand the importance of providing human interaction to your customers. For simple tasks like checking a balance, bots have their place. But try to stick to the top level menu and make it easy to contact support.

A basic step that’s surprisingly missed by some? Contact details. Your website should include your phone number, physical address, email, and a link to instant message a representative.

The more contact options you give customers, the more likely they are to feel that you’re easy to reach and are prioritizing their convenience. Again, simplify the process for them and give your agents a chance to impress your customers with a timely response and solution.

Empower Your Agents

Give your representatives the power to resolve unsatisfactory customer service experiences, even if that means providing a replacement item, free shipping, or discounts to fix a problem. The Ritz-Carlton famously allows its reps to spend up to $2,000 per incident to make their customers happy if something has gone wrong. 

While you may not have that kind of budget, allowing your agents to use gift cards or coupons to resolve an unfortunate experience can go a long way toward well-regarded customer service. When reps do wind up using those resources, follow up on what happened. Your support team can provide valuable insight about what things aren’t working within your brand.

Know Your Customers

If you really want to prioritize customer service, you should seek out any and all reviews on your brand, whether they’re direct responses to your product or on independent blogs or sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp. Read between the lines to figure out what’s actually working for your brand and where your pain points might be. Then make changes as appropriate. If there’s a genuine communication barrier between your reps and your customers, you need to invest in some training to improve your customers’ experiences.

Here’s the hard truth: For a lot of customers, one bad experience can be enough to permanently turn them off to a brand. If, on the other hand, you provide an optimal experience, the investment will pay for itself in increased customer loyalty. When you’re considering where to focus your efforts in the coming months, look first for investments that improve your customer experience. The rest will follow.

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