Guide to Improve Your Online Customer ExperienceManisha Mishra
Technology advancements have facilitated the evolution of online businesses to a greater extent. Moreover, this growth in online spectra has given rise to a variety of aspects in the customer experience arena. Now, online customer experience encloses every customer interaction starting from a lead conversation to post-sales service interaction. Facilitating your customer on every step fosters their trust and creates your image as a customer-oriented organisation.
In fact, the importance of providing online customer experience can undeniably be explained by the below research findings conducted by KPMG :
Advances in technology, logistics, payments and trust — coupled with increasing internet and mobile access and consumer demand for convenience — have created a US$1.9 trillion global online shopping arena.
Let’s understand a step-by-step approach to drafting a simple yet effective customer strategy:
1. Research Your Industry and Customer Trends
Why do this?
Any company will find it hard to deliver customer-oriented services without understanding their customer's need. Studying your customers thought process provides a detailed and credible foundation to your business objectives. On top, it allows you to outline your customer service strategies with brief and prioritised checkpoints facilitating a smooth customer experience.
Invest your time in researching your customer’s wants, need and conveniences which makes their everyday processes easy. Give a thorough read of your industry statistics, covering factors like predefined industry biases, customer-buying pattern and industry loopholes. Also, keep an eye on the future trends which can revolutionise your industry regulations and affect customer’s decision-making process.
2. Analyse Customer Journey
Why do this?
Customer perception and experience is primarily based on the wholesome experience you give, so making sure to align your process with individualistic as well as comprehensive approach becomes a necessity. Analyse your operations with a 360-degree view and take a brief look at the necessary touch points.
Pay keen attention to the whole process in depth. Study process transitions and customers’ end-to-end cycle. Create a customer journey cycle of every case scenario from the first interaction when the lead approaches your business to all the service call you make post-purchase. Review these processes from the customer’s eye to find any loopholes. Smooth customer experience is defined by efficiency and hassle-free communication of these processes.
3. Set Your Standards
Why do this?
Once customer analysis is done, you have already collected sufficient data to understand your target customers’ expectations. Every company focuses on different aspects of their business while deciding on their online customer experience; few may want to concentrate on the creation of highly interactive website while others may focus on the social media handles.
Understand your limitations and focus points while drafting your business processes, avoid focusing on less critical business areas which needs substantial investment but have minimum returns to give.
Prioritise your enterprise needs, plan the kind of brand image you want to reflect and align your business strategies accordingly. Make a checklist of your key business areas and processes which defines your customer experience. Create an action plan for the improvement areas. Focus first on the key functional areas and avoid covering all the aspects in one go. Accelerate steadily and smartly with your plan.
4. Create Your Online Infrastructure
Why do this?
The ideal online customer-experience depends upon the flexibility and automation your regular processes provide. Make sure your online infrastructure is a perfect combination of professional outline and personalised touchpoint. Deploy the basic foundation of your online business as soon as possible to remain technically aligned with the customer’s expectations. Any lag/shortcoming of your online infrastructure will directly affect your brands’ image in the virtual world.
If your business is focused on widening your online presence, then make sure you have a necessary infrastructure ready to facilitate your customers. This infrastructure can include:
1. User-Interactive and Easy-To-Use Website
2. Availability of A User Manual or A Demo Video to Understand Your Product
3. Contact Number Available on The Website
4. Provide Online Payment Option
5. Online Customer Feedback and Rating
6. Lead Enrolment Form
7. Auto Confirmation SMS After Order Placement
Apart from this necessary infrastructure, include value add-ons to stay ahead. Explore for areas which haven’t been discovered by your competitors, go for polls to understand customers’ demands. Using these techniques will help you remain competitive and strive for improvement continuously.
5. Keep All Departments Updated & Integrated with Online Platform
Why do this?
Every successful organisation works in the unanimity of actions. Assuring the uniformity of the processes is characteristic of a well-organised and integrated organisation. Half of your online customer experience gets defined by the setup of your online infrastructure; the other half is determined by the maintenance process of your infrastructural unit. Any lag in communication between different departments will directly affect the customer’s experience. Make sure all your processes are well linked, and connected, decreasing any chances of creating a dissatisfied customer.
Your online platform will ease up your lead collection/customer feedback, payment and other such processes. Now, the rate of communication between the departments with this real-time information defines your holistic experience in delivering a smooth customer experience.
Keep your sales, marketing, product development and maintenance department updated of all the new business/ social media developments which can range from a simple customer tweet to a new feature of your product. Communicate online customer feedback to product and service teams and inform them of the real-time customer reviews. Train your marketing and sales team to sell every business enhancement as a value add-on feature of your business.
Today’s customer experience is a balance of online and offline platform. So, make sure you don’t miss out on any aspect of this business necessity. Above approach lays down the foundation of your customer experience strategies and to enhance it further keep your research going. The essence of customer experience simply lies in understanding customers ever-growing expectations.