How would you feel if you spent hours on an eCommerce website searching for your favorite product and still remained unsatisfied? You would be angry, frustrated, and maybe even disappointed, right?
Well, that's how most customers feel when they don't get desired results on eCommerce platforms.
Often in the race to be the best, eCommerce owners make fancy adjustments to their websites and neglect the basics. They forget about customer satisfaction and focus on their competitors. Result: few or no customers and lesser sales and profits.
If you are someone looking for ways to change that scenario and provide customers with a seamless experience, you are in the right place. In this article, we will touch upon the importance of customer experience and how eCommerce platforms can achieve it.
2) Why does customer experience matter now more than ever?
Gone are those days when launching a new product or service was enough to lure in customers. Now, even after having an excellent product, a business can lag in making enough revenue. Reason: a bad or unsatisfactory customer experience.
A remarkable customer experience is vital for the growth of every business. The way an organization treats its customers from the moment they enter their eCommerce space to every little interaction they have over the platform, irrespective of whether or not it results in a purchase, can set the base for a future loyal customer.
A loyal customer can vouch for an eCommerce platform. They can market the products and services through word of mouth and advocate for them, creating a base for more loyal customers.
Customers these days don't depend on platforms. Instead, it's the other way round. Since they have access to the web, they can learn about policies, better products and services, and even educate themselves on what's more beneficial. Therefore, providing a seamless customer experience is the only way you can grow your business and keep customers on board for a longer period.
3) How can a bad customer experience impact eCommerce?
Believe it or not, a bad eCommerce customer experience can break your business. In the short term, it can affect your sales, whereas, in the long term, it can cost you loyal customers and employees.
Here are some damages you can easily notice in your eCommerce business and quickly make necessary changes.
3.1) Reputation damage
Working in the online space, eCommerce owners are under constant scrutiny. One wrong step can take them from great reviews to negative ones. And the moment a few customers post about their bad experience, others can hop on and create a mole out of a mountain.
3.2) Unconvertible leads
With potential customers, eCommerce owners have the flexibility to create higher benchmarks and have them on board. But if sellers don't respond well to the prospect's queries regarding their products or services, they will naturally avoid visiting the eCommerce platform in the future
3.3) Loss of customers (present and future)
In the eCommerce space, word of mouth weighs a lot. One positive review on any social media platform can make your organization familiar to a wide group of people. Similarly, a negative review can take away many loyal customers as well as potential ones in the blink of an eye.
3.4) Loss of good employees
Working in a team comes with a set of pros and cons. Sometimes a few team members' negligence put everyone under scrutiny. And for any hardworking employee who's consistent with his/her performance, this leads to anger and resentment and sometimes even quitting the job for better opportunities.
3.5) Loss of profits
After losing loyal customers and good employees, any eCommerce organization will struggle to make enough sales and eventually stop generating adequate revenue. In some rare cases, such companies would even file for dissolution or bankruptcy.
4) 7 Ways to improve the customer experience for eCommerce
Improving the eCommerce customer experience can benefit an organization in many ways. For starters, as per the Temkin Group, a company with $1 billion in annual revenues with a moderate increase in customer experience can generate an average revenue above $823 million in three years.
If that doesn't excite you, hopefully, staying in the market long with enough revenues to invest in your future operations will. So here are some easy ways to reshape your eCommerce platform by providing a quality customer experience to every potential and loyal customer coming your way.
4.1) Empower your employees
Though employee empowerment might not seem crucial in providing a quality customer experience, it's interlinked. That means the more empowered your employees are, the more satisfied customers you will have.
For instance, an employee handling customers must have the flexibility and power to make judgments for the betterment of the customer and need not consult his/her seniors for every small step required in the customer lifecycle.
4.2) Pay attention to employee ideas
An employee in a senior position might not always know customers' requirements as well as his colleagues on the frontline, dealing with customers regularly. These employees who have regular customer interactions represent your brand and work on delivering the promises and values it stands for.
Therefore, in times of crisis, higher management should consult these employees first and get an idea of what's going on in the customer's mind before taking any unnecessary action and investing a huge amount in it.
4.3) Have an omnichannel approach
Nowadays, depending on a single communication medium isn't enough to grow your eCommerce platform. One needs to have an omnichannel approach and use multiple channels of communication and selling, including digital and brick-and-mortar stores.
4.4) Add a personal touch to communication
In today's era, customers long for a personal touch. Providing a personalized customer experience to people using their previous purchases and search data can attract more customers to your eCommerce platform than just advertising your services and products on numerous social media handles.
4.5) Incorporate technology in eCommerce
Those days are long gone when people used to sit in front of their desktops interacting with every single customer to solve their queries and issues.
Today, we have AI and machine learning to cater to a plethora of customers at the same time. Try utilizing technology to enhance your eCommerce platform. Add chatbots, and integrate Whatsapp Business and other conversation platforms to improve your customers' experience.
4.6) Improve customer service
Often people mistake customer experience and customer service to be the same. But that's not right.
Customer service is assisting customers before and after making a purchase. Customer experience, on the other hand, involves all kinds of interactions between customers and an eCommerce platform.
Customers aren't attracted to a brand only because they love its product. Instead, the trust that they will be entertained by the organization if anything goes wrong is what brings them closer to making a purchase. That's why providing remarkable customer service is vital for the smooth running of every organization.
4.7) Adopt a top-down approach
Employees alone can't shape any organization. It starts with the leaders themselves. Until the leaders step in the customers' shoes and start thinking there wouldn't be any major change in the organization.
For your eCommerce platform to grow, you need to analyze every aspect and go through every customer interaction handle and see if it's up to the mark.
5) How to measure the customer experience for eCommerce?
In this fast-moving digital era, there's always someone providing better products or services and customer experience than your eCommerce organization. To keep up with your competitors and drive revenue, one must meet constantly changing customer expectations. And to do that, you need to measure customer experience.
If you're finding it too difficult, here are some points to help you out.
5.1) Analyze customer satisfaction from data available
Surveys have proved to be an important tool in analyzing customer satisfaction. By observing the customer satisfaction score (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS), an eCommerce organization can make necessary changes in its business model.
CSAT measures customers' satisfaction with a particular product or service on a scale of 5 or 10. NPS, on the other hand, records how likely the customer would recommend the product or service in his/her circle on a scale of 0 to 10. Both factors play a crucial role in deriving the best customer experience.
5.2) Create community forums
Community forums play a great role in understanding customers' pain points and mindsets. In reality, they work like customer feedback handles where people purchasing on different platforms speak about their experience and how it can be made better.
5.3) Study the customer churn rate and find the reason behind it
Often after making their first purchase, customers don't return to eCommerce platforms. Now, there could be multiple reasons behind customers walking away. As an online seller, you must find out those reasons and work on retaining customers. Unless you're able to retain customers, you won't have a loyal customer base, and your sales and revenues will keep fluctuating regularly.
5.4) Interact with customer-facing employees
Employees dealing with customers regularly have a better idea of what's going on in the customers' minds. They know customers’ expectations and can deliver according to that, creating a good name for your brand in the market. Hence, speaking with them can help you create policies and launch products that will last in the long run.
6) Popular customer experience platforms for eCommerce
Imagine dealing with hundreds of customers daily. Will you be able to solve their queries, place return requests, handle purchases, analyze records, and much more?
Of course, not! For any eCommerce organization handling all aspects of customer interaction is quite difficult. That's why online sellers rely on customer experience platforms to provide a quality experience to their customers.
If you also want to personalize the customer experience for your customers, use these popular platforms to manage your customer interactions.
6.1) Zoho CRM Plus
Launched over a decade ago, Zoho CRM Plus helps eCommerce organizations improve customer experience. It offers a variety of solutions by unifying all customer management teams and provides them with the proper tools required for excellent customer interaction.
Qualtric uses AI to drive a better customer experience for eCommerce. The organization uses surveys, quizzes, feedback forms, and other resources to ascertain the pressing points of customers and provides solutions accordingly.
Zendesk is a renowned customer experience platform providing outstanding customer experience solutions to some of the world's biggest organizations. The company offers a unique ticketing system where eCommerce companies can build an integrated help center and community forum for customers already using their products. Later, the data from those platforms can be used to derive a seamless customer experience.
There are a lot more customer experience platforms such as Satmetrix, Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), and many more working diligently towards enhancing customer experience.
A great customer experience can go a long way. From gaining more customers to retaining old ones, it can make a lot of things possible for a growing eCommerce organization.
But that could only happen with a customer-centric approach. Until businesses start valuing customer satisfaction and customer experience, they won't be able to make any difference in the industry. Therefore, to be the best eCommerce organizations have to up their game both in terms of quality of product or service and their customer interactions.