Customer experience enhancers create more loyalty, repeat sales, and profitability. The pandemic disrupted the traditional shopping model forcing people to go online. It stuck.
People often now use a blend between the two. The lines between online and a physical store are becoming blurred. More than ever, it’s about what this blend feels like before buying, while making a purchase, and afterward.
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One of the companies I work with shared how changing a tiny detail made a huge difference. They have an e-commerce store selling both consumer products and professional-only products. But about 95% of their business is professional sales.
To enhance the buying experience for professionals, they set up a drop-down system to validate they were eligible to buy the professional products. The drop-down streamlined the shopping process as they didn’t have to take the time to set up an account.
The shipping manager received an email from a regular customer:
Why is there a note that pops up that says I’m not ordering XXXXX? That’s the only product I ever order?
The manager quickly responded, explained why they had the drop-down process. She also thanked the customer for bringing it to her attention. Then, she told the client she was going to see if they could change the default.
This one tiny change, altering a default, reduced the number of questions the shipping manager got and made her life much easier. It also made 95% of the customer’s lives easier because they now don’t have to change the default.
The company still does random checking to validate that the customers are qualified professionals. But it was an easy fix and win-win change.
Enhancing the customer experience is the top proven technique to reduce churn, retain customers and increase profits. The longer you can keep a customer loyal, the lower your acquisition cost. It also raises the Lifetime Customer Value exponentially.
It’s five to seven times more expensive to find a new customer than to keep them. And you’ll increase sales.
The odds of a new prospect purchasing are between 5 and 20%. But with an existing customer, the odds of another sale jump to 60-70%. Retention is smart for business.
I’ve seen this over and over in my businesses and working with clients. Every little detail that makes the customer’s experience better is a significant positive.
Some changes may be significant, and others, like in the example, are small technical things. However, they all make a difference in the customer’s experience and overall happiness rating.
For maximum success, the entire brand team needs to communicate, share, and look for ways to be better. The team that interacts directly with shoppers often has overlooked information. Keep them in the loop. Listen to them. Empower them to facilitate and stimulate changes that make shopper’s lives easier.
More than ever before, customers turn to the internet for information. And they are using a blended model of shopping in person and online. If in your store and thinking of a purchase, they may compare prices online. Or check customer reviews.
The experience you offer needs to be seamless and supportive throughout their buying journey.
As they experience your content, your customer support, and your social media connectivity, they form an emotional reaction to doing business with you. Positive, negative, or neutral.
Those businesses that focus on enhancing positive experiences will see the greatest success.
Often businesses in the past had more of an online brochure rather than a customer-focused shopping experience. That model doesn’t work today. Your website needs to feature lots of fresh, helpful content and an easy way to find it. They want positive experience content.
The underlying theme of content is how this product or service will make their life easier, better, more fulfilling, and fun. Emotional connectedness. Then the supporting information validates why this is so. They want the proof: reviews, testimonials, scientific studies, what experts say, and more.
They want all of this in an easy-to-access format that makes shopping a pleasure.
Today’s consumer doesn’t want to have to call to get help or find what they need. They want more of a self-service experience. They don’t want to wait days or weeks to get an email response. The longer they have to wait to get answers, the more likely they’ll go elsewhere.
It’s like when you need a service or repair person, and no one calls you back. You go from enthusiastic to neutral to frustrated.
Shoppers want easy access to learning about you and your products—and what makes you unique. They want
Consider offering books, e-books, reports, guides, video how-tos, and other valuable resources.
Customer service is always an experience. All too often, it is a frustrating, time-consuming process. It needs to be friendly, knowledgeable, supportive. Phone connections are great, but if they are searching on their phone and can do a live chat, that works.
For many consumers, a common complaint is the lack of staffing. Lack of staffing might have been a valid excuse during the early days of the pandemic, but it doesn’t fly anymore.
AI is getting more intelligent, and the interactions with it are more favorable. It just needs to be helpful and able to quickly move the shopper to live chat or a phone connection if the AI can’t solve the problem.
Communicate with customers where they hang out. Often this is social media. Use social as a way to stimulate interaction with customers and potential customers. Invite them to ask questions and respond promptly.
Look for ways to reward customers. It doesn’t always need to be a discount. For example, a free guide on having the best experience with your product would be of high value to a new client.
Develop a customer reward program that makes them feel positive about being loyal to your brand. People love to be part of a group, especially an exclusive group. So invite them to be part of your brand. Treat them like an online family.
Then take the online experience offline. Send new customers or those who have referred new clients a physical thank-you note. Send a reward to be used on a future purchase. When everything now comes to inboxes, something in the mail we view as unique, special.
Blend the experience to connect with them online, offline, and back online seamlessly.
Be sure to give them ample time to use any rewards.
Avoid rewards with a short use timeframe. For example, if you just purchased a printer that touts it has a year’s worth of ink in it, why would you respond to an offer to buy more ink now?
Amazon gives credits when you buy a kindle book, but they are very short-lived. If you don’t use them in a week, they’re gone. That’s not very buyer-friendly.
These are all the points where consumers interact with your brand. Website, social media, email, print ads, radio, or even television. Using the formats that make sense for your business, look for ways to enhance the experience.
If you offer AI or live chats, evaluate how well that is working. What does your customer service team hear from customers?
Integrate with the service team to identify and smooth out rough spots in the buying process.
Is your team/system available enough to be helpful? We have a three-hour time difference across the continental US. Consider where your customers are calling from? Can they easily reach you?
Stand in your customer’s place. How would you feel about the service if you were in their location? Think outside the box to find a way to smooth and improve this experience. Consider more online self-support information, so they aren’t dependent on phone calls.
Social posts need to be fun, friendly, and seeking to engage. Get them to smile, inspire them, show them success.
The most successful posting is frequent and regular. People pay attention to what they see repeatedly. That’s why paid ads pop up after you’ve looked at something. Whatever caught your eye and you looked at is now popping up everywhere you go on the internet. It’s reminding you to look again.
With so much in our inboxes, generic transactional emails quickly get filed or deleted. Instead, emails personalized by interest get more attention. Tone and engagement are essential.
When doing a marketing assessment, I look at it from the shopper’s viewpoint. I look for things to smooth, enhance and increase engagement. In today’s world, it’s all about experience enhancers to grow business. www.jcpwellnesscopy.com
Judith Culp Pearson receives three top honors
at the annual Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals in
Ft. Worth, Texas - October 7-9, 2023