Will analyzing the customer journey help you deliver more value to your clients? Can it improve your profits and sales?
To answer that question, look no further than Casper. This company is upending a 14 billion industry. They aren’t doing it by putting out a mattress at a rock-bottom price. They aren’t making the Rolex of mattresses either. They’re providing value by ameliorating and improving the customer journey.
Let’s take a look at what that practically means. Buying a mattress is hard. It’s something that you only do once every 8-10 years, so consumers aren’t specialists in evaluating their needs. Memory foam. Cooling gel. Thread count. Do these things matter? Sleeping is a restful, refreshing activity. Buying a mattress is not. At best, it takes a lot of research. At worst, there’s a paradox of choice, a state where too many options overwhelm the consumer.
Casper only offers one mattress. It’s the best mattress plausible at a reasonable price. The demand to redefine the experience was there. People were tired (no pun intended) of the old mattress buying journey. Casper earned one million in sales in their first month. Since then, they’ve reached 100 million dollars in sales, and they’ve kept on growing.
There was room for disruption in the mattress industry. Why? Traditional mattress companies understood mattresses, but they didn’t understand the customer journey. Consumers these days want as little friction as possible, from the beginning to the end of the buying experience.
Here are a few ways to provide more value to your customers during the buyer’s journey.
Use Customer Feedback Forms
Ask. That simple word is one of the best ways to improve the customer’s journey. Who knows the pleasantries and annoyances of the customer’s journey more than your customers. There are do’s and dont’s when it comes to customer feedback forms. One of the most common scaled-response format questions in satisfaction scale survey design today is the Likert scale.
Proper planning. Seems obvious, yet it’s so common for surveys to be created with some broad questions and no real objective other. It’s important to plan the specific data you want to collect so that you can figure out the best way to position your questions to help you gain insight into your customers’ feelings and behaviors. For example, is your objective to improve Net Promoter Score or some other metric? Should you use a Likert scale, semantic differential scale, or some other model? Figure out what it is that you need to ask, what data you want to collect, and how you’ll measure the success of the feedback you receive to best ensure that you learn more about how satisfied or unsatisfied your customers are.
Don’t make fields compulsory. Something is better than nothing. You don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater because you can’t get someone’s age. Every bit of data is usable.
Avoid jargon. People don’t like it, and they often don’t understand it. One way to reduce business jargon is by using Unsuck-It. For instance, they substitute the word “optimize” for “improve.” Your surveys should be as simple as possible.
Avoid complex wording. Reducing jargon is a fantastic way to make a more accessible survey. Yet, language devoid of jargon can still be complex to read. For instance, if you have really long sentences or overuse the passive voice, comprehension may be affected. You can reduce complexity in your writing with the Hemingway App. It will suggest edits for you. Keep in mind the Hemingway App is software that makes automatic recommendations. Always keep in mind there are times when you should disobey the Hemingway App.
Don’t write leading questions. If you want real engagement, then your aim should be to obtain honest feedback. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to word a question in such a way that it sways the participant to answer in a particular way.
Don’t pre-select answers. Another way to skew your data is to pre-select answers on a survey. If you compel people to make a choice, it’s more likely to be their choice. If you pre-select an answer, they may roll along with inertia.
So, how can you get people to respond to your surveys? Should you incentivize them, or does that compromise the data too much. Offering rewards for completing surveys can be an effective tactic. However, if you go this route, it’s key to choose an enticing incentive, but to also be able to disqualify people who you may not want feedback from (which is why customer segmentation is so important but we’ll save that for another time). Doing this will ensure that you get a better response rate than with no prize, while also safeguarding your budget so that you can collect the right data.
Harness the Power of Visuals
Understanding the customer journey is about understanding how your prospects feel when engaging with your brand, when buying your product. One major problem, particularly in the ecommerce industry, is that products don’t have enough visual information.
This is a modern problem. For instance, take a look at this Bruce Lee classic blu-ray, Fist of Fury. It’s a collector’s edition. It has two pictures- one of the front cover, and one of the spine. It is better than many Amazon blu-rays, that don’t have pictures of the spine.
Yet, there’s still a problem here. There’s no picture of the back. What type of writing and visuals are on there? You won’t know until you order. This is negligent, considering it’s a collector’s edition. People buy this product not only to watch it, but to show off it to friends (and perhaps even display it) too.
Even if there were pictures, there could be more. There could be a brief unboxing video. That way people could see the disc art, any inserts, and the rest of the case. Even beyond that, there’s more that could be done. For instance, you could upload a comparison video between this collector’s edition and alternative editions of Fist of Fury. There’s a lot of value out there that’s not being provided. This type of information makes the customer’s journey smoother, more pleasant.
Make the Online Payment Process Easier
One frustration of the online payment process is checking out. You know the drill. Sometimes, you have to make an account before you can check out. That’s really frustrating, and a lot of people abandon carts for that reason. Companies are rapidly fixing that issue. Yet, there are other ways to streamline the checkout process, and make the customer’s journey go a little smoother.
Use a variety of payment methods. People expect choices when it comes to making online payments. 56% of respondents expect multiple options on the checkout page. You should offer PayPal and credit/debit cards at the very least.
Make errors easy to fix. You enter your information into a page. There are a lot of fields. You push submit, and it doesn’t take you to the next step. There’s an error. You have to re-submit some data, such as your password, or perhaps even all of it. Do you know that feeling? That’s a frustrating feeling for many customers on their journey. According to Invesp, losing customers because of submission errors is a top ten problem. Take a look at a how Spotify handles the situation. They don’t erase your data when there’s a mistake. They give you a chance to correct it. That’s the kind of website you want to have.
Security is a major issue when it comes to online purchases. People are afraid of getting scammed. According to eConsultancy, 58% of people have dropped out of a checkout page due to concerns over security. So, how can you exude confidence> One way is to comply with all the requirements of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. You’ll also want to show your customers that you are Secure Socket Layers (SSL) compliant. Being SSL compliant let’s you put the secure page (HTTPS) when your customers checkout. Make sure you show off your compliance, like Mindmeister does in this screenshot.
Engage your customers by keeping distractions to a minimum. One way to keep eyeballs is to limit distractions. That’s why your checkout page should be clear, like this page on Kissmetrics. You shouldn’t have any ads, or links to other offers. There needs to be a laser-like focus on the offer at hand. It’s a bit counter-intuitive. More choices are splendid, but there’s a time and place to show targeted offers.
The One Rule of Engaging Your Customers
The golden rule: do onto others as you’d do to yourself. That’s a solid rule for life, and for customer engagement. Go through the customer journey yourself. Are there any frustrating parts, any areas with lots of friction? Self-testing is a good place to start.
What’s one mistake you made when it came to engaging your customers? What would you have done differently?