For our friends who own and operate a brick and mortar store, you should be familiar with the term customer experience. Hopefully you have trained your staff on the difference between service and experience. This, of course, depends upon your business model.
How can an entrepreneur, whose business is done online, incorporate the customer experience model into their daily customer interactions? What does the finished product look like from the customer’s point of view?
Digital Customer Experience
The goal, for the retailers who interact with their customers through the likes of a computer, smartphone, tablet, or laptop, is to recognize that a walk-in customer experience is different from the online variety.
When we set foot in a physical location, several factors play into our customer experience, some of which are out of the business’s control. However, when our finger takes us to a company’s website, a page that takes too long to load can send us to your competition.
Craig Borowski, a market researcher at Software Advice, and also a contributor to Harvard Business Review, summarizes some key points to a great digital customer experience.
One of the keys to a seamless online interaction and transaction is consistency. Take, for example, a customer who makes a purchase and has a tech issue with the product once they receive it. They send an email to tech support, and then have to follow-up with a phone call.
The last obstacle this customer deserves is to have an agent on the phone who does not have any of the information from the email previously sent, thereby requiring your customer to repeat it. Frustration sets in, and that product is returned.
By putting into place, a software package that integrates all customer-facing processes, the customer’s digital experience will no longer be fragmented.
All this information is great in theory. It’s when we put it into action that the results become self-evident. Let’s look at an example to get a visual.
What if you are in the truck industry, and want to advertise your inventory of semi trucks for sale. Does your target market have easy access to important information? Remember, time is of the essence, as seconds count in the online marketplace.
Is there a simple link to email you about questions they may have? Some consumers prefer to speak on the phone. Is there easy access to speak with a representative? You would be surprised by how many customers are turned off when they can’t find a phone number.
Care must be taken, considering all this digital excitement, to not lose focus of basic business principles that have stood the test of time. Differentiation, regardless of how many “channels” a company pursues, is essential to drive consumers to your checkout.
In the pursuit of “throwing a net” on the market in the online world, it’s easy to lose sight of what brought customers to your product in the first place. Your customers are more interested in the experience of doing business with you, and your ability to solve problems that arise, than what software and channels have been implemented.