In an ever-evolving business and commerce marketplace, customer experience has emerged as one of the keys to success. In fact, 32% of customers will leave a brand after a single bad experience. Even worse, when a consumer loves a brand, 59% reported they will still walk away after they’ve had two bad experiences. It’s no longer enough to offer a great product or service. Successful merchants need to also deliver a seamless and enjoyable customer journey throughout a consumer’s entire interaction with the brand.
Technology plays a pivotal role in optimizing resources and ensuring customers are well-taken care of, but brands need to ensure the customer journey works well from start to finish.
Here are some recommendations on how to make sure your customer journey isn’t rerouting customers to your competitors:
The customer journey isn’t one-size-fits all
Consumers have come to expect a seamless experience, and we all want it on our own terms, including customer support. That can mean looking for support through various channels, including chat, email, social media, and over the phone. However, that also creates more opportunities for the customer journey to become fragmented, especially at holiday when customer service support volumes for retailers can spike by as much as 42% and shoppers are frequently switching between online and in-store experiences.
Implementing omnichannel support solutions that bridge this gap can offer a unified view of the customer and ensures that they can reach out using their preferred method, creating a seamless and convenience experience.
Anticipate your customers’ needs
You know your organization truly excels in customer experience when you’re able to move beyond just meeting expectations to anticipating the needs of your customers. A proactive approach involves a thorough understanding of the customer journey and being able to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement. Customer data is the lifeline of successful customer support and the key to creating a seamless customer journey.
For example, Insider Intelligence projects US retail returns volume this holiday will total 8.5% of total retail sales this year, so it makes sense to prioritize an easy return process. Ninety-five percent of customers who are happy with the return process will shop that retailer again. On the flip side, shoppers who are unhappy with the return process are three times more likely to never shop with that retailer again. By analyzing customer data and feedback, you can tailor your product and services to better serve your customers’ evolving needs.
Manage expectations and be prepared for logistic failures
One of the cornerstones of a strong customer journey is managing customer expectations, including being clear and honest about what your customers can expect at every stage of their interaction with your brand. For example, delivery is the last and sometimes most fraught part of the customer journey for e-commerce shoppers. A bad experience can tarnish a brand quickly even if you’re not at fault. Data from 2022 shows that shipping delays account for 40% of customer complaints during the holiday season. Consider utilizing real-time monitoring to track shipments and proactively notify customers of delays.
Data analytics is another tool that can help reveal patterns that detect product defects or quality issues, allowing you to take corrective actions swiftly. Customers may still be frustrated, but transparency and setting proper expectations from the beginning can go a long way in maintaining a strong customer journey.
A strong customer journey isn’t just about the customer
Employee engagement is also a key component of an enhanced customer experience. Employees who are passionate, knowledgeable, and empathetic can lead to more positive outcomes. One of the most frustrating barriers for employees when it comes to providing a positive customer experience is the growing reliance on third-party partners, like e-commerce store fronts or delivery services.
An easy solve for this is getting visibility into your partners’ operations. Your team needs to know what your partner is doing and vice versa. Without this visibility, your customers and your staff will suffer. If your frontline employees don’t have visibility into what’s happening with your customer orders, there are missed opportunities to make things right and keep customers happy and coming back. Empowering employees to solve problems, make decisions, and take ownership of the customer journey creates a consistently strong experience from start to finish.
A strong customer journey isn’t one-and-done; it’s an ongoing commitment to adapt and improve. Make sure you’re walking in your customers’ shoes, especially for situations when things don’t go exactly as planned. Understand all the parts of the customer experience and their ramifications. Be transparent about what optimal experiences like customer support, delivery or returns look like or what they require from the customer.