How To Enable A Seamless Cross-Channel Customer Experience

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User experience, or UX for short, is often misunderstood as something unique to online buying. That is not necessarily true. UX is part of a larger set of factors that make it easy for customers to engage with businesses. This is hence beyond online buying and may include other channels of purchase too – like orders placed over phone, email and even face-to-face transactions at a brick and mortar store.

Devising strategies to make customer experience better is not exactly a new thing. However, if there is one thing that marketers continue to falter on, it is with looking at these different sales channels in silos. In the real world, these channels are all intertwined and bad user experience with one sales channel may impact your conversions on the other.

For instance, a customer in the market for a new smartphone is likely to visit a retail store to experience the phone before they buy it online. But if the buyer was not happy with their experience at the store, they are very likely to call the purchase off on the website. No amount of UX testing on the website could help with the conversion in this case.

So how exactly do you create a cross-channel buyer experience that is seamless? Here are a few tips.

Track Customer Journeys Better

A customer’s journey begins much before they visit your store or website. It starts with the customer realizing a pain-point and looking to find solutions to fix this. This is followed by their quest for solutions which may either through active research on Google or Yellow Pages, or passively through TV ads and advertorials on magazines. Throughout this journey, the customer may slip in and out of the various sales channels. It is critical to identify this journey through these multiple channels in order to be able to understand the buying process better.

Acknowledge The Limits Of Your Channels

Each of your sales channels come with unique advantages and limitations. Online transactions are more convenient but the customers in this case have to deal with a faceless entity unlike a traditional sale at a brick and mortar store. Take the example of an auto-spares business – in a traditional setup, the seller can take a look at your vehicle and suggest spares that will fit your needs perfectly. But the same transaction online can be cumbersome and could lead to a lot of wrong purchases. It’s important to identify this limitation by offering unique return policies for the online buyer so that they are not penalized for not being in a position to take their vehicle to a dealer.

Educate Your Customers & Empower Your Sales Reps

The best way to provide a seamless customer experience is by helping the customer understand your product better. This includes setting the right expectations with respect to your product features, its price, its return policies and competitive benchmarking. This is possible two ways. For online purchases, this would mean creating an experience where the potential customer can learn everything about your offering with no fine prints.

Offline, this will mean educating your sales reps on your product and enabling them to prepare themselves with the right answers to all the different questions that the customer may have. Also, businesses need to empower their customer-facing representatives to take decisions on returns, refunds and price negotiations. This cuts down the bureaucracy in such instances and speeds up the customer’s buying process. In effect, it helps improve conversions as well.

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