What is customer experience management?
Customer Experience Management (CXM) is often defined as the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed their expectations, leading to higher customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, as initially outlined by Gartner.
CXM is made up of many components, from mobile responsiveness to clear calls to action. As businesses experience increased competition in 2020, customer experience management becomes critical to capturing consumer attention and growing sales.
CXM is ultimately the process of managing your customer relationship throughout their journey, across all channels. Delivering a superior customer experience requires a defined strategy. Ultimately, every interaction matters from the initial emails a customer receives from signing up with your newsletter to the support they receive through your help center or social media channels. A great customer experience sets the tone for the future interactions a consumer will have with your business.
A study by iperceptions.com found that 57% of online consumers have stopped purchasing from a business because of a single bad experience, or simply because a competitor offered a better one.
Thankfully, providing a customer-centric experience doesn’t have to be complicated. Below we will examine both the benefits of providing a higher quality customer experience as well as the elements to consider when developing a strategy.
Why is the customer experience important?
Forrester, a leading market research firm, has found that businesses delivering exceptional retail customer experiences are growing at a far higher rate than businesses that are less focused on customer experience.
Some of the other core benefits strong customer expense provides are:
- increased customer retention and loyalty
- 43% of United States-based consumers indicate they spend more money with businesses that have given them a reason to be loyal.
Providing a standard experience not only sets your business apart but has the ability to create loyalty to your brand and increase the number of repeat customers your company has. This alone can provide a massive competitive advantage when you consider that the success rate when selling to existing customers is as high as 70% compared to selling to new customers, which is as low as 5%.
Your customers will remember and reward you for providing a great customer experience not only by becoming repeat customers but also by sharing their positive experience online through social media as well as through direct indication with friends and family.
Never forget that retaining a customer is up to five times cheaper than acquiring a new customer. The reality is that it takes less money to advertise to an existing customer base because you’re able to connect with them organically through social media and email marketing.
Loyal Customers Often have a Higher Lifetime Value
When you deliver an experience that encourages consumers to continue to come back to your website, you reduce the churn that is so prevalent with eCommerce businesses. Given that loyal customers spend an average of 67% more than new customers do, the sales potential of offering a great experience is massive.
Not only is the word-of-mouth one of the most effective way of reaching new customers, but it’s also the cheapest. When a customer is thrilled with their experience online, they like to share either with their followers online or with their friends and family. Furthermore, today’s consumers are less likely than any other generation to trust a business’ targeted marketing or paid advertisements, yet 81% indicate that they will trust personal recommendations made by friends or family.
The ten pillars of a compelling customer experience strategy
The reality is that an exceptional customer experience does not end with your eCommerce storefront; it encompasses every channel through which you have a touchpoint with your customer. This means from the initial point of advertising straight through to the delivery of a purchase needs to be considered when you begin to shape your strategy. This is the only way to compete in retail in 2020.
While there will undoubtedly be elements that are outside of your control, we cover off ten aspects and what you can do about them to ensure that your customers are receiving a top-notch experience.
Understand your customers
Knowing what your customer’s needs are is not something that you stop doing once you move past the preparation stage of building your business. Businesses have a nasty habit of easing off the gas when it comes to targeted customer research, but it’s imperative not to lose sight of the changing trends when it comes to consumers and their purchasing habits.
Consider the following to understand your customers better:
customer engagement-be sure to provide your customers with opportunities to offer direct feedback regarding your storefront, website or products. Failing to do so only ensures that you miss out on valuable customer comments.
Customer interaction research-pay attention not only to what your customers are saying but also what they are doing. Understanding your consumer means keeping an eye on any metrics the tools in place for your business have to offer. Examples of this include which ads your customers are best responding to or where they most frequently drop off during their customer journey.
Make your Products Easy to Find
A customer needs to be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily on your online store for them to have any chance at a great user experience. On your collection pages, this means two things:
Your collections within Shopify are groups of similar products. To effectively group your products in a way that makes sense to your audience, you’ll have to understand what their considerations are when they’re shopping for your products.
An excellent example for apparel stores is grouping clothing items both by type, such as tops or pants as well as by season, such as summer or fall. By offering multiple options for your customers to quickly find the product they’re looking for as well as related products, you increase your conversion rate and sales.
Offering product filtering in larger collections is critical to a smooth shopping experience. By allowing your customers to narrow down further their search so that they have to view fewer relevant products, you reduce the chance of choice overload. Common filters include price, color, and size.
While it may seem counterintuitive, research consistently shows that allowing consumers to decide between fewer choices (that are all relevant) is frequently better both from a sales and customer satisfaction perspective.
Deliver Exceptional Product Pages
Your product pages need to strike the critical balance between offering all available information about the product to customers but not overwhelming them. Be sure to include essential information such as product dimensions, material, color, and weight but do so in an easy to consume way, such as a chart. By offering a thorough overview of the product, it helps consumers feel confident in their decision to purchase.
Product pages are also improved by highlighting the benefits of your products when delivered through use cases (where relevant).
Social Proof is No Longer Optional
As we covered earlier, social proof through word-of-mouth and reviews is essential to businesses looking to grow in 2020. With consumers increasing mistrust of “influencers,” and traditional marketing streams, adding genuine product reviews from actual customers to your website is the best way of building buyer confidence in your products and brand.
While any buyer wants to know the specifications of your product, seeing positive feedback from real customers written in simple terms is far more impactful.
Blog for Success
Adding helpful, informative content to your Shopify site allows you to show your customers that you’re an expert in your field while offering certain SEO benefits as well. The concept of content marketing is certainly not new but developing a content marketing strategy for 2020 is not optional. By making your website a resource for consumers researching your products or industry, you build customer trust and get in front of more potential customers.
Be Mobile Optimized
With an ever-increasing amount of traffic browsing the Internet on their phones, it’s no longer enough to be responsive, you need to build your website with mobile users in mind. Optimizing the layout and customer journey of your site for tablet and smartphone users allows you to stand out from the crowd. Make it easy for your customers to browse your site regardless of their screen size and ensure that the imagery on your website is optimized for various aspect ratios.
Make Purchasing Easy
An easy to navigate checkout process is not only less frustrating for consumers, but it also reduces the likelihood of abandon carts. Ideally, your checkout should contain a variety of payment and shipping options and only make customers fill out their billing address if it is different from the shipping address.
A 2018 survey found that over 50% of consumers indicated that providing duplicate information during checkout is the most frustrating element of the entire process.
Providing the option to create an account on your e-commerce store further adds to the convenience. Allowing for accounts, but not making them mandatory, offers consumers the ability to save their information for easier checkouts in the future, but only if they’re comfortable with it. For some consumers, having an existing account is the differentiator when deciding where to purchase.
Provide Clear Communications
For a lot of businesses, this is where the customer journey concept ends; that’s not the case. It’s important not to forget about the customer experience once they’ve completed their purchase.
Even with the growing trend of online shopping, it can still be a stressful time for consumers, especially when they’re shopping in a new store. They’ve gone ahead and entered their payment information, hit confirm, but what’s happening now?
Make sure you keep your customers informed on the status of their order by sending clear and engaging emails. Sending order and shipping confirmation emails, as well as an automated follow-up email confirming their satisfaction with their purchase 1 to 2 weeks after it’s been received, is an excellent way to build loyalty.
With the introduction of Amazon Prime, consumer expectations were forever realigned to favor one-day shipping. This is certainly not feasible for every business, and the good news is you don’t have to be turning around your products in such tight fashion, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t aim for faster shipping.
It’s important to note that only 3% of consumers indicate they are willing to wait more than seven days to receive their order. This means that it’s important to complete the handling portion (packing your order and getting it to the shipper) as quickly as possible. For 44% of consumers, two days is the longest they will wait.
That being said, the packaging is essential to consumers, and it’s not okay to trade off a beautifully presented order for a one-day shorter delivery time.
Offer Efficient and Effective Customer Support
In 2020, your customers expect fast answers to their questions, regardless of the time of day. Delivering prompt and highly effective customer support is one of the most effective ways of boosting the consumer’s perception of your business.
A Hubspot survey found that 90% of customers want “immediate” responses to their support inquiries, and of that 90 %, 72% defined immediately as “under 30 minutes”. Now, this can be as simple as acknowledging the support request and letting them know you’ll be in touch with them (with an accurate timeline), but that initial acknowledgment needs to come within the first 30 minutes.
Delivering exceptional support requires a thorough understanding of every touchpoint your business has with its customers, including social media, emails, on-site chat, and many others.
Some important measures you can take to improve customer support include:
- integrating a chatbot to respond to customer questions in real-time
- offering social media support
- providing a contact option on every page of your eCommerce website
Today’s customer experience is compiled of every consumer touchpoint with your brand across every channel. By taking a more proactive approach to delivering an exceptional customer experience, you’ll be able to help your business stand out to your customers in 2020.
If you would like help implementing any of the suggestions in this post, reach out to the team at Shop Style Design today for a quote.