If we’re going to talk about a great customer experience, we have to make sure we actually know how to please our customers. Haven’t you heard the saying, “Success is a journey, not a destination?” While this was attributed to Arthur Ashe, an American tennis player, it is very appropriate for digital marketing professionals when thinking about a user's journey through a website toward a purchase or conversion.
Before you take any action to improve your site’s conversion rates, you have to understand your customers’ pain points and know what they are looking for when they come to your site.
Understanding the Real Customer Experience
A recent report from eConsultancy uncovered that 74% of companies surveyed typically discover problems or issues with the digital experience through direct customer feedback such as calls to customer service teams and customer emails. Waiting for your customers to take the time to contact customer service can be a very expensive and slow process.
The report also found that the vast majority (83%) of companies consider the reasons why customers abandon purchases or leave the site without converting as "very valuable" information. These areas also happen to be where companies are most likely to have limited understanding.
Whether it’s an accessibility issue, navigational inconsistencies, confusing web content, layout and CTA’s or a check-out process that just doesn’t make sense, once you understand the reasons why your customers are leaving your site without making a purchase, it is a lot easier to identify and prioritize improvements.
Key Takeaway: Proactively learn how your customers are using your web and mobile sites. You can’t make any real improvements until you understand what is and isn’t working today.
Try 4 Things to Improve Customer Success
Here are four elements to consider, once you understand how your website is being used and where you can help your customers be successful as they journey through your site to their destination.
1) Make it user-friendly
It sounds basic, but the site’s main navigation should be easily identifiable, with clear and concise labels throughout all pages of the site. The customer should be able to navigate through the site using keystrokes as easily as they can with a point-n-click mouse. Help your online customers feel comfortable by using understandable site descriptions in window titles and bookmarks. Create navigation that is consistent when moving from one device to another.
Help your customers easily find what they are looking for with a consistently placed search bar on every page. For frequently asked questions, integrate answers where your customers need them. Don’t put them off to the side on a completely separate section of the site where your customers could get lost or distracted and never come back to complete their journey.
Use “bread crumbing” so that your online customers always know where they are on your site. This allows them to go back to information found earlier.
2) Sound like your customers
Depending on your business, getting your content right can be one of the most difficult elements of site design.
First and foremost, speak the same language as your customers. If you sell technical products to non-technical people, make sure the language you use to describe features and benefits is understood by your customer. Conduct a keyword search to help you uncover how people are thinking about your category.
Once you’ve developed your message, the formatting can play a big part in providing a better customer experience. Website visitors scan web content, rather than read every word. Help your customers scan through the pages of your site by placing related information together, put conclusions at the beginning of the page, use lists and include sub-headings when you do use paragraphs. Write one idea per paragraph and use short sentences to help your customers find what they are looking for.
3) Less is more
Technology enables all sorts of cool graphics and techniques that make the online experience more exciting and helps websites stand out from competitors. But if you want to offer a positive customer experience to your website visitors, a simple site that is easy to navigate and read beats flashy graphics and gimmicks every time.
Websites should use a consistent page layout throughout the entire site. Information like help, resources and contact information should be in the same area on each page. Use white space to make the page more scannable.
4) Be proactive and stay with it
Combine data sources like site statistics, usability testing and customer support reports to anticipate where your customers might have problems on your website. Is it on a product page, where the product description is unclear or incomplete? Or, is it in the check-out process where the workflow process is convoluted or the return policy is not easily accessed?
In a recent study, web self-service was cited as the preferred channel for customer service communication. From FAQs to live chat, it’s important to ensure that the customer has access to the right information when and where they need it.
Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that your customers’ online behavior is constantly changing. Each improvement to your company’s website will illicit different responses from your customers. Improving your customers’ digital experience is a dynamic journey.
Key Takeaway: Making your website a customer success destination takes a concerted, continuous effort. Keep your customer-focused hat on, and adjust, measure, adjust, measure, adjust. AnswerDash allows you to continuously learn about what your customers actually need.
Focus on the Journey
Annette Franz, customer conversion guru, is a key believer in focusing on the journey over the destination, “Destination means to me that there’s an endpoint; you’ve arrived, and it’s over. Customer experience has no endpoint. It is always growing and evolving."
Tell us about your journey to improving your customers’ experience with your website. What was your big “win”? What do you wish had worked better?