By now you have probably already seen the study by Walker Info stating that by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
That’s only two years from now!
An eye-opening stat from Capgemeni’s Digital Transformation Institute customer experience study showed that only 30% of the 125 unique organizations identified in the study met customers expectations.
The important question here is HOW can businesses step up their customer experience to not only match but exceed their expectations in a commerce world filled with options?
First, we must understand the journey that consumers take when they are looking for a product or service. According to SimilarWeb, mobile now drives 56% of all traffic. In today’s digital and mobile-centric world, it is all about reducing the effort for consumers to find you and get what they need.
Improving your customer experience does not mean only improving customer service, although it is a crucial component of the overall experience. The customer experience includes many more components such as searchability, ease of engagement and value as it relates to your product or service.
Here are some top tips to exceed customer expectations in the mobile era.
1) Improve Your Mobile Site
Many businesses use a “responsive” website design so the layout and design of the site are basically the same but optimized for the channel or device the consumer is using. This is useful from a website maintenance perspective but often fails to provide a true mobile user experience.
The desktop website experience should slightly differ from the mobile site experience because the intent is often different. In the same study mentioned above, while mobile drives more traffic, time on site is higher on a desktop. This data shows that consumers who visit your site via mobile want immediate answers to their questions about your service.
This means that you should be optimizing your mobile site to show the most important information with the minimum amount of text while sprinkling in images and videos. You must be careful with images and videos because it can often slow your site down so keep that in mind when optimizing your mobile site.
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to clearly display call to action buttons to help drive your mobile site visitors further down the purchase path.
2) Ditch Your App
In my opinion, apps are useless unless they provide additional features that are not available on the mobile site. As I mentioned before, reducing the effort for customers to engage with your brand is an important part of the experience. If you are telling your customers to download an app, it increases the friction for them to engage with you.
If your app doesn’t provide any differentiated value from your mobile site, ditch it.
Before you do that, revisit why you created the app in the first place. Also, analyze if your app is providing any additional value to your customers and if they are taking advantage of it. If you are seeing good traffic and business outcomes from your app, keep it and make it better. Otherwise, don’t waste time and resources updating it when nobody is using it.
3) Ease the Buying Process
Businesses that try to compete on price will often fail because it’s hard to go up against large corporations like Amazon, Walmart and Target when it comes to price.
A study from Capgemini shows that 81% of consumers indicate that they are willing to spend more with an organization for a better customer experience, and 9% of consumers would increase spending by more than a half.
There are many ways businesses can help ease the buying process including:
- Provide free shipping and returns
- Money back guarantee on products or services
- Include reviews and testimonials on your website and marketing materials
- Personalize your marketing message based on customer data
- Make it easy to get in contact with customer support
Easing the purchasing decision process also builds trust with new customers while boosting loyalty for existing customers by delivering a predictable and consistent experience.
Texting has become very popular because it’s the only channel that does not have any limitations that other channels have and seemingly everyone texts. Businesses have leveraged texting as a brand differentiator in their customer experience from customer service to even ordering products and services like Dirty Lemon, a wellness beverage company that only takes orders via text message.
4) Accelerate Customer Service Communication
90% of customers say they have had poor experience seeking customer support on mobile. When it comes to mobile experiences, speed and efficiency are key.
Improving communication with customers also contributes to a better customer experience, especially for mobile. Your customers don’t think about channels, they think about convenience. Businesses need to make communication easy to find and effortless. If you make it hard for customers to contact you, they won’t have the patience and will just easily go to your competitor.
From a mobile perspective, businesses can improve customer service in these ways:
- Make your contact information easy to find on your mobile site
- Provide multiple ways to contact you such as phone, email, live chat, text message and even social media profiles
- Leverage Google AdWords Extensions and Google Business Listings to include all your communication channels
- Display all your contact information on mobile site, app, marketing materials, signs, and social media profiles
Giving consumers options to contact you increases your engagement as different people prefer different methods of contact. The key here is to make sure you respond quickly. Many businesses have started to adopt text messaging as a new way to engage customers in a fast and frictionless way.
5) Build a Relationship
For businesses to stay competitive, they can’t simply sell products. They must build relationships. Involving customers in business decisions can only make your business stronger and your customers more loyal as they feel a sense of connection with your brand beyond the product itself.
One way to build a fun relationship with your customers is by engaging them through social media. I’ve seen businesses that allow customers to upload a picture of themselves using the product or showing the results of great services.
Another way to build a stronger relationship with your customers is by increasing ways to leave feedback. It doesn’t just need to be about the product or service they purchase, but other elements of the business itself like feedback on mobile site usability, customer service, ease of product or information findability, or just how you can make their experience better.
As you may already know, asking the questions is the easy part, getting the feedback is the challenge.
This is why even from a feedback perspective, you should think mobile first. You have to make the feedback process as quick and painless as possible to get more responses. The days of a customer sitting on the phone with you to answer your questions is long gone, plus it’s not efficient. You need to find ways to make it easy to give feedback.
Some popular ways of getting feedback from the mobile customer include Push Notifications, Survey-Embedded Emails, Text Messages, Social Media Polls, just to name a few.
Having honest conversations help build stronger relationships with your customers and make them feel valued and increases loyalty and referrals.
The bottom line is that consumers are more mobile than ever and in order to compete now and in the future, the focus needs to shift towards not only making the mobile experience better but the overall experience better by analyzing your customer's journey and trying out new technologies that help drive better experiences throughout that journey.
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