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December 17, 2018

The Need for Speed: Ways to Deliver a Faster Customer Experience

huemor

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We hate to say it, but your grandma was wrong, patience is not a virtue…and your customers will agree.

I have definitely experienced this personally like paying extra for faster delivery of a pair of sneakers I really want.

Some would argue that speed is one of, if not the most important element of the customer experience.

Just look at how the need for speed has changed major industries like Uber in transportation or Netflix in movies and entertainment. There is no longer a need to wait for a taxi or wait to rent a movie. With a couple of taps on your phone, you can literally request an Uber and stream your favorite show within a couple of minutes.

The need for “on-demand everything” is changing the way businesses operate. So now, every aspect of the customer experience needs to be fast and easy. Otherwise, customers can quickly turn to your competitors.

Did you Know? 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult.

Time is valuable and something that you cannot buy or get back, so it’s essential to make every step of the customer journey fast and frictionless.

 

Here are some ways you can ease the customer experience and make it faster both online and offline.

 

Website

Your company website may be the first interaction point where your customers engage with your brand. Having a fast-loading website that is easy to navigate and find or request information is extremely important.

In fact, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. (Neilpatel.com)

To put it into a dollars perspective, if an ecommerce site makes $100,000 per day, a 1-second page load delay could potentially cost a business $2.5 million in lost sales in a year.

There are many factors that contribute to a website’s loading time including the types of images that are used, redirects, JavaScript usage, and other technical factors. This applies to both your desktop and mobile site if they are separate.

If you want to learn more about different ways to speed up your website load time, check out this article from MOZ.

Having just a fast loading site doesn’t mean it’s user-friendly. The goal of your site should be to give as much information as possible to visitors looking for your product. If your information is unclear or hard to find, similar to a slow loading page, they will most likely not waste any more time and move on to your competitor.

To find out if your website is user-friendly, you can go into Google Analytics or the website analytics software you use and look at the bounce rate of your homepage (Bounce Rate: Website visit with only one single pageview).

Typically, you would want that number to be around 30%. If visitors are leaving your site after looking at only one page, chances are they did not find the information they are looking for quickly.

In this case, you will need to do some a/b testing to see which messaging resonates with visitors as well as test out different structures or naming convention for your website’s navigation. There is no magical formula to website messaging, it’s all about continuous testing and iterations for continued improvement.

Lastly, make it easy for customers to ask questions on your site. Make contact information clearly visible throughout your site and supplement it with a live chat feature. Live chat used to be a nice to have feature, but in today’s on-demand world, it’s a must-have.

J.D. Power found that live chat has become the leading digital contact method for online customers, as 42% of customers prefer live chat compared to just 23% for email, and 16% for social media or forums.

 

Customer Service

The number 1 reason people dislike calling companies is not being able to speak to a real person right away. (Newvoicemedia.com)

Slow customer service is a major pain point for businesses in all industries. As bad as it sounds, consumers are used to poor customer service. Whether it’s waiting on hold over the phone or waiting for an email response, people like myself are often surprised when companies answer their phone right away or reply to my emails on the same day. But that should be the norm.

Customers have different communication preferences based on their needs and time sensitivity, but businesses can help speed up the customer service process in many ways.

There may be times when customers have complicated issues that require more time to research and respond, but for the most part, customers have the same questions, that’s why websites have FAQ pages.

To help streamline some of the responses, use templates for commonly asked questions that your customer service agents can quickly plug into an email or talk to it over the phone to reduce the time needed to find an answer.

If you’re providing customer service through your social media channels, make sure you’re using a social monitoring tool like Hootsuite to get alerts whenever someone mentions your brand on social media. This will enable you to respond quickly and not keep customers waiting, which may give your brand a negative image.

Expand your customer service channels to include more real-time engagement like text messaging. People are used to using text messaging to get quick answers from friends and family, businesses should also extend that convenience for their customers. With texting, customers can contact your customer service team quickly from anywhere without waiting around.

Businesses in various industries are using texting to answer customer questions, set up appointments and reminders, send payment links and even text customers with relevant promotions. (See examples of how businesses use text messaging with customers)

By making it fast and easy to contact customer service, your customers will appreciate that extra level of effort to attend to their needs and your business will benefit in revenue as 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service.

 

Delivery & Returns

These are two areas of the customer experience that definitely needs a boost in speed. When customers buy something, they want it now, and when the want to return something, they want the refund now.

In fact, more than three-quarters of online shoppers would like their orders shipped the same day, and according to an Invespcro.com Survey, 92% of consumers surveyed said that they will buy again if product return process is easy.

Amazon is definitely leading the way in that area by investing in innovations like drone-based delivery and implemented a Delivery Service Partners program to allow entrepreneurs to own and operate their own fleet of delivery vans to expand their delivery network to provide customers with faster delivery while reducing internal logistics costs.

If you have a physical store, leverage the popular BOPIS (buy online pickup in store) strategy used by the likes of Walmart and Target. It gives your customers the option to pick up their item the same day, which may be a deal breaker for them to buy if the item they need is time sensitive.

From a product returns perspective, Amazon is also leading in the returns department. A while back I bought my son a Transformers toy, but it was defective, so when I contacted their returns department, a new one came the next day, even before I returned the broken one. That was a game changer for me and something I have never experienced before from any other company.

The lesson here is to never keep your customers waiting. Every minute, hour or day that passes adds another level of frustration with your customers and pushes them to your competitor. No matter what industry you’re in, you should always be looking for ways to make your customer experience quick and effortless.

You May Also Like: 15 Business Text Messaging Examples for Customer Communication

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