Gartner predicts that customer experience will be the main battlefield for as many as 89% of companies. And that’s not surprising.
Today’s customers will not put up with poor customer service and won’t hesitate to switch to the competition even after a single bad experience. So while focusing on product development and marketing is important, it won’t matter if you can’t ensure happy customer outcomes consistently.
But how can you improve your customer experience?
Well, the good news is that the fundamental principles of making your customers happy have remained similar for a long time. Combined with modern technology, you can stay in front of your audience while also being there whenever they need assistance.
Let’s explore some of the essential strategies for increasing customer satisfaction below.
Exceed Their Expectations
Any business is only successful as long as it can ensure happy customer interactions regularly. Many things go into improving customer experience, but it all boils down to exceeding their expectations.
When people visit your eCommerce store and buy from you, they have certain expectations about what they’ll receive and how the process of ordering will go.
So, your primary focus should always be to deliver the products or services that your customers expect and try to make the experience even better.
Sure, things will sometimes go wrong, and you might have to put out some fires as they happen.
But as a rule, forcing yourself to go the extra mile and putting the customer above everything else will usually help you minimize those situations and maintain a positive track record your audience will appreciate.
We’ll talk about many strategies that can help create happy customers below, but it all requires a fundamental commitment at the very core of the company.
Every employee must know that while profits and growth are important, they will only be possible if employee satisfaction is never compromised for short-term financial gain.
By prioritizing positive customer experiences, you will soon have an army of brand ambassadors that you can leverage to fuel your company’s growth more effectively than with any marketing strategy.
Ask for Feedback
Having good intentions is a great start. But sometimes, you might not even be aware that something is wrong, even if it’s painfully obvious to your audience.
The only way to avoid that is to regularly ask your customers what they’d like to see improved, and how.
Many eCommerce stores neglect to ask their customers for feedback, which can create a disconnect that makes it increasingly challenging to keep customers happy and maintain sales numbers.
Luckily, the process is simple.
You can start by going on social media and interacting with your audience there. Millions of prospective customers hang out on Facebook and other similar platforms, which is a perfect opportunity to start conversations and learn about what they like or dislike.
Nordstorm is a great example of a company that adds a personal touch to their social media interactions, responding to comments and doing their best to turn every negative experience into a positive story that grows their brand’s reputation.
But you don’t even have to take part in conversations to learn a ton. By simply observing what people are talking about, you can start identifying common issues, noticing the topics they care about the most, and figuring out how you can cater to their needs better.
If you want to take the process to another level, you could talk to your customers directly.
By organizing a few interviews with your best customers, you can cut through the clutter and get to know the very best buyers you could have.
That way, you can adapt your brand, voice, products, and marketing to attract these types of customers, maximizing the returns from your efforts and ensuring happy customer experiences become much more frequent.
Sure, interviews can seem like a lot of hassle, but talking with your customers, even if just for 45 minutes, can be an eye-opening experience that disproves many assumptions you have made about their needs.
If you’re looking for a middle-ground option between observing customer behavior and talking to them directly, you could consider running surveys or even adding a poll on your website as simple and easy-to-do alternatives that can still provide a lot of valuable insights.
Provide Stellar Support
38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that offers live chat support. And more than half of U.S. and U.K. customers are more likely to repeat purchases from companies that provide live support on social media.
But for eCommerce companies, figuring out how to put these insights into action isn’t always clear. After all, what is a good customer experience, anyway? Everyone, or at least companies that still care, want to make their customers happy, so why are so many stores failing miserably?
Well, the reason for that lies in the lack of understanding of what the customers want.
Customer expectations are constantly evolving, especially since their online browsing habits are as well. A decade ago, having a phone number and a contact form might have been enough, but not anymore.
Today, you must be able to resolve issues quickly, in one interaction, and through a channel that your customer prefers.
Adding a chatbot on your site and social media is a great first step, but that also means creating an extensive knowledge base that you can direct users to learn more and overcome their issues themselves.
So, at the same time, you must have a team that’s available and capable of helping when customers need more personal assistance.
That means that if they’re having a technical issue, you should be able to quickly connect them to a professional who can deal with it without forcing them to wait for someone to come through or having them repeat their problem again.
Having a live chat is not only important for customer satisfaction, it can also have a big impact on your bottom line.
If you have a professional and well-coordinated support system, it can become one of the most powerful tools for boosting conversions at your disposal.
Be Visible on Social Media
Most brands know they need a social media presence. But just creating pages on a bunch of platforms isn’t going to automatically deliver the results you might be expecting.
In fact, many eCommerce stores end up wasting a lot of time and effort on social media with little to show for it. Even if they are able to attract a modest following, turning those followers into buying customers is a totally different story.
Luckily, you won’t have to worry about your ROI from social media if you know how to shift your perspective and where to focus your efforts.
After all, social media is about communication. So your job as a brand is not to try and disrupt what people are doing but rather become part of the fun experience, and leverage the naturally engaging nature of social media platforms to generate more sales.
To start, establish clear goals about what you are trying to accomplish with each post. Do you want to grow your following? Drive engagement? Or do you want to convert viewers into customers?
Each of these goals requires an entirely different approach, so know what you’re aiming for before you start, and then track the metrics for that goal to see if you succeeded or not.
Whichever goal you decide to go with, always start with the value you can deliver. People are already overwhelmed with the amount of sales ads they see, so make your posts and ads different by leading with value and getting your customer to connect with what you are saying.
You should also actively use social proof elements such as success stories of your other customers. By introducing your products through the words and experiences of happy customers, you’ll quickly break through a lot of barriers and will have a much easier time getting people to believe you.
Simplify the Shopping Experience
Getting your customers to buy is not an easy task. There are so many things that could go wrong in the time between them deciding to buy and finalizing the offer, which is why so many potential sales end up resulting in abandoned carts.
To avoid this, you should make the shopping experience as simple and frictionless as possible, carefully analyzing each step the user has to take and considering whether it is necessary.
First, look at your home page and how it’s designed. Does it help your users move towards a purchase? And does it have an intuitive navigation and search bar?
BigChill has intuitive and easy-to-understand shopping categories
It’s also essential to look at the checkout process.
Most of today’s eCommerce platforms offer many helpful tools for simplifying the checkout process, but you should also evaluate each step to make sure you’re not needlessly complicating the purchase.
For instance, many eCommerce stores make the mistake of forcing buyers to fill out lengthy forms about themselves. Instead, think about the bare minimum of information you need and add autofill functionality whenever possible.
Finally, consider that a significant percentage of your buyers are likely to be using a mobile device. So, it might make sense to take a mobile-centric approach when designing your checkout process, as that might ultimately produce better outcomes for your business.
Offer a Great Deal
If there’s one thing all online shoppers love, it’s a good deal. That’s the primary reason why there’s such a massive surge in spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday every year.
So, while you may want to maximize profits as much as possible, having a way to position your products as a good value is essential if you don’t want to deal with a ton of resistance every step of the way.
Now, it’s important to note that a deal doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of a lower price.
Premium brands often outperform their cheaper alternatives, not because of price but because they are able to prove that the product is a better value despite (or even because of) the price that it comes with.
Think about the value proposition that your brand and products offer and emphasize it as much as possible.
Whether that’s a better product for a similar price, a similar product for a lower price or a superior product that’s too good to pass up, knowing the answer will make every step of your marketing much easier while also ensuring your customers walk away happy with the purchase.
Develop a Knowledge Base
No matter how well you run your customer support, there’s a limit to how much individual help you can offer to each customer that has a problem or has questions.
And honestly, forcing your support team to answer the same basic questions thousands of times is not a very productive use of their time.
Because of that, more and more eCommerce companies are instead opting to develop a knowledge base that can act as a hub, providing answers to the most critical questions and relieving some of the pressure on your team.
But what is a knowledge base? And what information should you add to it?
In essence, a knowledge base is a collection of documents, articles, FAQs, and other content that addresses various issues, questions, usage guides, and anything else that might be relevant to your customers or your team.
For instance, if you have a product that isn’t self-explanatory, you could create a series of how-to guides that allow users to make the most out of their purchase and use your product correctly.
That not only makes your customer service better but also increases the chances of buyers enjoying your product, which is crucial if you want to achieve happy customer outcomes consistently.
A knowledge base can also be incredibly helpful before the sale when users aren’t sure if your products are right for them or which option to choose.
By creating FAQs and guides, you can provide answers that will ensure buyers make the best decision. And in turn, that will reduce the number of people unsatisfied with their purchase.
Finally, if you make your knowledge base public and optimize it for SEO, you will eventually start receiving traffic to your guides and articles, which will build your brand authority and help attract customers you couldn’t reach elsewhere.
Happy customers are the foundation of any successful online store. But merely delivering the products on time isn’t nearly enough to ensure your buyers are satisfied.
The good news is that the strategies we talked about in this article do work.
By exceeding customer expectations, you can quickly accumulate positive customer stories.
By asking for feedback, you’ll gain unique insights about what your audience really cares about.
By providing stellar support every time there’s a problem, you can turn potentially disastrous situations into opportunities for growth and customer loyalty building.
By becoming more visible on social media, you’ll be able to provide a better experience for your audience and showcase your brand voice.
By simplifying the shopping experience, you’ll get fewer cart abandonments and more people following through on their purchase.
By offering a great deal, you’ll make your customers more eager and excited to buy from you, overcoming objections and positioning your product as a great value.
Finally, by developing a knowledge base, you will help your users overcome common problems and free up the time of your support team for more unusual issues.
With these strategies, you will have a much easier time ensuring that new happy customer stories become an everyday occurrence. In fact, these customers might even become brand ambassadors that propel your business growth.