The saying “the customer is always right” may grate on your nerves as a busy business owner (we ALL know that’s not always the case). But, while you can question the accuracy of the phrase, the underlying message it shares is bang on.
For every business owner, whether you market services or sell products, your key to success lies in making life easier for the customer. The most amazing services or products won’t get you anywhere if the needs of the customer aren’t prioritised first.
Here’s an example. You’re an eCommerce store owner who happens to sell THE most fabulous shoes. They look amazing, they feel great and they are sure to be a hit with your market. You set up your online store to showcase them and wait for the sales to come flowing in.
But the sales don’t come. You’ve spent so much time focusing on the product that you’ve ignored the needs of your customers. They find it difficult to navigate your store; they run into trouble adding shoes to their cart and discover they can’t pay online.
While they agree your shoes are the bomb, the process to purchase them is just too hard, so they abandon their cart and move on to the next store. You’ve lost a sale plus the prospect of a repeat customer. All because you didn’t take the time to consider their needs.
That’s why prioritising the customer experience, thinking about the experience of the end-user and taking time to develop an overarching customer experience strategy is vital to the long term success of your business.
What is the customer experience (CX)?
The customer experience (CX) takes in the entire customer journey, from the moment someone first becomes aware of your brand. CX is all about targeting each customer interaction to remove sticking points and generate goodwill. The focus of CX is on brand building and revenue.
Examples of good CX include:
- Creating an experience to attract attention and encourage engagement
- Putting the customer first at every stage of the buyer’s journey
- Encouraging customer feedback and acknowledging their input.
Why CX matters: Without a clear pathway or responsive service, customers won’t enjoy the buying experience and WILL go elsewhere.
How is this different to the user experience (UX)?
The user experience (UX) relates to how the end user engages with your product and/or site during specific interactions. UX looks at the usability of certain processes, such as signing up to an email list or paying for an item, rather than how customers generally perceive your brand.
Examples of good UX include:
- Designing a seamless buying process to reduce barriers to the sale
- Developing products and services that are reliable and user-friendly
- Ensuring products and services address customer pain points.
Why UX matters: If customers can’t easily interact with your site, they won’t stick around to wait for it to get fixed – they WILL go elsewhere.
Both CX and UX are key to attracting new customers, retaining existing clients, building a strong brand and delivering value. But before you can start working on improving the experience, it’s best to set out a clear strategy to guide you along the way.
Where does the customer experience strategy come in?
The customer experience strategy takes into account elements from CX and UX, to develop a dedicated customer journey. It’s an actionable way to improve the customer and the user experience to build loyalty, gain more traffic and make more of those vital conversions.
A good customer experience strategy is based on 10 key elements:
- Competitor research – How does your competition manage CX and UX? What could you do better?
- Customer feedback – What are the biggest pain points for your customers? What are they struggling with the most?
- Market insights – What’s currently happening across your market? Are there any emerging trends that you should take into account?
- Mission, vision and values – What do you stand for? What does this look like for your customers?
- Journey mapping – Can you see the path your customers take now and how it can be improved?
- The end goal – How do you want customers to feel at the end of the process? What do you hope to achieve?
- Roadblocks: What problems need to be prioritised first? Are there any quick fixes or quick wins that you can work on right away?
- Training & solutions – What training do your people need to improve CX and UX? Do you need to integrate new apps or solutions?
- Metrics: How will you measure the progress of your new processes? What will good experiences look like to you (and to your customers?)
How small changes can make a BIG difference
As a small business owner, you might not be ready to completely overhaul your processes to improve the customer experience. But, you’ll be surprised at how effective making a few small changes can be – they can make a BIG difference to your customers.
Check your website
The first step is checking how your website operates from the user’s perspective. Take some time to navigate the site to ensure it makes sense. Do you think someone who has never visited before would know what to do? How many clicks does it take to complete an action?
Test download links, email opt-ins and contact forms. Buy an item to see how the process looks from the customer’s point of view. You’re bound to discover little niggles which you can get your developer to look at or engage a website specialist to investigate further.
Review your processes
The second step is to look at the entire customer journey, from start to finish. When someone reaches out, how do you respond? Do you use email automation to provide information? Do you invite people to make an appointment? Do you call them to have a chat?
Often, things that make the customer experience better makes it easier for you to run your business too. See if there is any way you can automate repetitive tasks to save time and help you deliver a more responsive experience. A talented website designer can help with this.
Talk to a specialist
If you’re strapped for time or need a second opinion, it’s a good idea to get someone who understands the power of CX and UX. Many website developers and designers can help you with this. Specialising in optimisation (as well as design), a good website designer can review your site to identify areas for improvement.
Some developers go a step further and can integrate email automation software, customer relationship management systems and project management solutions with your website. This can save you lots of time and instantly boost the experience of your customers.
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Naked Digital can help get you started
Experts in website design, development and automation, the team at Naked Digital is ready to work with you to deliver an amazing customer experience. From beautiful, fast and functional websites to complete email automation, our focus on SEO and organic marketing helps you create a seamless experience for customers at any stage of their journey with you
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