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Five ways to upgrade your brand’s online customer experience

By Alexandra Gavril - February 18, 2020

You have a fantastic product that’s easy to use. You have competitive prices. You also have an engaging presence on Instagram. But unless your brand’s online customer experience is exceptional, you’ll have trouble attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.

Seven years ago, research giant Walker predicted that customer experience (CX) would overtake price and product as the primary brand differentiator by 2020. Well, 2020 is here, which means it’s time to review and improve your brand’s customer experience if you want to keep growing a successful business online.

Not sure how to go about it and what you can do to provide an exceptional online customer experience that can persuade prospects to choose you over your competitors and customers to keep coming back to you?

In this post we’ll share a few tips and advice on how to upgrade your brand’s online customer experience so you become and continue to be your customers’ first choice.

If you’re not familiar with CX, make sure to first read our post that not only explains what it is and what it means to provide a superior customer experience but also shares a few basic tactics on how to achieve it.

1. Pay attention to what people are saying online about your brand

Whether they’re reviews on sites like TrustPilot or on personal but authority blogs, on your Facebook page or on public forums or social media groups, you need to monitor what your customers are saying about you online.

Why? Because it’s one of the most effective ways to not only get honest feedback but also to resolve issues for unhappy customers and find ways to improve your business.

Nowadays, people have a variety of platforms and channels at their disposal where they can share their positive experiences or vent their frustrations. Make sure you take the time to monitor these platforms and channels to learn what customers are saying about their experience with your business.

Really listen to what they are complaining about and use their comments and feedback to find ways to improve future customers’ experience with your business moving forward.

Monitoring comments and mentions of your brand is also known as “social listening” and you need to make it a priority this year. While it may seem time-consuming, it’s actually not because there are lots of social listening tools you can use to monitor mentions of your brand online.

Start with these seven tools to get started with social listening. Then read these posts to learn how to deal with bad reviews as well as how to respond to social media complaints so you can build or regain your audience’s trust.

2. Become your own customer

It’s said that when Robert De Niro went to New York to prepare for the role of Bickle in Taxi Driver, he acquired a taxi license and reportedly drove 12-hour shifts for a month picking up fares. So, when the filming began, De Niro didn’t have to imagine what it would be like to be a taxi driver. That’s because he was a taxi driver.

So if you want to see what it’s like to be your customer and what your customers experience is like when visiting your site, searching for information, buying a product or asking for support, you must literally become your own customer.

What does this mean exactly?

It means you should go through your customers’ journey, step by step – from researching your product online, visiting your website from desktop and mobile, making a purchase, using the product, calling, emailing or contacting customer support via social media, trying to return something, etc.

If you want to get a better understanding of what it’s like for your customers, you need to go through the entire journey. Make notes of anything that seems off, difficult, confusing, frustrating or slow. Then fix those problems so your customers never have to deal with them.

3. Deliver on your brand promise

If your brand promises ease of use and convenience but your site isn’t mobile-friendly and/ or makes it difficult to search for a product or a piece of information, then you’re not delivering on your promise, are you?

If your brand promises fast delivery but most of your customers are complaining about delays, lack of information or not being kept up-to-date with the status of their delivery, then you can’t be surprised if you get lots of complaints and little to no returning customers, can you?

Think about it: it’s your promises, explicit or implicit, that drive your customers’ expectations. So, when your customers discover that you don’t deliver on your promises, they’ll not only feel frustrated but also betrayed.

So, if you want to upgrade your brand’s online customer experience, try your best to deliver on the promises you make to your target audience, whatever those are.

For example, if your brand promises convenience and ease of use, then you’ll need to make sure that your key digital property – your website – is simple to use for anyone who visits it. This means:

  • Intuitive navigation with easy access to your most important pages and information.
  • A simple checkout process that allows both guests and registered users to quickly buy a product on your site.
  • Contact information that’s visible on the homepage and on a dedicated contact page, at a minimum.
  • An FAQ that answers questions that visitors and customers keep asking over the phone, email or on social media.

Read this post for some great tips on how to make your website easy to use.

4. Don’t make them wait

When a visitor subscribes to your email list, don’t wait too long to send them a welcome email to thank them for subscribing. Also don’t wait too long to start a conversation and ask them about their interests, needs, concerns and goals, and how you can help to get them a step closer to their goals.

Do they need information on how to achieve their goals? Do they want to know more about how your product works or maybe see it in action? Do they want to see proof that it’s working and how it has helped others achieve their goals?

Ask them about their interests, concerns and goals. Then, don’t make them wait. Email them the information they’re looking for, whether that’s a case study, a demo, a webinar, or simply answers to their questions and concerns.

When a new customer buys your product, don’t make them wait for delivery information. Email them to let them know when they can expect to receive it. If there’s a delay, inform them.

Once they receive it, don’t make them wait to figure out how to make the most of it. Email them right away with information, tutorials, guides and tips on how to use the product. Also encourage them to reply back with questions or to get in touch whenever they have questions or need your assistance or advice.

If they enquire about returning a product, make it easy for them to fill out a form or contact support. Then let them know when they can expect to get their money back.

Be human. Be transparent. Because it’s things like these that matter most. When you are in the world of internet marketing, it’s easy for your customers to tell when they’re just a number or a real person that you truly care about helping.

In addition, email makes it so easy to communicate and engage with your prospects and customers, no matter what stage they are in the customer journey.

5. Add customer service channels

Some people hate calling customer service and they’d rather email or send a quick message on Facebook. Others prefer calling rather than sending an email and waiting to hear back.

Your customers are diverse and want different options to get in touch with you. Want to upgrade your brand’s online customer experience? Then give your customers choices to communicate with you.

Can they call, text, email, WhatsApp or send you a direct message on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? Whatever options you have, make sure your audience knows all the ways they can get in touch in you to ask for support.

If you’re not sure whether you’re using the right channels, all you need to do is ask. A quick email with a short survey where you ask how they’d prefer to communicate with you could help solve your dilemma.

Wrapping up

Regardless of your niche, online customer experience is crucial when it comes to distinguishing your business from competitors.

Hopefully, the tips and advice in this post will help you to offer a truly exceptional online customer experience that’ll turn first-time visitors into returning and even loyal customers.