Another Walker study revealed that by the end of this year, CX will overtake price and product as a key brand differentiator.
This data doesn’t come as a surprise as customers value CX more than anything else today. A PwC study shares that 73 percent of customers consider it as a critical factor influencing their purchase decision. In fact, 86 percent of them are willing to pay a premium for improved shopping convenience and a friendly and welcoming online experience.
Thus, customer experience is the make-or-break factor for ecommerce businesses today, regardless of their size. Read on to learn some awesome ways to create a memorable customer experience.
Center your customer experience strategies around the customer journey
When looking at improving your CX, it’s critical to get in the shoes of the customer and be mindful of their needs, preferences, and point of view (POV) at every step of their journey with you. That’s where the customer journey becomes important!
Adopting a journey-based approach is the sure-shot way to customer success. The 2020 State of Customer Journey Management and CX Measurement Report revealed that high-performing businesses heavily rely on this approach to maximize business results.
In fact, 79 percent (8 in 10) of the CX, analytics, customer care, and marketing professionals surveyed agree that a customer journey-based strategy is critical to the overall success of their business.
Map your customer journey by visually illustrating the processes they use and their needs and perceptions through their relationship with your brand. Most milestones in the customer journey may look like a variation of the following:
Awareness> Research> Evaluation> Purchase> Adoption or Onboarding > Retention> Advocacy
Besides striving to create awareness, customer retention and customer churn are the harsh realities that no ecommerce business can afford to ignore. Mapping customer journeys and centering your strategy around it can help you mitigate customer churn and proactively plan post-purchase engagement, thereby leading the customer towards the advocacy stage.
CX and customer journey are intertwined; however, the end goal is to understand and implement a strategy that meets the needs of the customer at each stage. Here’s how you can use a customer journey map to create an exceptional customer experience cx.
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- Improve your existing CX
The customer journey map can be used to identify the pain points, its root causes, and opportunities for feedback and improvement. The insights derived will help you plan your content and marketing communications.
- Envision future CX
The journey map can help you identify opportunities for innovation, allowing you to come up with products and services that meet customer expectations. The process allows you to identify the infrastructure and capabilities required to deliver your corporate vision.
- Tailor tactics as per the stage
It’s essential to map how you’ll interact with customers at each stage and what value you’ll offer them.
For instance, email marketing can be applied through the journey; however, you’ll need to add value and ensure an excellent customer experience at various stages, whether it’s through nurture emails, transactional emails, or onboarding emails.
- Link CX strategy to the value added to customers
Most CX transformations fail because CX leaders fail to create value for customers. They are often in a hurry to launch disruptive initiatives that delight customers. But they fail to focus on what matters most to customers – value.
Customer journey data is key to understanding important KPIs like customer lifetime value. Focus on the end-to-end customer journey (not individual touchpoints) to set priorities for your CX investments.
90 percent of top-performing CX teams share that a journey-based approach helps them improve their CLV or customer lifetime value. Link your customer experience strategy to a customer journey-based approach that helps you go beyond single interactions and determine what drives customer value.
Focus on customer value optimization
Consider this as an extension of the previous point as CVO or customer value optimization is all about creating a great customer journey and maximizing the ROI for all marketing activities.
So, a typical growth formula for an ecommerce CVO will look like this –
G = T x CR x AOV
Where, G= growth, T=traffic, CR=conversion rate, and AOV=average order value.
Most ecommerce businesses only focus on getting traffic to their site. Attracting traffic is tough, but getting this traffic to make a purchase is tougher. The above formula clearly shows how multiple factors influence sales, profits, or customer loyalty.
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Customer value optimization allows you to offer the right amount of nurturing to your customers, increasing the chances of securing a lead or a purchase. It’s a pretty straightforward approach that involves:
- Identifying the most valuable customers
What category do your customers fall in? Are they loyal, bad, or average customers? If they contribute more value to your business they are your loyal customers. On the other hand, the ones having low CLV are ones taking up a lot of customer service time or buying low-margin products.
Identify and classify these customer types to know which segment you need to prioritize in terms of investments.
- Aligning your products or services to maximize CLV
Next, focus on increasing the CLV. This typically means prioritizing loyal customers who are already contributing to your business. However, it doesn’t mean ignoring the ‘bad’ ones.
There are three approaches to increasing CLV –
- Acquiring new high-value customers
- Transforming the not-so-loyal ones into brand advocates
- Getting more value out of your existing loyal customers
As digital technologies continue to disrupt lives, customers expect brands to supersede the standards of excellence, performance, and everything in between. As a result, businesses are investing in exciting new technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and big data among others to connect with and engage their customers.
Those organizations willing to embrace these technologies are in a position to stand out from the crowd and offer rich CX.
For instance, AI-powered self-help services can greatly improve CX. Customers like to find answers without any assistance. Gartner estimates that by 2030 a billion service tickets will be raised through customer-owned bots. Consider investing in AI and other tools to add to customer delight.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of tools available for various services offered by brands. For instance, there are a variety of tools that ecommerce marketers can use to make data-driven decisions.
Similarly, if your site supports charitable initiatives or is involved in non-profit fundraising, you can make the donation process seamless with tools like WordPress donation plugins.
Customers are no longer loyal to a product or price. They only care about the unique experiences you offer. Ecommerce businesses should understand this and invest in processes and technologies that ensure the best experiences for their audience.
Invest in remarkable UX design
Ecommerce UX design centers around providing a simple, logical, and enjoyable shopping experience for customers. It goes without saying, failing to offer a good ecommerce UX design can lead to poor customer engagement and high abandonment rates.
The below statistics point to the high online shopping cart abandonment rate over years.
Obviously, the visitors aren’t impressed with the existing ecommerce site UX! This data from the Baymard Institute clearly shows how poor-UX related factors contribute to high abandonment rates.
Customers value a seamless user experience and user interface. Therefore, it’s wise to invest in creating a positive online experience, one that makes your visitors feel good about the brand they are interacting with.
For instance, optimizing your checkout experience by creating a convenient and trusted checkout process can reduce checkout fears and improve your site’s credibility.
Finally, pay attention to factors like visual and typographic hierarchies, website formatting, web accessibility, SEO, and navigation to boost your site’s UX and improve conversions.
Turn to your team
Having a strong team with the right set of attitudes and training is key to offering an exceptional customer experience. Hence, to make significant advances in CX, you should turn to your employees. Your staff is the first and last point of customer engagement. That makes them an important piece in the CX puzzle.
Recruit candidates whose persona and background are inclined towards customer service. Train them to listen to customer feedback and understand human behavior and intent, thus empowering them to create personalized experiences for customers.
The company culture should revolve around helping customers overcome obstacles and win and delivering timely and personalized experiences that inspire brand loyalty. Your staff should be fully grounded in these core values. From the initial point of contact to the after-sales service, all business departments should be trained to uphold these values.
Moreover, allow your employees to share customer insights and customer feedback on the existing product or customer service wins and shortcomings. This will motivate your team to share opinions and feedback and deliver thoughtful, supportive, and personalized customer engagement.
CX Metrics: Know How to Measure CX
CX is not a subjective concept. A CX leader has to measure and track several metrics, namely the customer satisfaction score (CSAT), net promoter score (NPS), customer effort score, customer lifetime value, and others.
Let’s have a look at what these KPIs are and their significance.
Customer lifetime value
This is the most indicative metric of the effectiveness of a firm’s CX strategy. That’s because the lifetime value of each customer measures the ROI of your CX efforts and the overall revenue you’ll accrue.
Customer lifetime value ((CLV or LTV) aims at quantifying the total value of a customer during their relationship with your brand. According to a Forrester report, tracking CLV can help marketing professionals maximize efficiency, demonstrate economic value, and leverage advances in data management for improving their CX.
CLV is a critical metric that measures the success of a business through revenue and justifies investments. Yet, it’s critical to measure feedback metrics like NPS, CSAT, and CES.
Net promoter score (NPS)
Net promoter score is a customer loyalty score derived from asking customers closed-ended questions like – ‘On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?’
The objective of NPS is to get a simple numerical score that represents customer experience.
Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
CSAT surveys gauge customer satisfaction with the product or service. It can be expressed with a 5 or 7-point scale (1 being very unsatisfied and 7 being extremely satisfied). It can also be captured through binary yes or no answers.
Unlike NPS, which asks customers to consider their overall emotion towards a brand, CSAT focuses on something specific, that is whether or not they are satisfied.
Customer effort score (CES)
Customer effort score measures the experience with a brand in terms of how tough or easy it is for customers to complete an action.
Ideally, CES surveys are shared after a customer completes the interaction with the customer service team.
Questions such as ‘How easy was it to get your issue resolved?’ and a rating scale going from ‘extremely satisfied’ to ‘extremely satisfied.’ NPS surveys also work well after customers have reached important milestones in their journey.
For instance, it can be sent after they have signed up for a free product trial or after they have completed a transaction.
Customer experience is a key factor that influences purchasing decisions. Hence, crafting a well-thought CX strategy can help you retain customers and skyrocket your revenue over time.
Customers remember and appreciate sensational experiences. Use the tips and tricks shared above to get your CX strategy right and gain an edge over your competitors.
Gaurav Belani is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. He has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing. He likes sharing his knowledge in a wide range of domains ranging from ecommerce, startups, marketing to human capital management and much more. His work is featured in several authoritative business publications. Connect with him on Twitter at @belanigaurav.