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CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE   |   POSTED ON 20.06.2018

How to create a great customer experience online

Creating a standout digital customer experience is one of the most important tools available to the business owner. Put simply, customers who have a great experience are more likely to be loyal and recommend your business to their friends.

In a world of social media and online reviews, the digital customer experience and online chat is crucial to your success.

1. Create a vision for your ‘real world’ customer experience

The first step in your customer experience strategy is to have a clear customer-focused vision that you can communicate with your customers and staff.

The easiest way to define this vision is to write up a set of statements that act as your guiding principles. Most successful businesses have what are often referred to as their ’10 Commandments’ of customer service which outline what your business delivers and outcomes your customers should expect.

Every member of your team needs to understand these principles and management should embed them into all the training and development of staff.

2. Understand your customers and what they want

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Understanding who your customers are and why they’re coming to your business and website is the next crucial step.

The most popular way to craft your customer experience design is to create ‘personas’ which identifies customer types and their personalities. For instance, one persona could be “Sally, a stay at home mother who is looking for natural pet care products for the family dog.”

Creating personas your staff understand and relate to will guide them in how clients like to be served and the outcomes they are looking for.

3. Checking in

One of the better ways to get your experience off to a great start is to use check in offers on Facebook, or review sites like Zomato. Little offers, like a free drink or free parking, sets a great mood for your customer right from the start and encourages them to share their experience online.

4. An emotional connection

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Customers are driven more by how they feel, so creating an emotional connection with your customers is paramount. Research shows 53% of a customer experience is driven by emotions which shape their attitude to your brand and the likelihood of them recommending your business.

The New Science of Customer Emotions shows emotionally engaged customers are three times more likely to recommend your product or service and re-purchase, 44% less likely to shop around and are less price sensitive.

5. Reviews

The growth of product reviews through platforms like Trip Advisor, Zomato and Google Reviews have made an indelible impact on digital customer experience. This is spreading to social media too with Facebook and Twitter playing a role.

Any digital customer experience you design should ensure reviews are a key part of your strategy as they can be critical to boosting engagement and enquiries with your business.

6. Managing reviews

Make sure you capture all your reviews. If you’re a small business, you might be tempted to cruise around different sites and deal with it that way. But it usually involves a lot less in time to use a platform like Sprout Social for review management, customer experience and responses.

7. Asking for reviews

The best way to get positive customer reviews is to deliver great service and then ask for a review immediately.

The right time is after you’ve done the little things like validated their parking or confirmed their delivery by email. But even better is when they respond positively at to your service of their own volition. Failing that, you can always ask for a review through one of your regular newsletters to your loyal customers.

8. Handling negative complaints and reviews

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What happens when you get a negative review? If your business gets a negative review or feedback, you need to answer it. Start by ensuring you address any problems with your service model if it has fallen down, isn’t appropriate or customer expectations haven’t been set correctly.

It can be challenging to get out of your natural defensive mode and see the issue through your customer eyes. If they are in the right, you need to correct things pronto, being sure to show the world you have done this.

However, if you have communicated your proposition clearly and delivered it, probably the best way to respond is to be polite yet firm.

9. Social media master

Facebook and other social media sites have become increasingly important in managing the digital customer experience. Have someone responsible as a key part of your digital customer experience strategy, so they can respond promptly.

Good examples of businesses doing this well include Australia Post and Melbourne’s Metro Trains, who have dedicated staff constantly looking for rave reviews or problems and responding to them in real time.

10. Act on employee feedback

Great businesses have processes in place to constantly receive feedback from their service staff at regular intervals – weekly or monthly. While you need to be careful to ensure one incident doesn’t overshadow hundreds of others – good or bad – you should listen closely to their feedback.

Employee feedback can be crucial to making those little adjustments which put your business above its competitors.

11. Straight talk

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The advent of social media allows business to speak directly with their customers and never be the last to know if something has gone wrong. When you reply to people honestly, fixing any problems they have had, they and other people will see it and form a positive impression of your brand.

With communications avenues like Facebook Messenger on your brand Facebook page, you can create direct relationships with your customer and build positive customer experiences.

12. Delighting customers

If you have implemented a customer service model which is clear in expectations and flexible in its delivery then your business should be great at doing one thing – delighting customers. Empathy with the customer as a person is the key human input into the design of your customer experience model to make it work.

Put yourselves in your customer’s skin and walk through the entire experience, seeing it through their eyes. This will give you insight to help make the adjustments which delight your customers

If you do things that make people happy, there are more likely to review you and tell people that you’re fabulous. That is the ultimate way of marketing yourself and creating awareness – encouraging your customers to spread the word for your business.

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If you want to learn more or need help evaluating your online customer experience, contact us and let’s chat about your brand.

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