Satisfied customers come back more often, spend more money, and cost about 30% less to serve. For those reasons, customer satisfaction has always been an important metric for businesses, and especially retailers. The challenge to any business case for improved customer satisfaction is found in balancing the needs of a chicken - investment in customers - with the needs of an egg - the additional revenue needed to invest.
Improving customer experience (CX) is the comprehensive answer to this challenge, as it is the sum of your customers’ end-to-end views of your business. When done well, CX improvements are also among the most cost effective solutions out there. To create a best-fit program for your goals, and bottom line, address customer experience with these three actions.
Know your values
CX values are the metrics with which businesses can measure individual customer experience factors and overall customer experience success.
Understand your factors
CX factors are the customer behaviors and business traits that serve as leading indicators of total customer experience.
Make the improvements
CX improvements are actions worth taking to better your business’s customer experience.
Customer experience values
Search engine results pages, landing pages, product pages, and checkouts are all examples of where businesses provide information to consumers with the expectation of moving closer to intended results.
The effect of a business-to-consumer engagement point can be evaluated on two different scales - both shown in the chart below. Customer experience addresses engagement, spend, and cost-to-serve by using the customer value metric of delight to make a positive impact on the business value metrics.
Build on customer experience values with these three steps:
Know your baseline
Establish a baseline of where you are now for defined engagement points on the consumer’s buying journey. Use all of the value metrics from end-to-end. The more metrics you quantify, the more accurate your evaluations will be.
Define historical trends
Develop historical trends by measuring how these values performed last week, last month, month-over-month, quarter-over-quarter and so on. Create your historical trend by completing the dotted line at regular intervals.
Create projections by using historical trends to make educated assumptions about the future. Base these projections on how changes to the below CX factors have effected your CX values historically.
Six factors of customer experience
68% of Americans say brand trust significantly affects their decision to purchase. Your brand is the first place consumers look to find trustworthiness. As this first factor of customer experience is a product of the remaining five, cultivating trust takes time and persistence.
73% of consumers consider transparency to be more important than price. Transparency is the measure of how obvious business practices and product or service offerings are to the consumer. The less fine print the better. What is being sold should be as clear to the consumer as it is to the seller.
94% of reasons given for a website being trustworthy are a result of design. Design affects the path customers take to find what they need, educate themselves on an offering and eventually make a purchase.
The shopping cart is where consumers finally become customers. However, as only three out of ten shoppers complete a purchase after adding items to the cart, scoring that last conversion is not straightforward. Three leading challenges consumers face in shopping carts are ease of navigation, data entry and transparency of fees or additional costs.
84% of customers say they will leave a brand after one poor delivery experience. Order delivery, customer service, competitive pricing or add ons all fall under performance. While businesses focus inward on improving bottom-lines, consumers are comparing us to one another. Add ons like fast, accurate delivery need to be addressed to create well-rounded measures of business success.
Consumers are 90% more likely to trust your brand or product if recommended by a friend. Advocacy, also known as word-of-mouth marketing is the gateway to larger business gains, including the Network Effect. The Network Effect assumes an increased value in goods or services as a result of increased adoption or use. Think of avocados or Hulu. The first step to creating these network effects is to get people purchasing your product and then encouraging them to openly admit those purchases.
Improvements on the cheap
Luckily for retailers who want to improve customer experience, many of the factors above can be accounted for with a new prioritization of effort, and not necessarily more money. Here are some tips on cost-effective places to focus:
As trust is directly tied to your brand, retailers should find positive ways to get involved in the communities to whom they market. Brand reviews from external sites and press also go a long way toward establishing trust. If you don’t have access to a publicist, building a strong following on social media is also a powerful way to show trustworthiness to consumers. Product ratings and the ability to write reviews on product pages is another strong indicator of product quality. Finally, getting the next six steps right will have the most impact on boosting trust and keeping it at a high level.
Orient questions of design, content, service and the availability of information around the customer's perspective. Be forthcoming with pertinent information by thoroughly training service personnel or making answers easy to find. Before updating a website or webpage consider how the flow of information from page to page, or within pages, may be used to give customers as much information as they need to make an informed decision and say yes to your offering.
Great design is both aesthetically pleasing and practical. Focus on ease of use first. Then use graphic design and content to compliment functionality with the character of your business.
Shopping carts perform best when they can be completed on a single page. Sticker shock around fees or other added costs can be avoided by making product page pricing easy to read and understand.
Competitive performance is all about finding ways to play to the strengths of your business. Begin by understanding the market around your business. Consider what consumers may be looking for. Then evaluate what your business can contribute. Little nuances can reorient a consumer, just like walking into a room scented by a realtor's fresh-baked cookies.
Encouraging customers to talk about a good experience isn’t as hard as you may think. Promotions like credit toward a next purchase incentivize customers to come back and to spread the word about your tremendous retail prowess.
Clyde’s product protection program was developed with all of the above factors and actions in mind. It is also free to install and use, making Clyde one of the few ways that investing in external solutions to customer experience immediately earns money, as opposed to spending it down. Think of all the added revenue you'll be able to reinvest.