5 Simple Ways to Improve Customer Experience

website-responsive-chicagoCompanies are increasingly becoming aware of the need to create an excellent customer experience (CX). However, taking it from an awareness to actually implementing it can seem like a daunting task.

Before we delve into best ways of achieving a successful customer experience, let’s define what it is. According to our friends at Wikipedia, it is defined as “the product of an interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction includes a customer's attraction, awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy and purchase and use of a service. It is measured by the individual's experience during all points of contact against the individual's expectations.”

Perhaps the two most important points to take out of that definition is: 1) it occurs over the duration of the relationship, and 2) it occurs during all points of contact and is measured against the individual’s expectations.

Certainly, companies like Amazon and Home Depot have set the bar high, leaving individuals to expect a similar experience wherever they go. While it may take years to achieve a complete and cohesive CX in your company, here are 5 tips to get you going in the right direction.

1. Ensure Your Website Performance Is Up To Snuff

As everything is moving digital these days, individuals want information quickly, when and where they want it. As little as 5 years ago, a site that loaded in 2-3 seconds was considered fast. Today, a couple of seconds is at the threshold of what is considered acceptable. Recent statistics have shown that 40% of mobile users will bounce elsewhere if the site doesn’t load in 3 seconds. And Amazon calculated that a slowdown of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. While you might not be Amazon, the point is clear. A slow loading site will lead to lost conversions and sales.

2. Get Buy-In From The Top

Creating an excellent customer experience needs to start at the top of the organization. The C-level should be driving, empowering and encouraging their employees to constantly work on improving their relationships with customers. Since the definition of customer experience includes all points of contact, employees need to be constantly aware of the importance of their interaction with customers.

3. Be Fully Responsive

Every month, the percentage of web traffic coming from mobile devices climbs higher. Tablets, phones and PCs all have different screen formats, and you need to ensure that your site renders faithfully on any device by using resizable graphics and easy to read text. Make sure that your website is fully responsive to varying screen sizes so you don’t lose users who access it on the go. Make sure to adequately test across these various devices and browsers.

4. Make Use of Video

People love watching online videos. And not just the latest singing dog sensation on YouTube. For companies, videos are an effective way to engage customers, build trust, and improve SEO rankings. A customer testimonial told through a video is going to have a much bigger impact than reading a quote. Watching a training video will lead to better user retention than reading a document. The personal touch delivered through a video is going to be better felt than a written message. And Google also loves video.

5. Align Online and Offline

It’s important to recognize that the customer experience extends throughout your organization at every touch point with the customer. It needs to be consistent at every turn. Think about all the ways a customer interacts with your brand. An email marketing campaign, social networking, live chat, speaking to a call center representative, picking up will-call at a branch, the packaging of the product...the list goes on. Even subtle things such on-hold messages and email signatures need to deliver the same message and appear seamless.

Conclusion

As companies get better at delivering customer experience, the bar will continually rise along with customer expectations. Many companies are still behind the curve and there are no quick fixes. Taking a holistic approach with the support and buy-in of the entire organization is essential.