If you’re in the online retail space you may think it’s nearly impossible to really engage with your customers. We live in an age where we can search online for what we need, click to pay, click to ship, click to leave a review, click to return, click to ask a question….you get it, right? We click click click or tap tap tap on our phones to make both big and small purchases every single day without ever talking to a single human being. So your customer clicks to shop, you ship the product or send the download and then what? Is that it? What is your customer experience like? What makes you stand out from the thousands of other online shops? We truly believe that a really good customer experience can set you apart from all of the others and keep your customers not only coming back for more but telling others about you. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Know your customers. Here at Steadfast, we spend time upfront getting to know each and every one of our clients. We ask questions on phone consultations and we send questionnaires asking for their favorite place to shop, favorite coffee shop, etc. This allows us to get to know them better plus be able to show them appreciation in specific ways that really matter to them. As an online shop owner, you’re probably not getting the opportunity to speak to your customers on the phone or send out questionnaires after they make a purchase. That doesn’t mean you can’t get to know them though. Your eCommerce platform likely has an option to automate emails to your customers that will suggest items they might like based on recent purchases – that can be a quick and easy way to engage. You could even take it a step further though and provide a customer service line that will actually take time to speak to a customer, hear their needs or requests and maybe even make shopping recommendations based on what the customer is telling them. Also, look at your demographics and see who your ideal customer is and what matters to them. Maybe your customers care far more about the quality of the product than they do the cost. Or maybe your ideal customer really wants to see free shipping with quick turnaround times. Whatever it is, learn what they want, learn what matters to them and build your customer experience off of that.
- Simplify your processes. Have you ever shopped somewhere that you felt like the entire process was confusing and at the end of the purchase you really weren’t sure if you did everything right or if you even were going to end up receiving what you wanted? Don’t let that be what you are known for! Make the ordering, customer service, return, refund, (you name it) process simple! Ordering should be straightforward and easy to figure out, not a puzzle where the customer is left wondering where the missing piece is. If a customer has a question, make it easy for them to get in contact with your company. Don’t hide customer service phone numbers or emails – put them in plain sight on your website. Returns and refunds are going to happen in any retail setting, it’s just natural and it’s something that should be budgeted into your business anyways – don’t make it hard for a customer to make a return or receive a refund. Give clear, precise directions on how to process the return and have someone available for further questions. Whatever you can do to make the experience with your company as simple as possible – do that. Nobody wants complicated shopping!
- Ask for feedback. Don’t just stop there though – act on the feedback you receive. Feedback and reviews are huge for any business really but especially for online retailers. Be sure to ask for feedback after a purchase has been made and when you receive that feedback, act on the suggestions customers give you. Respond to them and thank them for their time and let them know how you plan to improve on what they suggested. I can assure you that there aren’t many times that a customer is receiving a direct response from a feedback form or review they submitted. It’s such an easy way to level up your customer experience because it shows you really care and are open to suggestions and improvements.
In general, showing your customers that you care can make a world of difference. Most people will remember a really good customer experience and be willing to share it with others. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon actually said, “If you do build a great customer experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful”. He’s so right and Amazon has done a pretty great job of knowing their customers, simplifying their processes and making improvements along the way. There is a reason that Amazon does so well and gets repeat customers every single day – they’ve made it easy and fun for us to shop and you can do the same.