Creating the Right Online Customer Experience

« Blog

When thinking about customer experience, many people still imagine old school interactions that take place face-to-face. As more shopping and communicating with customers happens online, it’s crucial to consider digital customer service so that consumers have the best possible experience when interacting with your small business online.

Speed is Crucial

When evaluating any website content, first consider how easy it is to load a page. While everyone wants their website to have enough information and look professional and high-tech, having too many graphics or add-ons can make a page load more slowly. A slow website can end a customer experience before it’s really started. A wait time of ten seconds is enough for half of consumers to give up and go somewhere else.

If you have the resources to support premium content, then there is no need to skimp. However, keep in mind that not all customers have high-speed internet. If a website is more complex, it still must load fast regardless of a user’s network connection. Also, a streamlined website is needed for mobile browsers. If your website budget is limited, prioritize what is most important. “Less is more” definitely applies in this case. Even if you have the best graphics, don’t count on customers waiting long for them to load.

Deliver What Customers Want

Perhaps you’ve realized that online customers are especially impatient. Microsoft found that a website 250 milliseconds slower than the competition loses traffic. Digital customers expect instantaneous results, and this applies even after the website loads. To facilitate the best experience, customers should be able to find what they’re looking for without hassle. Navigation is only part of this. In addition to creating a website that’s easy to navigate, site search technology is critical.

Many companies don’t invest enough in their search capabilities even though this is the simplest way to connect the customer with what they want. This investment doesn’t just add to the customer experience, it benefits businesses too. This is because searches and their corresponding clicks are trackable. This shows a company what their customers are searching for and allows them to highlight these demands and create tailored content.

Include Reviews

It’s easy to go to Yelp or do a Google search for customer reviews. Does this mean they shouldn’t be included on your website? Probably not. Marketing content just isn’t as effective as customer reviews are, perhaps because reviews are 12 times more trusted than specially crafted content that promotes products.

One study found that more than 80% of consumers thought reviews were vital when purchasing a product and more than half looked for websites with reviews. This means reviews should be on a website and viewable on a phone to build trust and a better experience.

Build on Existing Material

When your brand is already established, there’s no reason to change it in the digital world. The website should line up with what customers already know about the company. Providing consistency means that the customer gets a similar experience in person, on a phone or at a computer. Every subsequent interaction should build on the previous one. Having similar patterns, colors and language allows people to easily identify your brand.

 Be Careful With Social Media

A website isn’t enough in today’s world. You likely also have a few social media accounts for your business. Your branding should also match on these sites, and it should be easy to navigate between these platforms.

While social media is important, there can be a limit. If you can’t stay up to date with every account, then you may need to scale back. Consumers like being able to chat with companies on Facebook or Twitter, but they expect a prompt response. When tweeting, 86% of consumers expect a response in a day while 65% want a response within two hours. If you can’t deliver, this could turn into a negative experience. It is important to be visible, but this backfires if you bite off more than you can chew.

Check back on the blog for more tips on how to create the best customer experience.