What is the #1 business rule of 2012? Creating and maintaining an excellent customer experience.
Business common sense?
We have been trained, especially during our in-store shopping experiences, that the customer is always right.
excellent customer service = positive customer experience = excellent customer loyalty, retention, and recommendations
Common sense, right? Apparently, not so much.
In a recent fastcompany.com article, the customer experience is given center stage and the author prompts the question, “why is so much of the business world out of touch with the concept of customer experience?”
Once upon a time, there was not the huge endless amount of competition that now motivates businesses to give it their all regarding their customers. If you wanted a car, you bought a Ford Model-T, a few decades later, if you wanted a computer, you bought an IBM. These businesses previously focused on production and distribution rather than worrying about the actual shopping experience of the customer. However, as competition began to get hot and heavy, so too did marketing strategy.
Venders began to slowly realize that the way to a customer’s heart was not simply through price, or convenience to get to the store, rather through creating the optimal shopping experience for the customer once inside the store.
The online story
The internet has now added another type of shopping experience and has brought on new levels of competition. The rules of business are quickly being redefined and renumbered. In addition to product quality and variety, an added emphasis is being put on the customer experience during online product acquisition. The better the customer experience the better the business performance.
What is online customer experience?
The online customer experience is what your customers feel and go through while trying to achieve their goals on your website.
Which metrics measure the online customer experience?
Engagement time – How long are visitors interacting on your webpages
Attention Time – How long are visitors reading/scanning your webpage content?
Click Rate – In which areas and on which webpage elements are visitors clicking?
Hover Rate – Over which webpage elements are visitors hovering?
Scroll-Reach Percentages – How far down the page are visitors scrolling?
How To Improve the Customer Experience
Don’t panic! It’s not hard to gather this abundant qualitative data. It’s just a matter of smart tools and enough popcorn After observing your visitors’ online behavior and how they experience your website long enough, you begin to understand how to go about your own website optimization process (to help your customers achieve their goals, not your own). You are given answers regarding which webpage elements should be replaced, re-positioned on the page, which content needs to be rewritten, shortened or lengthened, which links and calls to action need to go or be emphasized, etc.
Once your visitors feel comfortable browsing, shopping, reading, interacting on your website, you can breath easier knowing you’re delivering a good customer experience that keeps your customers coming and your business benefiting.