To fully understand and measure customer loyalty and satisfaction, many organisations look at both the relational and transactional levels of interaction. Customer relationships are a complex matter and deal with human emotion as much as business.
Management teams want to know how customers see their brand but equally they want to understand any pain points customers face so they are able to improve this and encourage clients to continue buying from them.
Equally though, it’s important to understand the transactions with clients which often give a clear indication of business. Many companies do this by focussing on traditional channels, such as contact centre, using post contact surveys (perhaps via email, SMS or IVR). But to fully capture the customer experience and understand the behaviour and opinions accurately, a business needs to address all the relevant touchpoints within a customer journey and online monitoring is a perfect way to glean a much more comprehensive picture of this.
It is very apparent that, for most organisations, online channels are a key line of communications with customers. Equally, the ways in which the internet is used are becoming more complex all the time – the move towards tablets and smartphones over traditional PCs has been very apparent in recent years. Mobile apps are a cornerstone of the software industry and look set to become even more important. Even within these access points there are different customer journeys. Corporate websites are being used for self-service and support, ecommerce functions and product information. Visitors have many reasons to visit your website; not only because they have a support question, but also to buy your products or to manage their account.
There are five practical tips that I would recommend you consider when it comes to improving your online customer experience strategy:
1. Start small
If you haven’t started measuring the online experience yet, it’s very wise to start off modestly to ensure you aren’t overloaded with data. For example, a lot of companies start by implementing a simple online feedback tool that can answer basic but important questions, such as did you easily find what you were looking for? But this naturally has consequences for your business.
What are you going to do with all suggestions, complaints and ratings that are being fed back to you? Who will decide upon changes and implement them? How do you decide which are the most urgent changes to be made? I would suggest starting with the parts that you think are the most important to the flow of business in your organisation or where you have the highest customer exit rates, for example a ‘shopping cart’ web page. Ask the obvious questions – for example, why are customers leaving their order without purchasing the product?
It’s an ongoing evolutionary process – once the initial surveys are in place and working well it is much more straightforward to add new feedback surveys to other parts of the website.
2. Define what you want to measure
There are many types of scores that are used for customer experience measurements, such as NPS, CES (customer effort) and Csat. These have different uses and can all offer insight into different parts of the customer relationship. Do not forget that capturing feedback is also about qualitative information and insights that are hidden within open comments like suggestions and complaints.
The goal is learning from the comments and feedback so without being able to draw conclusions it’s a futile exercise. It’s also important to get back a good array of feedback from as many responders as possible – with a single rating you are unlikely to know how to improve your processes.
The real answer lies in combining metrics and qualitative data, so you can monitor over time if your response actions and the insights you learn are indeed resulting in better scores.
3. Be relevant
Put simply, if you ask stupid questions you’ll get stupid answers! Many organisations use surveys to capture huge amounts of data on all kinds of topics, but most site visitors do not have the time to fill in more than 20 questions. So it is wise to limit the number of questions and to ask the right thing at the right time. For example, a website visitor may be stuck in a self-service tool.
To check this it is wise to use an event driven survey technology to ask what’s going wrong. This could be visible if visitors are staying on a page for an unusually long amount of time or if click paths do not show a regular pattern. Experience shows that event driven feedback forms increase the amount of relevant customer feedback with more than 60%.
Crucially though, think about what you want to know and which important functions and processes on your website you need to monitor – so you can take away the most amount of relevant information.
4. Take action
Before you start collecting feedback ask yourself this question – is your organisation able to take appropriate action with the feedback from your customers? If the answer is no, then there is no point in starting an online customer experience programme as it will be a waste of resources.
Crucially, the value of feedback is not within the amount you get, but within the actions you take. Thankfully, the big advantage of modern feedback technology is that you can really zoom in on the things you want to improve on your website.
Think about what you want to achieve and what the consequences can be internally for your organisation. Engage with the teams within your organisation; discuss the potential outcomes and the benefits of learning these insights. Also, communicate your successes from this – both internally and to your customers.
5. Make it a team effort
Implementing a feedback or online survey tool is not just a gimmick for the smart e-marketer. There are a huge amount of exciting and fancy feedback tools out there on the market, but this can sometimes cloud the way to make serious improvements to your customer journeys.
The tools need to be relevant to the way your business works. The information you learn from customer feedback and suggested improvements, ideally, need to involve an entire organisation. But these process improvements can prove to be a heavy burden on internal processes such as logistics, administration, technical modifications on the website, product improvements, etc.
These improvements will bring both short and long term benefits to your business and it’s important to recognise the distinctions between the too. Short term improvements will bring quick rewards but more substantial, long-term improvements can really transform the success of the business.
Used properly, feedback tools are not just toys, they help you to make strategic choices where the customer is put first and encouraged to stay loyal to your business.
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