Digital technologies have made it easier than ever for marketers to demonstrate the return on investment from their initiatives – making them much more accountable as a result. In this climate, it’s natural for businesses to want the biggest bang for their marketing buck.
It’s therefore surprising to see so few businesses consider what happens after a customer converts, or strive to understand what the customer’s journey has been to that point. In an age where it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, this has to be an oversight.
With this in mind, this article will look at the three steps businesses should take to provide an exceptional customer experience, and increase client retention and conversion as a result.
Step one - focus on the customer experience
One of the best ways to keep users coming back for more is to ensure that every aspect of their experience with a brand is of the highest standard possible. This might sound obvious, but many businesses still don’t place enough importance on what is known as the ‘customer experience’ (CX).
Advances in technology are central to this discussion and an increasing diversity of platforms has both made customer journeys more complex and afforded users ever-more choice in how and where they interact with organisations online.
Increased innovation has raised the bar too, as particularly forward-thinking competitors (within and outside their own sector) raise customer expectations even further. So, while the customer experience is now more important than ever, it has simultaneously become more difficult to manage.
Organisations can tackle this challenging landscape via activities such as customer experience mapping, ensuring that all digital platforms work together to meet the needs of the consumer and that the appropriate messages are delivered at the right time to achieve maximum impact. It’s also important of course that CX is continually reviewed and refined through usability testing and usability reviews, to ensure it remains on track for success.
Step two - simplify the customer experience
While digital technologies have introduced challenges to delivering exceptional customer experiences, they can of course also be used to support this.
For example, with a greater number of channels available, it becomes possible to make content more accessible – something which has become particularly important as users increasingly search for information on the move. Content can even be tailored according to different device capabilities and user motivations if using a Create Once, Publish Everywhere model.
Customers want a pain-free way to be able to access the information that they need, and websites with self-service capabilities can both improve the ease with which users can complete this task, and encourage them to engage more deeply with an organisation. It’s an approach that applies further than just e-commerce too.
Step three- personalise the customer experience
Alongside self-service tools, there are a number of other ‘delighters’ that businesses can introduce into their digital strategy to make sure the experience users have is one they’ll want to repeat.
Just as with traditional physical interactions, these often relate to the quality of service being delivered and encompass everything from the smallest microinteraction right through to the processes and strategies at the very heart of the organisation.
Once the basic functionality of a website is completed, web designers must focus on the elements that, when put together, help to enhance CX – reliability, usability, proficiency and finally, creativity.
Furthermore, if organisations take a structured approach to the collection, processing, storage and analysis of customer data, using this to personalise the content delivered, the relevance and impact of their business messaging will increase.
And when data is truly aligned with business goals, the reward is deep insight into individual user behaviour and profiles, which can be used to further develop the effectiveness of personalisation efforts.
Seamless, streamlined and special
Following the best practice highlighted above is a great way to get started with a customer retention strategy. However, the initiatives that make an audience stay and encourage them to keep coming back will always depend on the specific circumstances and requirements of each business.
In today’s landscape of limitless choice and limited attention spans, businesses need to deliver a customer experience that’s seamless, streamlined and special in order to succeed – but the benefits that they stand to gain make it an approach that is worthy of pursuit.
By Gavin Harris, senior user experience consultant at Box UK