Customers are exposed to more choices than ever before, and that means the experience your brand presents them with is make or break for your business. The 2017 report Customers 2020: A Progress Report, by Walker customer experience consulting firm, found that 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. By 2020, customer experience will overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator.
Your digital presence provides your business with ample opportunities to connect with and delight customers.
Here are four digital marketing strategies to keep in mind to improve your customer experience in 2018:
1. Feature Live Chat in Website Design.
Even when customers are surfing your website online, having the ability to talk with a real live breathing person is desirable. Live chat on a website increases leads by 125 percent, according to Denver digital marketing agency AlphaMind Studios. Behavioral analytics and engagement platform Kissmetrics reports 44 percent of customers say that having the ability to have their questions answered by a live person is one of the most important features a website can offer.
Be Available: Keep live chat available during as many hours as possible. Feature a live chat service that is powered by someone with a mastery of the native language and who has the knowledge to answer consumer questions right then and there. Poor language or needing to refer queries to different customer service channels can just increase frustration.
2. Think Mobile-First.
Smartphone browsing has officially overtaken desktop browsing. The Ofcom Communications Market report shows Americans spend an average of 87 hours per month browsing smartphones, compared to 34 hours per month on desktops. If your site loads slowly, has broken pages, is hard to read, requires pinching and zooming to see content, or isn’t enjoyable to use on a smartphone, customers will leave and go elsewhere.
Mobile User Friendly: Design your site with mobile as your top priority. Think about how to make navigation easier, how to allow mobile users to get in touch with your brand instantly, how to make the shopping experience more intuitive and pleasant, etc. Make customer touchpoints, like a sound that signals the completion of an action, fun and pleasant to make the experience more interactive and affirming.
3. Make It Personal.
Making customers feel special among a sea of online buyers is key to keeping them engaged with your business. The 2017 State of Personalization Report by customer data platform Segment shows 49 percent of customers buy items they don’t intend to due to personal recommendations from brands, and 44 percent of customers will buy from brands again after they receive a personalized shopping experience. From the copy in your emails to the products you suggest, providing a personalized experience strengthens the bonds customers have with your brand.
Customer Value: Remind customers what they left in their shopping carts on their last visit. Send coupons for related options after someone buys from you. Use first names and relevant messages in email marketing. Send offers for products that should be restocked by customers who might be running out of them.
4. Provide Value with Content.
Keep customers engaged even when they’re not in a purchasing mode by using content marketing to provide answers to questions and solutions to problems. Blogs, e-books, free guides, webinars, podcasts and more help make your brand an authority in your industry that customers come back to for information they can trust. Use the questions that are most on your customers’ minds to drive content ideation and thrill customers at every point of the buyer journey.
Offer Insights and Answers to FAQs: Repurpose blog articles in a support knowledge bank for easy search when they’re looking for help. Send content to social media users who are asking questions related to your industry on Twitter, Facebook and subject forums. Provide website visitors with the ability to download free resources. Add additional helpful links to related content when someone requests information on a certain subject.
Use Data to Drive Your Decisions.
To improve customer experience in all of these areas, use data to drive your decisions.
- What are the most consistent questions customers have for you? Make sure customer service reps know all details regarding answers to these questions. Feature customer chat on pages related to these questions.
- What’s the customer journey like on mobile? How can you improve the touchpoints on the mobile journey? Devise how to combat drop-off and increase revenue in areas where you’re getting conversions.
- What personalized efforts are resulting in the most conversions? How can you more effectively turn abandoned products into conversions? What types of personalized offers result in more purchases?
- What content marketing efforts provide the most return on investment? Think about ways to maximize content efforts on those topics, by answering new questions or providing information in new angles. Develop more content in the formats that leads and customers enjoy. Use social media data to improve how you promote content.
As you map out your customer journey, insert data you’ve gathered to identify touchpoints to improve upon and dedicate more resources to. Provide plenty of opportunities for customers to offer customer experience feedback, too, since 70 percent of companies that deliver best in class customer experience use feedback, compared to 29 percent for the worst-performing companies. Let data drive your strategy, but always make sure to check in with your customers for direct feedback on their experience, too.