The online customer experience has redefined the way businesses and their customers interact. While these digital strides have revolutionized how people approach their purchasing decisions, there are still organizations that have not fully grasped the importance of these expectations – and the impact they have on their day-to-day strategy.
There’s a fine line between love and lost opportunity – and you need to know how to walk this line!
Think about a time when you were frustrated by a company’s website, app, or even worse, an automated phone service. Did you grumble to your friends and family about this poor experience? Or maybe you took to Twitter or Facebook to complain and hopefully be thrown a proverbial life raft from the company’s customer service department.
When customers can’t quickly access what they need from your digital platforms, they give up – leaving the company with a lost business opportunity and the customer with a sour impression of the brand. It only takes one poor digital experience to ruin a good reputation.
In contrast, if you can provide a positive and seamless online user experience, the picture is completely opposite. Customers who love and are delighted by their digital experience are highly likely to remain loyal, even if that means paying a higher premium for goods and services.
Meeting your customer’s expectations doesn’t have to be that hard! Here are some tips to help you make your customers fall in love:
1. Know Your Customers – and Remember Them!
Nothing is more annoying than coming back to a website and having to start from scratch every time. In contrast, your customers prefer when their preferences, past activity, payment methods, and search results are still there, waiting for them to pick up where they left off.
An excellent example of this aspect of the digital experience is the e-commerce standard that Amazon has set. Through their online retail model, Amazon users have access to their entire purchasing history, shipping locations, securely stored payment methods, and past searches. Additionally, Amazon offers suggestions based on items purchased and searched for – offering a uniquely tailored shopping experience.
Quick Tip: Ensure your online platform removes as many barriers as possible by not requiring your customers to do the same leg work each time they visit your site. Not only will this save them time, but they will remember the ease of which they can achieve what they’ve come to your site to accomplish and will return again and again.
2. Don’t Play Hard to Get
While it can be tempting to ask visitors to register their email address on your site right away in order to help build up your online marketing strategy, presenting a lengthy sign-up form up front can send customers running in the opposite direction.
Don’t require your users to create an account immediately – instead, tease them with an engaging homepage that gets them excited about what your product has to offer. Depending on the type of good or service you provide, you could even entice them with some freebies or discounts if they provide their email address. Getting an email address is step one of gaining a registered user and prompting them to set a password later is as low-effort as it gets for your customers. Before they realize it, they have created an account and can complete their personalization details at their convenience.
Hello Fresh is a meal delivery service that executes their sign-up process very well. Upon the customer’s first visit to the website, they can unlock a substantial discount by entering their email address – but are not prompted to enter a password. This is an easy and enticing step for the customer that creates an account that is customizable at a later date.
Quick Tip: Your formal sign-up form should be quick and simple. It is often a necessary formality, but your users should be able to do it swiftly so they can get to what you really want them to do – engage with your brand.
3. Visually Attract Your Users
People are already programmed to follow visual cues to determine which content is important and relevant to us. Calls to actions (CTAs) that clearly indicate what will happen when they are invoked will enable your website users to more easily navigate your site and effortlessly accomplish what they came to do.
Think of your CTAs as digital breadcrumbs, creating a path for your customers. The language, placement, and visual elements should guide your users easily to their end goal. Verbiage should invoke feelings of excitement without being pushy, and a gentle sense of urgency — for example, ‘Let’s Get Started!’
In a study done by Oracle Maxymiser, researchers were surprised to find that they saw an increase of 11% in clicks to the checkout area of the Laura Ashley website simply by testing user action or inaction using color variations and action messaging alone.
Quick Tip: In choosing buttons, visual cues, and verbiage for your CTAs, keep in mind how these choices might make your customers feel. If you want your customers to feel a certain way about your brand, use visual choices that foster trust, happiness, and encouragement. Your customers should feel calm and at ease on your site – not anxious about whether or not they’re doing the right thing.
Remember: We All Want to be Loved.
With the digital world expanding at astronomical rates, it is easy to forget that online personas are actually real people with feelings and emotions. It’s easy for companies to get caught up in bottom lines, but it is important to treat your customers like you would your partner. Listen to their needs, adjust your approach to accommodate them, and build a mutually beneficial partnership that has everyone coming back for more. By focusing on the quick tips outlined above, to enhance the digital experience your company has the opportunity to engage customers in a more effective way, make their lives and experience more delightful, and, maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll help them fall in love with your brand.
Do you want to learn more about designing with a human-centered approach? Download our “Love Your Users” eBook today!