Customer experience directly impacts loyalty, and customer loyalty can rise and fall quite quickly with each stage in the customer journey. Lately, many brands have been catching onto the customer expectation standards when it comes to interacting with your business. That expectation carries right over to your website, where customers can find information about your products or services, make purchases from your business, or even book appointments with you, all from the comfort of their own home– or car– or… well, you get the idea. This is all assuming your website provides them with an easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate customer experience with WOW inspiring features. When your business shines with every experience you offer, so does that winning trophy: a.k.a. The continued loyalty of your customers!
If you place your focus on a few key factors that can cornerstone an exceptional customer experience through your website, you’ll be well on your way to having the type of site that your customers want to keep coming back to.
Customization, but not too much customization.
There are some things that should be ultra-customized, and some that should be pretty standard. In a website experience, people need to know approximately where to expect to find key elements like navigation, search, product information, carts, contact information, and even news. Wow them with visuals, but keep your elements in standard locations.
What should be highly customized to your audience, is your customer engagement portal, your unique digital marketing strategies, your perks and rewards programs, your social media engagement, your members-only areas, and your customer service support.
Ease of Navigation, Ease of Use
When your site is easy to navigate and easy to use, it can speak volumes for your business, even if your customer never actually interacts with a live person. Even an element as simple as a search box or menu placed prominently in the same location on each page of your website can make a huge impact. Your search and menu navigation show that your site is navigable to someone who is not familiar with your brand at all. If a customer can’t find their way around your website, they may ‘walk out’ as quickly as they ‘walked in’. So, keep your site easy to navigate and keep customers coming back.
The usability of your site matters now more than ever because of the new metrics Google has established. Web crawlers read pages more like a human now, and content on your website should reflect this.
The Speed at Which Your Pages Load
The quickest, cleanest, and simplest website experiences reinforce customer loyalty and build long-term relationships. Whether your customer is researching a product, placing an order, or just shopping around, every little online interaction has the potential to leave a lasting impression.
In 2003, for example, waiting for a website to load was pretty common, pretty expected– but it’s no longer 2003. Consumers expect your site to load within a couple of seconds, and if that doesn’t happen, they are very likely to move on. A visitor’s overall page experience plays a huge role in how Google ranks the website in its search engine results pages (SERP). In fact, this is such a priority that Google even offers you a free Pagespeed Insights tool to help you test your page load speed, as well as that of your competition.
Relevant Content and Branding
The customer experience is critical to every stage of the business-customer relationship. For those looking to offer an exceptional customer experience, formatting your content is where you can begin. You want your text to send the right message to your customer, and factor in the customer’s perception.
Not only does your content need to be relevant to the interests of your customer, it also has to be presented in a way that is tasteful but simple to understand. Customers value readability and comprehensibility, and they want their learning experience on your site to feel streamlined. Techniques as simple as short paragraphs and stand-out formatting such as bolding, underlining, and bullet points can be used to show a clear message that speaks to your exact intentions.
Incorporation of Mobile First Design
Over half of internet users, today will be accessing your site on a mobile device. Given that this number will only grow in the future, it is necessary to design your website using a mobile-first design. We design for mobile devices first, so that our client's website or portal will be immediately functional on a mobile device. Additional functionality will still be available for tablets, desktops, and other devices with larger screens. That is what we’re looking for in a great experience for both humans and web crawlers to read
Google uses this mobile-first metric as a determining factor when indexing websites, and even has a free Mobile-Friendly Test Page where you can see whether or not your website is mobile-friendly.
Voice of the Customer – Prove you’re listening.
A KPI commonly measured by Fortune 500 companies, the Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a powerful tool for finding out what your brand’s customers think about your website. VoC is a great tool to uncover the pain points in the customer journey, as well as those aspects of your brand that your customers love. When you leverage the ‘voice of the customer’ and follow this data-driven approach, you make sure your site features a world-class customer experience.
So how do you measure the voice of the customer? Currently, many Fortune 500s are turning to social media to pick up VoC data with tools for Social Listening such as those available through Hubspot. These tools allow you to monitor what your customers are saying about your site and similar subject matter so that you can know exactly how to tailor your site content in ways to wow your readers.
Website Analytics and Testing
You can “build it and [hope] they will come” or you can build it and test, test, test to determine what shines the brightest. Your company, as a brand, needs to know which practices work best for your audience, and which are appreciated the most by your customers. This can be accomplished through the use of website analytics, and rigorous A/B testing.
Website analytics tools such as Google Analytics show which pages were visited most often by customers, and which pages have been abandoned most quickly. This data can serve to inform you about the platforms and devices that a customer uses, the geographic location of your visitors, and how often they visit. It also can show you which pages are most often used as entry and exit points of your website. This is critical information because it gives you insight as to why customers are leaving from a page and can indicate to you that there may be an opportunity for improvement.
Your company’s web presence is often the first point of contact where customers can learn about what you have to offer. Because of this, it is beneficial for your website to reflect the caliber of products and services you offer, strive to offer, and even show forward-thinking through customer engagement toward your future goals and plans. It’s a good idea to regularly assess the market, listen to the voice of your customer, study customer experience trends and best practices, and plan for the continual enhancement of your website to ensure that it is designed with a top-notch customer experience in mind to keep your customers coming back.
CommonPlaces wants all of our customers to succeed in providing the best customer experience possible, while ALSO providing you the level of WOW service you deserve. Let us know how we can help take your business to the next level by creating experiences for your customers that will keep them returning, time after time.