The power to make or break your business lies within your customer’s hands. One negative experience with your brand and they’ll never approach you again.
Sounds like I’m being dramatic, but it’s true. That’s why, as the founder, it’s your job to make your customer’s experience with your company as positive as possible. And one important experience that can boost or torpedo relationships with your customers is when they visit your website.
Building a customer-friendly site that offers a delightful experience requires a lot of effort, but it’s totally worth it. It’s this crucial experience that, perhaps more than any other, helps you acquire and retain new customers.
“Today’s consumers do not buy just products or services—more and more, their purchase decisions revolve around buying into an idea and an experience.” McKinsey
In this article, we’re going to go deep on how to create an online customer experience that is not just functional, but also delightful. To do that, I want to first introduce the core problems that contribute to a poor website experience, and then unpack some solutions on how to rectify them and and make your customers happier.
How to Reach More Customers by Improving Your Website Experience
1. Fix Your Site Navigation
Your website visitors will appreciate clear website navigation that helps them browse through your services hassle free. Beyond that, if you lack mobile responsive design and hover options, visitors might feel forced to visit pages that they do not want to land on.
But too many options, especially the wrong options, tend to leave visitors feeling overwhelmed and annoyed. Overly complex navigation can confuse your users and hinder their ability to seamlessly navigate your website.
Poor website navigation design leads to consequences such as:
- A website visitor not landing on the page that will convert them into buyers
- Confusion for site visitors that results in frustration and increased bounce rate
- Inability to navigate your website using devices such as smartphones and tablets
One important aspect that needs to be kept in mind is building a site navigation tab with clarity. The question is, how do you figure out whether the existing site navigation on your website is cluttered or not? In such a situation, it is important that you follow easy-to-implement tactics that help you create clutter-free navigation. These tactics include:
It is important that your primary site navigation clearly conveys the value proposition on each webpage. For example, if you visit Amazon, you’ll notice how it consists of simple and defined categories. The site provides its readers with an implicit view of different categories that they can navigate to separately. In short, it allows website visitors to reach each particular category in an easy fashion.
Image source: amazon.com
A clear sub-navigation helps your visitors dive deeper into your website and find any product they are looking for. However, don’t go crazy with creating too many secondary items that can potentially overwhelm users. Give some thought to the navigation hierarchy before creating it. Getting into your customer’s shoes at this point will definitely help. If you are confused about how to go about this, refer to a competitor’s website or other popular websites to get a feel for how they are doing it.
For example; if you visit Toms, you’ll notice how the primary (top) navigation box consists of only four tabs (Shop, How We Give, Passport Rewards, Gift Guide). “Shop” is the main category and gets divided into sub-categories like Women, Men, and Kids. Now notice that they haven’t explicitly given all the products under each sub-section. Instead, they prefer that their visitors click on the “View All” option to further explore their site and find their desired product hassle free.
Image source: toms.com
In short, clear navigation that does not look cluttered and sends visitors to the right page is sure to build a delightful user experience.
2. Reduce Abandonment with an Optimized Cart Checkout Process
People tend to look for a platform that helps them purchase their desired product or service in a matter of just a few minutes. Too many questions can get in the way and divert them from purchasing your product. Despite your good intentions of adding checkout form questions as an effort to keep track of all your website leads, too many steps that ask for too many details can result in to more cart abandonment.
With lengthy checkout processes containing an average of five steps, and 23% of shoppers leaving their carts because they do not want to create accounts, checkout drama can have some serious consequences, including…
Some three out of four prospective customers abandon their carts with plans to come back later. And only 22% of these shoppers ever follow up on these abandoned carts.
Whether they return later often depends on if they have come across another platform that provides a more seamless experience during their shopping. If they do, you’ll be sure to see your sales stagnate. And marketing your business during a time when sales aren’t keeping pace can lead to loss of capital.
Lengthy checkout processes can also result in frustrated customers. Baymard Institute indicates that 28% of carts are abandoned due to long or complicated checkout processes. Unnecessary forms can confuse and frustrate customers, thereby reducing their chances of visiting your website again, much less following through on a purchase. Frustrated customers can also lead to bad reviews online.
No doubt that earning sales is the ultimate goal of your business, but you need to make sure that the path to completing a sale is simple for the customers. Keep in mind that even an average ecommerce store faces more than 75% of losses in sales due to cart abandonment. If you don’t want to become a part of this statistic, make sure that you:
Offer a 1-Page Checkout Process
The more steps during checkout, the more prospective buyers will ditch your platform. Keeping these abandoned carts in mind, it is important that you work on building a shorter and cleaner process.
Just like Walmart does, consider restricting your process to three steps, where you gather shipping, address details, and payment method—all on one page.
Image source: baymard.com
A one-page checkout reduces the steps shoppers need to take to complete their purchases and also shows them, at a glance, what sections they need to fill out. It also gives them an easy way to edit past sections they already filled out without having to hit the “back” button and wonder if they are going to lose their entered data.
Offer Guest Checkout
Image source: macys.com
To make the purchase of your products a convenient process for shoppers, it is important that you introduce a guest checkout option too. This is where your website visitors check out without requiring time-consuming commitments like creating an account or logging in.
This is critical, because the revenue generated from mobile shoppers who opt for guest checkout is 13% higher than those who log in.
Secure Payment Gateways
A study by Baymard shows that 18% abandon their cart because they do not trust the platform with their credit card details. The same study indicates that a cart is likely to be abandoned if the page that asks for credit card details does not give the look and feel of a secure page. Add visual clues like trust badges to make the checkout process more secure.
Image source: stopad.io
3. Delight Customers With Stellar Support
No business can run successfully if it does not have excellent customer support in place. But what if your customers aren’t getting the right support at the right time? Common problems customers tend to face with customer support are increased wait time, lack of attention to details, and lack of professionalism and empathy.
Bad customer support can lead to a variety of bad outcomes, such as:
- Bad reputation – One of the top side effects of providing bad customer service is a damaged brand reputation in the market. A study by American Express states that 35% of the people who had bad experiences with their service providers posted it on their social media accounts.
- Leads not converting into buyers – If you do not improve support services for site visitors, you are likely to kill your chances of converting them into customers.
- Lower customer lifetime value – Did you know that 70% of customers are eager to do business with you if you resolve their complaints in a timely manner. But these figures only work in your favor if you consistently deliver excellent customer support services on your website. Otherwise, you are likely to notice a drop in customer lifetime value.
- Losing the best talent – It’s not just customers, but also your employees who tend to suffer the consequences of bad support. You can lose your best employees on the support team if new strategies to improve service quality aren’t put into action.
This problem is significant, and it requires you to put your best foot forward. And that’s only possible if you have the following tools in place.
A Frequently Asked Questions Section
Image source: unleashedsoftware.com
Most of the time, customers and site visitors seek instant solutions to their queries. They may start a chat with your support operator intending to get an answer. But what if they aren’t available to provide a solution to a fundamental problem?
In times like these, an FAQ section becomes an essential feature on your website.
Adding an FAQ section can help your customers save time, as they’ll be able to find many answers in one place.
The section will also turn out to be beneficial for your support operators. That’s because they will be able to dedicate more time to issues that are more time consuming and may need technical assistance. Plus, you can build a trusting relationship with your target audience as you show that solutions to the initial problems are available right away.
A Shared Inbox
Keeping track of all the emails from your site visitors and customers can turn out to be a cumbersome process. What’s worse, you can lose track of some, which will not delight anyone. But worry not. A shared inbox can make the work a lot simpler for you.
A shared inbox, also known as Help Desk, can help your support operators save time and respond to customer queries faster, as all the tickets can be found in one place. Brands like Zendesk and ProProfs Help Desk help you bring together and manage your different department email addresses—like [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and others—more efficiently. Also, you can easily monitor which operator is working on which ticket.
Once all your email IDs are configured with your help desk software, you won’t miss out on a single customer query. Your support operators will be able to find all the requests under one dashboard. And, they can easily see which operator is working on which ticket.
A Live Chat Software
“Chat is the preferred support channel for Millennials.” In fact, younger customers feel more connected and find it easier to interact with a brand when using live chat for support. Instant answers to customers’ queries are provided at their convenience, one of the best benefits your business can offer.
Image source: beaurepaires.co.nz
A live chat form can pop up on your website to address customer inquiries quickly
Besides that, your operators can easily monitor the visitor’s behavior and accordingly personalize the support service. The use of the software is also beneficial in keeping the visitors engaged with your website as it can help you push discounts on particular page effectively. In case of technical errors too, the software easily helps the customer get in touch with product expert to resolve issues faster.
What really makes the job simpler for your operators is the ability to provide real-time support anywhere and anytime. That’s because live chat software offers various benefits to customers like:
- Instant answers at their convenience
- Personalized service based on their website behavior
- Continued engagement on the website
- Getting in touch with a product expert immediately
- Anytime, anywhere access to real-time support
But it’s not just your site visitors and existing customers who benefit from live chat. Your support team does too. Offering live chat helps you:
- Reduce support costs, as one support operator can handle six chats simultaneously
- Boost overall lead generation and sales. American Marketing Association confirms that B2B companies that used live chat recorded 20% increase in overall conversions.
- Give confidence to customers that they can access instant support easily
- Improve customer satisfaction. A study by eDigital confirms that live chat boosts customer satisfaction in comparison to other support channels
An Online, Internal Manual/Knowledge Base
Keeping your support team equipped for any support query is your job. To do this right, always keep an online internal manual or knowledge base handy. With a manual in place, answering customer queries becomes a piece of cake. Your support team won’t have to get in touch with the technical team for every question they come across. And visitors leave with faster responses and become loyal customers.
To create an internal user manual, you need to think like your customers. You should know all the problems they are likely to face. Create your online manual from the FAQs your customers regularly ask the support team. It can also include templated answers that can be inserted easily and customized for each customer.
Update the manual regularly, according to the recurring incidents that customers complain about. Consistent responses in the online manual will help reduce call hold time. Plus, visitors will leave with accurate, updated answers.
Here is a more detailed article on how to build an effective internal knowledgebase.
Improve Website Experience for Customer Acquisition and Retention
The aim of building a user-friendly website for your business isn’t restricted to reaching out to your potential customers. A well-designed and structured website also allows you to acquire new customers by capturing more leads and converting them into buyers. So before you brush off the idea of investing in a user-friendly website, always keep in mind that acquiring new customers for your business can turn out to be five to 25 times more expensive than acquiring new ones.
Besides acquisition, a user-friendly website also help you retain your existing customers, hassle-free. That is only possible if you make sure that the website is regularly updated and new offers are advertised on the site with the help of alerts and pop-ups.
Ultimately, it’s all about the customer experience. Although there’s no surefire way to anticipate every customer issue, you should still anticipate the inevitability of them facing an issue.
Understanding how your users are interacting with your website will create the opportunity to identify the areas that need attention, helping you create a website that is ultimately crafted for your customers. The data acquired by monitoring your website’s user experience is an invaluable knowledge asset to any business that is keen on improving customer experience.