Develop a Winning Customer Experience Strategy for Your Amazon Business
Now more than ever before, the happiness of your past, current, and future customers matters. For your e-commerce brand to succeed, sustain, and grow over time, you have to make customer service, customer support, and customer experience a priority. Here are some reasons why, as shared by Help Scout:
Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience.
33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service.
U.S. companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service.
U.S. consumers are willing to spend 17% more to do business with companies that deliver excellent service, up from 14% in 2014.
In this article, I’ll help you understand what customer experience actually is, why it matters, and how to develop a winning strategy for your e-commerce business.
I’ll wrap up by offering a few resources that you might find useful as you work to invest in and improve the customer experience for your online store.
Let’s dig in.
What is Customer Experience?
Before you can develop a winning customer experience strategy for your business, you first need to understand what customer experience is and how it can play a role in the success or failure of your e-commerce store.
Here’s how I define customer experience as it relates to the e-commerce industry:
Customer experience is the perception people have of your brand and products based on their personal interaction, research, and ongoing relationship with you. This perception ultimately influences future purchasing behavior, word of mouth, and brand loyalty.
Customer experience isn’t just about a single interaction that your customers have with you. It doesn’t start and end with the purchase. Instead, it’s always on—the perception that your past, current, and future customers have about you are always being impacted by a number of factors—factors that are both inside and outside of your control.
Factors that are in your control are things like your unboxing experience, your commitment to providing stellar customer support, the ordering process you take your customers through when they purchase products on your website, and your willingness to delight customers at every turn,
Factors that are outside your control—at least initially—are things like reviews and write-ups from unhappy customers or bloggers, marketing campaigns and growth efforts from competitors, and local delivery issues that your customers might experience after you ship your products to them.
As a business owner, it’s your job to proactively manage the perception that people have of your brand, your products, and your team. That’s what developing a customer experience strategy is all about—being proactive and doing everything you can to convince people that buying from you is different than buying from other e-commerce businesses.
But why does it matter? Let’s spend the next section takes a look at some of the facts.
How to Develop a Winning Customer Experience Strategy
To provide an unmatched level of experience to your customers, and to get any sort of ROI from customer experience as a whole, you need to have a clear strategy in place. As you may have noticed, customer experience is a pretty broad concept. It can encompass a lot of things and span across a lot of areas.
The customer experience strategy you ultimately build and implement for your business will and should look different than the strategies put in place by your competitors, and that’s a good thing. No customer experience strategy should look alike. There is no cookie cutter approach that will guarantee success. Instead, each strategy looks a little bit different depending on a number of factors, such as audience, budget, product category, team resources, and other areas that vary from business to business.
So how do you create the right customer experience strategy for your business—a strategy that will pay off now and far into the future? Here are 9 tips to help put you on the right track:
1. Map The Customer Journey – The best first step you can take when deciding to invest more time and energy into your customer experience strategy is to map out your customer journey from beginning to end. The customer journey is the route that someone takes when purchasing a product from you. It starts with them not knowing your products or your company, and never actually really ends—it just moves into an ongoing phase of nurturing/loyalty/repeat purchasing.
To map out your true customer journey, try to answer these questions:
How do your prospective customers discover you today? How do they become aware of you? What channels are they coming from?
What objections do they have and what research are they doing when trying to choose between you and your competitors?
How do you engage with them before they become customers?
What questions are they asking you before they buy, and how do they prefer to reach out and communicate with you?
What typically makes them decide to purchase a product from you?
How do they buy products from you?
What are you doing to improve the unboxing experience for them?
What are you doing to get customers to leave a review?
What are you doing to get customers to buy again?
What are you doing to make unhappy customers happy again?
How are you engaging with people on a regular basis, in between the times when they are buying from you?
2. Personalize Interactions – These days, personalization matters. To create a better experience for your customers—one that they aren’t used to getting from other online retailers—take the opportunity to personalize whenever engaging with them. Examples of personalization include:
Using their first name in an email or live chat
Displaying personalized product recommendations in emails and on your website based on past search and purchase history
Sending unique, personalized offers to past customers via email or direct mail in an effort to get them to buy again
Sending handwritten thank you cards to each new customer you acquire.
3. Go Big on Real-Time Customer Support – Another way you can differentiate from competitors and improve the perception that people have of your company is by creating more real-time customer support opportunities for your prospective buyers and customers. These days, online consumers want to be able to ask and get answers to their questions within a matter of seconds. When they can’t, they’re much more likely to leave for another business that will provide them with better service.
4. Be Different Than Competitors – To get ROI from your customer experience efforts, you need to understand what sets you apart from competitors. Why do people choose you and your products over other businesses that are marketing and selling the same or similar products? When you uncover the answer, use it to your advantage, promote what it is that actually makes you unique, and scale efforts.
For example, do you offer better support? More transparency? Faster response times? Better follow-ups? More exciting unboxing experiences? Find out what is working for your business and go all in.
5. Delight at Every Turn – Customer delight should also be a big piece of your customer experience strategy. I’ve written about customer delight a few times before in past articles. The definition of customer delight is this:
Customer delight simply means to create outstanding experiences for people in an effort to create and nurture lasting relationships. It’s a way of thinking that goes beyond customer service. Delighting customers usually happens through the use of gifts, rewards, communication, and with the help of your team.
Customer delight is all about going above and beyond to:
Remind customers why they buy from you and not the other guy.
Show prospects why they should buy from you and not the other guy.
To win at customer experience, you need to delight not just customers, but also prospective buyers, at every turn. Need ideas on how to start delighting your audience? Dig into this resource from the Sellbrite blog.
6. Commit to Transparency – The ecommerce brands that are winning online shoppers over today are the ones that offer the most transparency. These days, buyers want to know how your products are made, how their information is being stored and protected, what your fulfillment and shipping process is like, and where they can go when they need help.
To effectively serve your customers and create the right reputation, you have to commit to transparency. It might mean making yourself a bit more vulnerable than you’re used to, but it will pay off in the end.