In both brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce sites, customer journeys are more important now than ever before. For the online CX, omnichannel has become the standard of the day, and with good reason: omnichannel delivers more ways for customers to find you, browse your products or services, and eventually purchase. While each channel has its own specific advantages, a good CX will include a consistent experience regardless of the channel.
The way you craft your customer journeys really determines how well your customers like shopping with you. The best CXes remove barriers to purchase and offer convenience across every touchpoint. In this article, we’ll cover the challenges that can get in the way of the journey and the key areas to focus on as you perfect your CX.
At Emarsys, we understand how important CX is to the foundation of your business. Without a good CX, customers are likely to jump ship to another brand to find the frictionless experience they crave. To help you understand how to create customer-centric omnichannel CX, we’re hosting an Evolution event in London where our guests will cover different facets of frictionless CX.
Read on to learn more about executing a successful frictionless CX and what you can expect from the event this June.
The Customer Experience Is the Brand
Every brand creates strategies and tactics specific to their industries, but one goal of every single brand that sells products or services is to create an awesome customer experience that at least makes it convenient for your customers to shop and buy — ideally, it should be fun, too.
That means you’ve got to identify any barriers that slow customers down or turn them away. You want their journey to be smooth and intuitive. Many things influence each shopper’s experience with your brand, but you know the CX has to do two things at once: Provide a clear transactional path and an overall great shopping experience built around convenience for the customer.
If you can’t do either of those things, you will likely provide bad experiences, and bad customer experiences don’t just affect the guy having the terrible CX — this customer may very well share his bad CX with friends, family, and co-workers. In a way, every CX has the ability to impact a group of multiplying potential customers.
The Things That Create Friction
Customers demand a lot from brands, in many ways using Amazon as the model CX, famous for its easy browsing, relevant content, and painless shipping. But not every brand can be an Amazon, mainly because of all the roadblocks their expansive CX has to overcome. For example, one of the most obvious and annoying roadblocks is for a customer to have to give their information in multiple spots. In fact, one in three consumers say that re-entering their profile data is super-annoying.
A good CX requires good data for personalization, and the biggest obstacle that gets in the way is siloed data where your data sits in various systems and separate services. As many marketers have learned, silos prevent them from achieving the unified view of the single customer — at best, a siloed system gives you a small part of the customer picture.
Secondly, silos get in the way of providing convenience. If a customer has to enter her information more than once to purchase from you, she will be more likely to go somewhere else more convenient.
There are brands today who have stopped focusing on omnichannel conquest which can introduce silos as you put it together piece by piece. These brands now treat all their channels as one thing, one giant CX that offers the smoothest shopping experience possible.
There’s nothing more irritating than when you browse a website and receive messages about a product you never viewed. Or maybe you’ve recently purchased a shirt from a brand and were sent an SMS message about a dress. Nothing ruins a CX as badly as poorly targeted messages and irrelevant recommendations and incentives, but this obstacle is more manageable these days when you put your customer data to work for you.
Broken and Dead-End Journeys
Another potential pitfall is having no planned journey for customers who browse and shop with your brand. Without a logical course, customers may just go somewhere else that’s easier to navigate. You may have great content on a great website, which means nothing if there is no clear path to conversion.
Reducing Friction in the CX
Personalization will be at the core of your CX, because the more you can drill down and treat your customers as individuals the more likely they are to buy from you now and again in the future. Studies and surveys have shown how personalization can increase revenue per visitor by 6%. Furthermore, customers remain loyal to about five brands on average. It’s this massive competition then that has each brand trying to provide a better CX than the next brand over. Even before you get the chance to personalize communication, your initial CX is what can turn that first timer into a repeat customer. There’s a lot at stake here, because personalization can increase revenues by 70%.
With convenience in mind, an excellent CX will carefully account for the following:
Accurate data is the lifeblood of any e-commerce business. Without it, you can only guess at what each customer wants, but when you segment and automate, you can start giving your customers the personalized interactions they’re after. Add in some machine learning, and you can improve your engagement strategies over time. Your overall goal is to make it easy to identify a contact and match that contact up with any other data you have on that customer. This is how you achieve the unified view of a single customer.
Excellent Web CX
Sure, you need your landing page to load in milliseconds, and the navigation through your site should be as close to intuitive as you can manage. However, for a frictionless CX, you have to drill down much further and make sure your triggered campaigns and automated messaging are making things easier and not getting in the way of your customers. Nobody wants to be hit with requests for a newsletter signup or a special welcome incentive a half-dozen times while just browsing.
In addition to these concerns, your website should have a good site search, one of the most appreciated conveniences you can offer customers. With good data, you can also ensure that relevant recommendations and incentives are sent to the right customer at the right time, and a great long-range goal is to provide a personalized landing page for every customer who visits your site.
Equally Excellent Mobile CX
Just like the web experience, your mobile site has to be responsive and fast (in fact, a fast mobile CX is priority #1). Otherwise, customers will just waltz over to someone who can deliver those basic expectations. A personalized landing page for each visit truly makes the customer feel important to a brand. Mobile — primarily due to SMS and in-app messaging — continues to grow and in some cases is the customer’s primary channel. With the advent of 5G and burgeoning location data functionality, mobile will only cater more and more to customers in a way that you can tailor for the individual.
Dependable Customer Service
One study shows that 86% of consumers find the in-store experience the most reliable CX, followed by email, and then a customer service call center. Whether it’s a toll-free phone number, a relevant and helpful chat bot, or some other kind of triggered response to customer behavior, many brands live and die based on how they help customers who have questions or problems with the products and services they provide. So not only does your tech interface seamlessly guide the customer to the right place to solve their problems, but this is also where the human element is still critical. Imagine a customer who made it through the initial automations and then finally got a live person on the phone only to find crappy service, a disconnected experience, or even rude, uninformed, and unhelpful customer service reps.
While you use technology to automate so much of your communications with customers, a brand’s customer service relies on real people treating real customers in a truly helpful way. When customers rave about your customer service channel, they are more likely to tell friends and family as well as sign up for your loyalty program.
Today, customers have a minimum expectation that once they give a brand their information, they won’t have to re-enter that info when they take their carts to checkout. What’s more is that some consumers expect a brand to track what they’ve looked at online so that when the come back to the site, the customers are shown products or services related to what they viewed previously.
Taken one step further, customers like loyalty programs, and in return for signing up, they expect special deals on products they’ve shown interest in. Increasingly, thanks to technology, customers go beyond this incentive and expect messages about similar items going on sale or exclusive offers customers can get nowhere else.
Here are a few examples of brands and industries crafting CXes based on customer demand.
In large part, Netflix’s success has come from actually putting the customer at the center of their operation. The company has been using its own data to personalize the viewing experiences of its audience for many years now. Netflix did something that looks simple; they built very customer-serving parameters into their site search engine. You may not realize it, but every time you see that list of content in the Netflix interface that says “Because you watched,” that’s a simple but very effective kind of personalization that exposes the audience to other content they might not have viewed otherwise.
Airlines and Booking Companies
Airlines and related travel companies rely heavily on their mobile CX to go beyond booking a flight. Some apps automatically reschedule delayed or cancelled flights, something that gets at the heart of convenience. More companies are using their own data now to reach out to customers when they’re not traveling. For example, a booking company might use a customer’s past purchase history to send alerts about good deals as they come up for flights, hotel lodging, and car rental.
After realizing that some customers preferred texting over calling a service line, the luggage and handbag designer Vera Bradley quickly added SMS to the mix. Now customers can conveniently check on the status of an order and frequently asked questions via texting.
The restaurant chain Panera pays close attention to anything that would make their CX more convenient. One area they’ve concentrated on is the speed in which orders can be placed. So a few years ago, Panera introduced self-serve kiosks where customers could forego the line altogether.
What’s interesting is that speed ended up not being the thing customers found most valuable. It was the control they had over their order that was appreciated the most. No one’s looking over your shoulder or trying to rush you through the line. Customers can take their time and browse, perhaps really look at the nutrition information and make a decision at their own pace. This unexpected personalization feature shows how much it’s worth trying to make the purchase journey simpler and smoother.
Evolution London 2019
Every frictionless CX enhances the goals of your brand, from growing revenue to retaining customers, and elements like recommendations, incentives, and triggered messages are the stones you use to build each customer journey.
Now with technology available that can handle so much of the tedious work of building campaigns, marketers can automate more tasks always with an eye on smoothing out the CX regardless of device or channel.
Because we want to help marketers understand how they can better leverage their technology to create this frictionless experience, we’re hosting Evolution London on June 26th, 2019. This day will be a must-attend event that will allow our guests to take away actionable insights that will improve their campaigns and understand data better.
They’ll also learn from the brightest minds in the industry, including how their peers are executing top-notch CX strategies. Key speakers include:
Orlebar Brown: Learn how this designer swimwear brand leveraged the Emarsys platform to identify their VIP customers to drive loyalty from Sebastiano Elia, Head of CRM and Customer Insight and Amelia Johnson, Campaign Manager.
Kurt Geiger: Hear from this upmarket British footwear and accessories retailer about how they are creating a successful omnichannel CX by putting their customers at the center of their strategy.
Facebook: Dig into insights from Beth Horn, Head of Industry for Retail, as she discusses how retailers can better understand and eliminate friction in the customer experience — both online and offline.
Ready to attend? Click here to reserve your spot for Evolution London today.