The online experience
In 2013, the number of Australians shopping online broke past 50 per cent for the first time, according to Roy Morgan Research. At the same time, 23 per cent of online shoppers admitted to visiting conventional stores less often than they used to. Metrics such as page views, traffic source and bounce rate can tell you a great deal about what your visitors are doing, but are you getting to the ‘why’?
And why does this matter? For one, it’s about delivering a better customer experience. A recent LivePerson survey found that 83 per cent of consumers want clear guidance when looking for a solution online, with 48 per cent abandoning a website within five minutes if they don’t get it.
To gather this type of information, you could add short feedback surveys to your site, or have support staff ask for feedback at the end of a chat session. Finding out what the customer is thinking when they go online can help you connect the dots in ways that might be missed if you rely solely on automated tools.
Wearing the customer's shoes
It goes without saying that your service staff should be adept at face-to-face interaction with customers. But other employees, including managers, can also learn valuable lessons by embedding themselves in the customer’s world.
An example is Adobe’s Customer Immersion Program, where senior company leaders spent time in the customer’s role to find out for themselves if the experience matched their brand promise. One discovery was that jargon-heavy ‘business speak’ may be fine for internal communications, but as a customer plain English is preferred every time.
The same philosophy applies to social media. People use it to connect with friends, so aren’t likely to be very receptive to advertising messages. It’s much better to focus on two-way interaction and to be sympathetic to customers’ needs. Clothing retailer Boden provides anexcellent example of how to use Facebook for better customer engagement.
Examining past behaviours
The customer’s past purchasing patterns – what they’ve bought, channels used, service interactions and other facts and figures squirrelled away in your customer data – are great fuel for building a picture of what they are likely to do in the future.
The internet has also made it much easier to track after-purchase data, such as reviews and complaints – even ideas for future products. My Starbucks is a good example of customer-driven innovation at work.
If you lose a customer, don’t forget to ask why. Are they unsatisfied with service delays? Why are they switching to a cheaper competitor?
As consumers get more tech savvy, opportunities to learn from them continue to emerge – and getting to the heart of what they want is the best way to stay relevant.