Has Your CX Lost Its Magic?
Over the past decade, customer experience (CX) strategies have completely changed. After all, with the advancement of technology—and especially AI — there's no shortage of solutions designed to improve your CX.
And yes, these days, customers expect an effortless user experience. But that doesn't mean CX should be so efficient it feels completely robotic. Instead, the most innovative e-commerce companies are leaning on carefully selected technology and empowered customer service representatives to streamline a CX that’s both cutting-edge and “human.”
In this article, we’ll zero in on how to create a CX that's both efficient and meaningful. After all, an exceptional customer experience is what leads to happy customers—and, ultimately, growing loyalty and community.
Here's what's on deck:
- Understanding the guiding principles of effortless CX
- Demystifying the relationship between CX and customer loyalty
- Reprioritizing a simple customer experience that matches what your customers want
Let's get right to it!
Learn the guiding principles of effortless CX
Yes, customer experience is a major ecommerce buzzword, but for good reason. After all, customer experience refers to every single touchpoint that occurs for your customer while interacting with your brand. The experience begins the moment they first hear about your company and technically never ends, since a customer can almost always be won back.
Long before this customer purchases something from your company, they're already on a customer journey. From the beginning, your company should have one primary goal: creating an effortless, personalized customer experience that gives the customer every reason to keep coming back for more, over and over again.
How, exactly, is this done?
The truth is, some experts (including those at Gartner) believe that “surprising and delighting” isn't necessary — and that companies should focus on adequately solving customers' problems instead. There's reason to believe the most essential aspect of a customer experience strategy is ensuring the customer never has anything to complain about in the first place.
The best way to do this? According to Jess Cervellon, a Fractional CX/Retention Leader and Vice President of Customer Experience at Feastables, brands should map out every stage of the customer journey.
The thinking, according to Jess, is that carefully analyzing customer data can help you identify the individual interests of shoppers that will foster better customer loyalty, which pays off over time. Strategies that lean on data-driven personalization help businesses deliver highly targeted recommendations and exclusive deals that are truly appropriate for the customers exposed to them. Brands can also use these insights to tailor promotions and marketing copy to specific customers.
What's more, in our Retention Rundown article about personalization and e-commerce trends, Jess went on to underscore the value of truly listening to consumers, figuring out what’s frustrating them, what's confusing them, and what they're concerned about, and using these findings to inform product and marketing decisions for individual customers.
Why listen to these customers now instead of later? According to the same article from Gartner, by the time a customer requires customer service, the odds of retaining the customer are already stacked against the business. Any customer, the report says, who requires customer service assistance is already four times more likely to “drive disloyalty” than the other way around.
After all, the best product experience in the world will probably make less noise on social media than a lousy interaction with a customer experience representative.
So, what can brands do to prevent disloyalty? Beyond ensuring a top-notch customer service response team is in place, companies should verify that any artificial intelligence integrated into the CX process benefits the customer, not the company. The faster a customer can resolve their complaint or concern, and the less friction-filled that experience is, the better.
A good example of AI and personalization that benefit both the customer and the company is our TapAI tool, which helps e-commerce companies reach segmented customers better by unlocking the power of AI-enriched push notifications.
As a general rule, your customers should:
- Never feel like the experience they’re receiving is cold or impersonal, even if it’s AI-enhanced.
- Never have to contact your business more than once about the same issue.
- Never have to repeat information, especially when being sent from one department or chat to another.
- Never feel like the onus is on them, the customer, to solve the problem.
Don’t take this to mean that customers don’t want to use technology — they do. In fact, many customers prefer live chat options to a phone call. It’s just, they want technology to be frustration-free, fast, and in their favor.
Demystify the relationship between CX and customer loyalty
Next, let’s dive even further into the relationship between customer experience and customer loyalty.
In today’s world, there’s no shortage of eCommerce brands attempting to sell products in a highly competitive, crowded marketplace. Moreover, digital advertising and influencer marketing have only brought more brands into the conversation, making it much easier for customers to switch to another brand the second they experience a hiccup in CX.
That’s why, at present, CX is all about personalization…and about predicting the individual needs of customers. In other words, tailoring CX to overall sentiment and NPS scores isn’t enough anymore. Brands actually need to leverage technology (and every other tool in their arsenals) to ensure they’re approaching every customer interaction in the most effortless, expedient, and meaningful way possible for that particular person.
The days of siloing your customer service team are over. Instead, the smartest eCommerce businesses are working together to meet the needs of the individual customer. Every department, from product to pricing to communications to engineering, should approach their work with the customer — and their unique CX — in mind. This ensures every customer’s experience is positive, consistent, and on-brand from the onset.
So where, exactly, does AI come into all this?
The trick is to use artificial intelligence to optimize existing customer relationships, not take them off your hands. You don’t want a robot handling your VIPs. Instead, you want a robot to help you handle your VIPs more swiftly, more personably, and with the least effort required by your customers.
Data indicate that 86% of people prefer human help to help via an AI chatbot. Sure, there are plenty of things a chatbot can do that ultimately improve CX, such as querying customers for order numbers and email addresses with the customer awaits a human representative. But this interaction, if truly necessary, should be expedient. A customer should know how long their wait time for a human will be, that wait time should be very short, and once a human is ready to chat or talk, the customer should never have to repeat themselves.
In other words, by providing the best, fastest, and most personalized CX possible, you’re removing potential “negative interactions” from the customer’s experience, preventing the dissatisfaction that may trigger disloyalty.
Even that, though, isn’t enough. Modern eCommerce companies need a holistic strategy that showcases their brand’s missions and values. Customers seek out businesses whose messaging and vision align with their own, and it’s more important than ever that every touchpoint of their CX proves your company is the right one for your customers.
Your company should:
- Prioritize outstanding CX that’s unique and authentic for every customer
- Leverage personalized CX that brings together customer data, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence
- Ensure all teams are not siloed since working together provides better, more effortless CX
This is also true for how you communicate with customers. Don't just rely on email and SMS. Instead, ensure all your retention marketing channels — including push notifications — are working together to create a customer retention flywheel.
Never let the customer feel like the onus is on them to solve their problem
Finally, the last thing you want is for your customers, should they face a problem or simply want to complete a transaction, to feel like communicating with or buying from your brand is hard work.
This means that when customers have a problem, they want to communicate with an empowered, empathetic brand representative who knows the answers to their questions and can quickly and efficiently solve their issues right away. This customer service, whether on the phone, in a chat, or over email, should be high-quality, personable, and reflect the brand’s personality and core values.
Forcing customers to navigate an endless conversation with a chatbot might save you money in the short term, but if it’s leaving your customers frustrated and without the end result they crave, there’s really no savings at all.
Instead of over-relying on AI (and risking depersonalizing CX), ensure your customer experience is simple and puts your customer in contact with representatives who understand them. Almost always, self-service chatbots are not what your customer wants or needs. Give them a human who’s ready to help, and leverage AI on the backend to personalize your approach to CX, not the other way around.
The most successful ecommerce brands know that good customer experience is the best retention strategy around.
Meeting cutomer's expectations with an elevated CX is the first step
If you're serious about boosting customer loyalty, it's more important than ever to create a positive mobile CX. Creating positive, personalized experiences that make sense for shoppers, both new and returning is one of the best retention strategies an ecommerce company can employ. Use any of the above strategies to improve your mobile CX, or set up a quick chat with Tapcart about upping the ante on your mobile CX today.