When you’re out shopping for a new pair of jeans, you’re quite likely to try on a few styles for the perfect fit before buying them.
Now if you’re buying jeans online, there isn’t the charm of actually trying them on for the feel of the fabric or the comfort of the style. You’ll probably just look for the brand’s size chart, measure yourself or compare sizes with your older pairs before ordering.
Your purchase is highly dependent on the availability of your size.
Though imagine if the store did not have a comprehensive sizing guide. How likely are you to eyeball the size and order? How likely are you to spend a significant amount of time searching for the right size?
And how likely are you to head over to another store or brand with an accurate size chart that’s simple so your checkout is quick and easy?
(Image source: Joel Mott on Unsplash)
Customers both online and offline want to have an experience that’s simple and seamless. In the example of the inaccurate sizing guide, customers are left confused. They don’t have the choice of instantly trying on a few sizes before buying.
Often such guess-work purchases end up in items being exchanged for the right size or worse, returned for good.
It’s these small, yet crucial details that determine whether you’ve gained or lost a potential customer.
Today, product quality is no longer the main reason consumers will do business with a certain brand. By the present norms, it’s much more important to deliver a valuable overall experience to your customers.
Unfortunately, if your product description is clumsy, you hold the risk of having unsatisfied, even frustrated customers who consequently prefer business elsewhere.
Therefore, it’s absolutely necessary to carefully create a strong and smooth customer experience journey that focuses on every touchpoint at the right time.
A seamless journey is, after all, what every customer expects whenever they interact with your brand.
And that is why it is we need to understand the significance of powerful customer experience in the business.
Through our Customer Experience (CX) series, we’ll unfold the many aspects of CX beginning with what CX really is, why it matters to your business in 2021 and beyond, and how you can create delightful experiences to improve customer retention, loyalty and ultimately their lifetime value.
What is Customer Experience?
In simple terms, Customer Experience is the sum of all the emotions and impressions a customer experiences through every touchpoint with your brand throughout the buyer’s journey.
Think about everything that your customer is likely to experience from the moment they hear about your brand to the moment they stop doing business with your company. These ‘moments’ significantly influence a customer’s experience and brand perception.
In a broad picture, there are three primary interaction zones a customer is likely to encounter along their journey with your brand – before, during and after purchase. Each of these zones will encompass the exact touchpoints between your brand and your customer.
All of these touchpoints are essential to creating powerful customer journeys. Your customer journey map needs to carefully plot out the interactions depending on how you want your brand to be perceived by buyers.
But how exactly can a business use touchpoints to enhance its customer experience (CX)?
There’s no “one way” to go about creating a superb CX for your audience. When you take a quick glance, you’ll notice how CX journeys vary from one brand to another and also from industry to industry.
Whether your customer interaction is purely digital or on-site will determine the touchpoints that require more or less attention. Though generally, every customer journey follows a fundamentally similar pattern —
- Problem recognition – the need for a service or product is expressed based on various internal and external cues.
- Information collection and research
- Comparison and evaluation between brands, prices, quality, choices and so on.
- Purchase decision-making
- Post-purchase retrospection and brand support
This pattern manifests in each of the zones of interaction along every customer journey. So let’s get to the root of it by first taking a peek at the touchpoints in each of the three zones.
1. Pre-Purchase Touchpoints.
CX begins well before an individual actually becomes a paying customer. Like we’ve already seen, it begins the very moment a potential buyer notices your brand. Everything that follows or does not follow after that between them and your brand also becomes a part of the CX journey.
This implies that when the CX ends at being aware of your brand, well then that’s not quite enough for your brand if you’re trying to sell something. Customers need to move forward on the journey for the ultimate conversion, right?
That’s why, giving your customer that little nudge towards the next touchpoint can potentially convert a ‘no thanks, just browsing’ to a ‘great doing business with you!’
How? By making your brand’s value clear at the very beginning and then at every step of the CX journey.
Making people aware of your brand is therefore the first touchpoint in the pre-sales customer journey.
So, what exactly are the pre-sales interactions that you need to consciously be aware of?
Some examples include advertisement (online and on-site), social media posts, referrals through friends and family, company expos, conferences and exhibitions, and digital marketing content.
All of these touchpoints have one thing in common – reaching your brand out to people.
The channels here can either be digital for eCommerce businesses and digital service providers or physical for retail outlets or in-person services. But a closer look today shows that most brands are a blend of online and offline services. This implies that their touchpoints also need to be across multiple channels.
So, essentially CX at any level needs to be meticulously designed for each individual channel of the single brand.
Again – one size doesn’t fit all!
2. Touchpoints during a purchase
At this stage, a customer is already aware of your brand and is now deciding if they want to make a purchase. There are many touchpoints during a purchase that allow you to control as well as better how prospective customers receive and interact with your brand to eventually convert.
Portfolios and catalogues with a clear call to action, comprehensive product reviews, diverse eCommerce channels, direct contact with the company and finally the point of sale are some of the many touchpoints that a customer journey will entail during a purchase.
For instance, when a customer lands on your website, encourage them to connect with you through an effective Call to Action.
Customers want to know exactly what your brand’s value is and how your product is valuable to their needs or wants. Hence being clear, direct and to the point leaves little room to wander and look elsewhere.
Direct connections initiate authentic relationships
Making direct contact with the customer at this point can also have an immediate impact on their purchase decision. Once you know that they’re interested and are looking for more information, invite them to a direct conversation with your company.
Personalised emails, posts and comments that acknowledge a customer’s interest often make them feel valued and important, meaning that there is a higher chance they’ll stay for more.
Just like every customer has their own individual buying behaviour, their decision-making process that leads them to make a purchase is also unique. This delicate subject is something consumer behaviour analysts find quite interesting.
We simply cannot guarantee every interaction in the journey to finally convert from a momentous point of sale to a completed purchase. However, analysing customers’ behaviour at each of the touchpoints during purchase and keeping track of their engagement with your brand at every stage gives you a clear picture of where you’re successfully holding on to them and where you’re losing them.
That is why a smooth CX at this stage is one in which a customer’s decision-making process is significantly simplified. Not only will this impact their purchasing behaviour, but it is also more likely to attract them to your brand again.
3. Post-purchase touchpoints
In the past, building personal connections with customers was simply a way of doing great business. There rarely ever was the pressure of maintaining customer loyalty through constant reminders and engagements.
Many small family-run businesses had customers coming back because they were familiar, they trusted the business and knew they’d be supported when needed.
Unfortunately today, with so many platforms and channels available to customers and the added choice of remaining an anonymous (guest) buyer, it’s often a huge challenge to really build the same kind of meaningful relationship with your customers.
That’s why if brands want customers coming back for more, it is crucial to map out the customer journey beyond the point of a completed purchase. This is where we need to put into context the many post-purchase touchpoints from a customer’s perspective.
Support both online and offline
Depending on the product or service you’ve just sold, customers might require some additional interaction and sometimes also support once they’ve completed a purchase.
When purchases close on-site, the nature of support and interaction is often different than when it’s online. For instance, customers will often leave a physical store with the product they’ve just purchased.
But that’s not the case online. Therefore, it’s always good practice to keep your customers in the know about what’s going on with their order. This can be, for instance, emails acknowledging and confirming a transaction, reminders and updates about an order, notifications about upcoming products or events, product review invitations, and so on.
This is an important post-purchase touchpoint where customers are not left wondering but feel confident that their purchase has been successful.
Another valuable method to measure customer experience post-purchase is by collecting feedback. Customer feedback surveys are one of the best ways to ascertain whether your business is meeting your customers’ needs. There are many online tools available to gain valuable insight from your customers.
“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.”
– Donald Porter
Finally, delivering a fantastic customer experience is much more than an excellent marketing strategy. It needs to be a practice that’s instilled at every turn of your own brand’s journey.
When a customer feels valued, they’ll come back for more. Likewise, when their experience is frustrating and difficult to manoeuvre, they’re sure to look elsewhere. In today’s hyper-competitive world, focusing on misinformed touchpoints while neglecting those with the most friction will often cost you a huge price.
Customers always prioritise smooth interactions and so it’s worth the effort to create these smooth journey for them.
Great Customer Experience is about telling them you care and showing them how. At izz.ai, we’ve always worked meticulously to understand the many touchpoints in a customer’s journeys can be the most rewarding to the success of a business and its brands.
Simply write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s have a friendly conversation on how we can create these meaningful journeys for your customers together with you and your brand.