As web developers and digital marketers, we're focused on how to architect websites and build customer experiences that create real value and online relationships. Closing the gap online between what a customer experiences from an actual in-person or physical encounter with a brand is a challenging exercise.
In a study that we read last month, a stunning 87% of companies felt that they were delivering really strong online customer experiences. But out of that same group, 63% of them couldn't remember an example the last time their brand exceeded their online expectations! Your perceptions of really good customer experience and service is probably not what your customers believe. Especially if you compare your website experience with winners like Starbucks, Apple or Uber.
So let's take a look at how websites are failing customers with really bad customer experiences.
Top 5 Website Customer Experience Failures
Ok, we won't name any website or brand names, but we'll identify characteristics that we're fairly certain you've experienced during your use of websites over time. Be sure to laugh out loud when you recognize these bad customer experience failures.
- Designed by the client - Let's face it, the client knows everything about web design and customer experience, even if they have never designed a website. "The logo's not big enough!" "My customers know where to sign up!" "My customers only use the desktop, not their phones!" The client does not know how to design customer experiences online. Clients do know, however, how to build an in-person client experience. Our role is to build an online version of that using design and technical tools that replicate those familiar hallmark and signature vibes. And we need to know how to provide the design + content steps to lead new visitors through the cycles toward a positive customer experience to convert them into new customers.
- Just being responsive, not screen size specific - Responsive design was good 5 years ago when a website would resize itself to a smartphone. Today, the smartphone user represents the majority of browsers and purchasers. Here at TIP, we are working with larger clients in developing a desktop/responsive version of the website plus a screen size-specific version of the site. The screen size-specific version is designed exclusively to operate on specific devices with the most important elements front and center. It's a purely customer experience play...e-commerce, account information, product reordering, item scanning, voice search and access to phone tools. We're building mobile site functionality for "why and how" a customer uses their phone, not just because they use their phone.
- Don't listen to your customers - This has to be the biggest reason for customer experience failure. And this is the easiest piece to customer experience success! We have played a key role with several clients this year in listening to their customers and what they want with respect to new software, user portals and application interactions. Listening to the people who will actually use and benefit from the products is invaluable feedback for development and creation of great customer experiences.
- Keep data and customer service in separate silos - Why in the world would you make your customers have their sales account information in one data set and their customer service information in another data set? Didn't the cable company teach you anything! All data records should be combined and accessed by your customer service team or, ideally, by the customer through a secure online portal. Don't make the customer jump through hoops. They'll jump ship quickly. It's a bad customer experience if you have to send your customers from one department to another.
- Don't anticipate the customer's needs...ever - Do your customers ever call you and you ignore the phone? Do they ever visit your office and you act like they're not there? Shame on you if you do. A great online customer experience should feel like you have thought of a customer's needs during their entire experience. What research information will they need? What type of support will they need? What kind of product comparisons might they use? How quickly can they get questions answered before they purchase? How many senses can you touch (video, audio, samples)? We're out to create the best customer experience online for your customers. Anticipating and predicting their needs will help you win.
Your company and brand has the same level playing field as Dunkin, Chick-fil-A and JetBlue. You get to create the customer experience that separates your company from competitors. And as long as you stay away from really bad customer practices, you're headed in a good direction.
We can help you shape and build strong customer experiences online from your digital channels through to your websites. Call Jay Joyce at 704-398-4437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can build stronger online customer experiences with your company.