The State of Play

Is your customer experience up to scratch? New figures might suggest otherwise. 

The internet poses as many opportunities as it does restrictions.

As much as online shopping and browsing are both speedy and convenient, they can also be frustrating and difficult.

The internet is as much a platform as it is a barrier.

Six months ago I talked about The Business of an Online Business. It’s worth checking out if you’re serious about the current state of play on the internet.

As it’s not pretty.

And what I’m about to say has been brewing for some time.

A recent SDL survey found that 40% of its respondents said that their worst customer experiences came at the hands of digital industries. That’s a little shy of half of all experiences.

Can we then assume that half of online customers are not completely satisfied with their experiences? Probably.

It’s been said that good customer experiences come down to empathy, appreciation and helpfulness. If only it was that simple.

If only it was that simple.

Just a few weeks ago I bought a used book from Amazon. If you buy used books from Amazon, you’ll know that the seller lists the condition of the book that’s being sold.

Long story short, I wasn’t happy with what arrived. The experience wasn’t completely satisfactory.

But there’s a problem.

I’m not convinced that this pattern-dip in customer experience is solely down to the brand or business. I think it’s because of the customer. The customer who now calls the shots.

When I brought that book, it clearly stated that the book wouldn’t be in perfect condition. That it would have minor damage. Regardless, I wasn’t happy.

In all honesty, the book at been scribbled, highlighted and noted throughout. It shouldn’t have been sent to anyone.

But that’s just an opinion. And again, in the battle between the customer and the seller, the customer will (and should) always win. It’s that opinion that matters.

At times, there are customers that you’ll never be able to please on the internet. For the rest, there are areas to look at.

To correct this is a balancing act between values and function. Between your brand and your website.

First, look into your brand. Offer what customers really want, and then go beyond it. Keep innovating with the customer put first. Build a community for those customers so that others can share stuff with them. Your brand has to have a set of values that customers can all relate to. Make them clear and truthful. It’s why your product is brought over your competitor’s.

That leads on nicely to the next area…

The area where it actually happens: the online experience. Your website needs to load quickly, that’s a given on desktop and mobile. Navigation needs to be effortless. Keep content to a minimum, with good quality visuals. Make it easy for customers to contact you. But more that anything, make everything really simple. Don’t make them think.

If you put the customer first, you’ll always go beyond. You’ll have a better chance of providing a good experience.

Yes, it sounds cliche. Sure everyone puts the customer first. But do they really put the customer first? Because let’s face it, 40% is atrocious.

Everything you say and do online needs to be transparent. Equally, everything you say needs to be true.

You’ll get caught out otherwise. Then the bad experiences will keep on building up behind you.

The internet poses as many opportunities as it does restrictions. Know them well, and work with them to deliver the best customer experience possible.

You don’t want to be somebody’s worst online experience. At 40% of all experiences, it’s not one that you can easily avoid either.

That’s the current state of play. Don’t leave anything to chance.

What do you think?

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