In a world more interconnected than ever, the business landscape is truly all about the customer. Customers have the ability to search for and acquire products and services via innumerable channels, so only those companies that are committed to ensuring an elite customer experience have a chance of making it to the next business year. The following breakdown analyzes five of the most effective tips for improving the customer journey and maximizing company profits.
1. Have an Elite Ecommerce Infrastructure
It is no secret that ecommerce exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even as more and more people get vaccinated and a return to normal life appears increasingly within reach, the online shopping trend shows no signs of slowing down, with ecommerce increasing by 39% during the first quarter of 2021.
While intuitive and navigable websites and apps are undoubtedly a critical component of the ecommerce equation, it is crucial that businesses have a solid plan in place for delivery. Customers expect shipping to be fast and affordable, with free or same day delivery often the key decision factor when making an online purchase. However, it is not easy to do this and protect profits at the same time, with businesses absorbing roughly 20% of their ecommerce shipping costs--a formula that threatens to make some low margin industries unsustainable in an online environment.
The root of the shipping conundrum is usually the result of inefficiency in last mile delivery, with the last leg of the shipping journey accounting for a preponderance of the shipping costs. However, with no effective way to get products from distribution hubs to hard-to-reach addresses, some companies are forced to pay couriers as much as $2 per mile to get orders to a customer’s front door. The problem with this “Uberfication” of product delivery--in addition to cost--is that there is no way to ensure that drivers are performing up to company expectations in terms of service and professionalism. This has led many ecommerce retailers to consider the benefits of third-party logistics companies to help with their last mile problems.
2. Provide Top Notch Customer Service
There is no denying that technology has added efficiency to customer service in the ecommerce era, with bots and FAQ sections quickly and effectively addressing a majority of customer concerns.
However, there are times when the automated phone menu is not enough, and customers want to talk to a real person to describe an issue they are having with their order. Some 67% of people report frustration with automated customer service options being unable to fully address their concern, so it is critical that businesses incorporate methods for customers to be able to reach a live agent. Statistics indicate that the effort will be worth the while, with businesses showing 60% greater profitability when the customer service experience is improved.
3. Leverage the Power of Social Proof
The reality of life in 2021 is that you are only as good as your online rating. Roughly 91% of customers check online reviews before making a purchase. While it may not be fair, customers are much more likely to trust the opinion of a stranger regarding a product than any professional marketing content created by your company.
Therefore, find ways to encourage and elicit favorable customer reviews. Create a montage of the best reviews from a number of platforms and feature it prominently on your business’ website. Provide links to all of your social media pages so customers can get the chance to interact with others regarding your company’s offerings.
4. Cross-Sell as Much as Possible
The amount of time, money, and effort required to locate, nurture, and sell to a new customer can be significant. As a result, it is paramount that you leverage interested customers as much as possible.
A great way to maximize a customer’s profit potential is through cross-selling. This is the act of offering complementary products and services that may build on or enhance the experience the customer has with the product in which he or she initially expressed interest. Some ways to effectively cross-sell include offering service warranties on products or on demand delivery options should the customer need to expand on an initial order.
5. Interact Throughout the Customer Life Cycle
Successful businesses understand that the purchase is just the beginning of the customer relationship. The experience the customer has with the product after the sale is complete will dictate whether or not they offer repeat business. It is estimated that keeping existing customers is 5X less expensive than acquiring new ones, so it is crucial that businesses interact with customers throughout their relationship with the product to ensure their satisfaction and lay the groundwork for a repeat purchase.
Maximize Profits by Improving the Customer Journey
The business landscape in 2021 has placed power in the hands of the customer like never before. As a result, it is vital that companies make the customer experience a top priority. By considering the aforementioned helpful tips, businesses can improve the customer journey and earn more profits.