Customer experience: what it is, what its advantages are, and how to improve it in your online shop

An online shop will always have a handicap: we are not face to face with the client to resolve their doubts immediately.

That’s why it is so important to improve the client’s experience in our online shop.

Have you ever wondered if your users find it difficult to use your payment method? Is it easy to find the products they want? If clients have a question, is it easy enough for them to contact someone?

Get ready — today it’s time to walk a mile in your clients’ shoes to check if the service you are offering is as good as you think it is.

Let’s get to it!

What’s customer experience?

Try to imagine that you are the client for a second.

Imagine that you are someone who has looked for something on Google and landed on your website for the first time. This is when the adventure throughout your shop begins, and this is exactly what you want to have completely controlled and optimized.

The definition given by Wikipedia sums up the concept very well:

It is the product of an interaction between the organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship.

When we talk about improving the customer experience we are not only talking about the buying experience. It means a comprehensive management of the whole interaction of the client from the moment they visit our shop through the post-sales service.

It is as easy as this: every contact, both direct and indirect, between the client and us must meet the client’s expectations.

Customer experience vs. user experience

You shouldn’t mistake these two concepts for each other because one is wider and contains the other one.

User experience includes usability aspects of our website such as:

  • Navigation
  • Information structure
  • Accessibility
  • Speed-design balance
  • Etc.

On the other hand, the customer experience includes more factors in addition to those that we just mentioned:

  • Buying process
  • Pricing and product availability
  • Shipping
  • Customer service
  • Post-sales service
  • Etc.

The user experience in an e-commerce is included in the customer experience.

experiencia-de-cliente-vs-experiencia-de-usuario

Optimizing the customer experience is easier said than done, don‎’t you think? Let’s see if it is actually doable.

Benefits of a quality customer experience

If you are able to meet your clients’ expectations, there will be lots of advantages:

  • Loyalty: we all like to be treated well and when we are, we come back.
  • Recommendations: happy clients will share their experience and will recommend the business that made them feel that way.
  • Professionalism: a good customer experience makes clients think that the company is professional.
  • Trust: it comes with transparency and honesty, with no hidden costs or fees.
  • Abandonment reduction: when clients feel well accompanied and treated the conversion rate increases. There are several ways to achieve this, but copywriting is crucial.
  • Competitive advantage: there are many brands whose main strength is having excellent customer service. This is an extra advantage that allows you to charge higher prices.

As another positive consequence, you will sell more and will have a bigger impact on people. Sounds good, right?

How to improve the customer experience in order to increase your sales

In an online shop, we are not physically there when clients come. This, which is awesome in terms of time investment, means that we need to have everything ready for when they come so they don’t miss anything.

In order to optimize resources and to not go crazy, the first thing you need to understand is that you need to focus on what clients consider to be the most important thing (defining your buyer persona will be very helpful at this point).

However, there are generally some key factors that almost every person wants to find in an e-commerce when visiting it.

1. Fast and comfortable buying process

There is one thing that clients value above all else: their time. Always remember this.

The whole buying process, from the moment they look for a product with the search engine until they receive the confirmation email, should be as fast as possible and it should have the least amount of steps possible.

A normal mistake is to ask for too many details.

It has been proven that every extra piece of information that we have to fill in increases the chances of abandoning the shopping cart. Ask for just the necessary information in order to deliver the product to the client.

When checking out, less is way more.

2. Requirements and restrictions

Each client has a different ideal buying condition that is mainly dependant on the price and product’s characteristics.

Requirements are the minimums that a product must comply with so that clients can meet their needs. For example, that a bike has a specific part from a certain brand.

On the other hand, restrictions are the limitations that those requirements imply.

The more hyper-specialized our sector is, the more specific the requirements will be: mountain bikes for long routes with special performance features. The limitations would be for those who are looking for a normal mountain bike, a road, or a city bike.

Once again, getting the right combination of requirements and restrictions will require a deeper knowledge of our ideal client. Achieving it means a satisfactory customer experience.

3. Contact and customer service

Although clients are alone in the shop, they need to know that the can ask for help at any time. In fact, it is estimated that 45% of buyers leave the buying process if their questions are not answered fast enough.

An effective way of solving this is by adding an online chat through which you will receive the clients’ questions. Even if you are not in the shop, it will look like you are.

Here you have two options:

A. WordPress online assistance plugins

If you use WordPress and WooCommerce, you can use one of these plugins:

  • Zopim Live Chat: Zendesk’s plugin. It is the most well-known and the free version allows you to have one online chat with an assistant.
  • Olark: an open-source assistant chat tool. Its free version allows you to have one assistant and 20 chat sessions per month. If you still have low traffic, you can start with this one.
  • Facebook messenger for WordPress: This paid plugin (€25) allows users to start a chat on your Facebook page without leaving the shop. The best part is that you can add a button on the product card to solve last-minute questions.

In order to solve questions beforehand, it is useful to have an FAQ section. ;)

B. Prestashop online shop

There are also several options for those who use this CMS:

  • WhatsApp Chat: clients can start a WhatsApp conversation to ask about their doubts. If you have a lot of traffic, it can be too much, but if you want a close relationship with clients through a well-known channel, this is a good option. It cost €36.29.
  • Online chat module: the normal online chat format. As with other options do, it allows you to control what users do and to open a conversation window directly. It is a bit more expensive at €96.

If you want to compare all the modules offered with this CMS, you can check the Prestashop add-ons page.

If you want to improve the overall customer service of your online shop, be sure not to miss this article.

4. Shipping and post-sales service

The whole process that comes after the client pays is just as important as what happens beforehand. A common mistake is offering too many options to make it easier for the client to buy and almost forgetting about them as soon as they make the payment.

Here you have some tips to improve in this area:

  • Offer a wide range of shipping options.
  • Avoid hidden costs that only show up at the end.
  • Quickly answer the chat and any other channels you may have.
  • Always have a plan B in case a shipping problem arises and have some compensation measures thought up ahead of time.

As you can see, customer experience includes everything. This is why we recommend that you start with these four general blocks and then you can work on more specific things later on.

The ultimate key to making your clients fall in love

As a general rule, we are used to having subpar customer service in online shops. Who hasn’t been stuck talking to a machine and pressing different numbers?

If we are able to provide a customer experience that exceeds expectations, users will fall in love with us.

For customer management, the formula is:

Satisfaction = Experience – Expectations

If we can find out what the clients’ minimal expectations are and we surprise them, the return on investment will be even higher.

This can be done at any point of the buying process or even when answering an email.

Did you know that our search engine boosts satisfaction in customer experience?

The buying experience is always a challenge for an online business because we have to convince clients to buy a product they have never seen or touched.

And you have to add an extra obstacle to that: on Internet we want it NOW.

Indeed, as users, if we can’t find what we are looking for immediately, we will close that window and go to the next one (think of what you would do).

This is why having a search engine inside your e-commerce helps the customer to have a better experience… (and generates us more sales). ;)

Want to give our internal search engine a try with a 30-day free trial?

You’re just one click away from a better user experience!