“Your website should cause an action, not just a reaction.” – Elle Robertson.
With the massive growth of e-commerce, brands today need to have a solid online presence. And, the website forms an integral part of this digital marketing strategy. The primary purpose of inbound marketing is to not just get customers on your website and but to further guide them through the stages of awareness, consideration, and, finally, decision. So, from visuals to usability, every single element on the website contributes significantly towards improving the customer experience. This, in turn, has a huge impact on the brand’s ability to retain customers and attract new ones.
Imagine reading a great article and landing on a website that looks something like this:
Everything just feels wrong about this site. Right from the inconsistent typography, irrelevant drop shadow text, and cluttered information, this site will make you click the back button in less than 5 seconds. And, this is very good news for the competitors!
We do know that customer experience is, today, the single most important differentiator between brands. Read the below statistics that substantiate this fact.
Nearly 89 per cent of brands are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from their competition by improving the customer experience and meeting customer service expectations.
In the survey for Digital Marketing Trends by Econsultancy, it was concluded that customer experience is a way to make the brand stand out from the crowd.
By 2020, the success of a brand will no longer be limited to just product and price. CX will form an integral part of brand perception and consumer decision-making process.
Since the website forms a pertinent factor in the raging brand wars, let us discuss ways in which you can improve your website to offer a seamless customer journey and add more value to your bottom line.
Empower customers to find their own answers
Most of the potential customers that would interact with your online platforms will be millennials and they like finding out their own answers rather than calling up the customer care executive. In fact, millennials are smart enough to google their answers in a classroom instead of asking the professor to repeat himself. The percentage of customers that prefer self-service stands at 72% when it comes to U.S customers.
Though the value of customer self-service has increased significantly, most brands still just stick to an FAQ page or a keyword-based search, leading to increased abandonment of website by potential customers.
A good option to mitigate this problem is to integrate a chatbot on key pages, whereby customers can engage in a fun conversation while getting their queries addressed. From 2012 to 2015, customers using online and mobile chat for customer service increased by 86%, a reflection of the increase in chatbot preference.
Intercom is a chatbot service provider that is easy to integrate to your website and can work wonders for your incoming visitors.
Be there if answers are not found
Despite your best efforts, more often than not, bots and web self-service won’t be enough to address a customer’s needs. Customers are not ready to wait and so, you must ensure that they are able to talk to a real person to get their concerns addressed. Amazon, well-known for its excellent customer service, enables users to troubleshoot on their own. However, it also provides the option to initiate a call with the customer executive without even having to leave the app.
Another case in point is Zoho. Once you sign-up for any one of its services, the account manager will call you and walk you through each and every step. Millennials want to figure out things on their own but they need someone to be with them in case they have specific queries. Companies that understand this fact are the ones that will win.
Do away with global content
Did you know that 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that knows their name and recommends options based on their past purchases? Amazon, famously called the world’s most customer-centric company, does this effectively by suggesting deals to you that are quite similar to your last purchase.
As a customer, doesn’t it feels amazing when someone recognizes you by name and understands your need? This is exactly what companies need to capitalize upon. In fact, according to Gartner, smart personalisation could also enable digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 15% by 2020.
Create an engaging homepage
On average, you have only 8 seconds to grasp the attention of your user. If users are not impressed with your first look, they’d never make it to your offerings. So, what are the few things that you can do to ensure that the bounce rate is as low as possible?
- Use your brand name in the front and centre to make sure that brand elements lead to a positive brand association.
- Run tests on the website, tablet, and mobile on different OS to make sure that the typography and images are coherent.
- Use your brand colours in your texts. As you can see in the above image, Dove uses the logo colour in headings. These elements have a psychological impact of their own.
- Make the call to actions relevant, clear and prominent.
Know what is important
Following is a graph that states the important factors with respect to the website design. These factors are distributed in terms of the percentage of their importance.
And the answer is obvious. An easy website that helps users get what they want is what is paramount.
Optimize your website
Website load time is a factor that impacts not only your accessibility but also SEO rankings. According to Kissmetrics, 47 per cent of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40 per cent of visitors will leave the website if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds. Few things you can do from your end to make sure that the loading time is less:
- Check the size of the images. The larger the file size, the longer it takes to load.
- Include more white space in your overall design to speed up page loading times.
- Disable autoplay for all multimedia elements (audio and video).
These changes might seem minor, but some serious cross-vertical work is required to get this done. Your development, design, and marketing teams need to work coherently to accomplish this. Once implemented, the changes will do wonders for your website traffic and conversion rates.
Have a search bar
According to an eConsultancy study, 30% of visitors use the search bar to find products on e-commerce sites. However, this data is not only limited to e-commerce sites but applies to almost any online site. For instance, this is the homepage of an online music player.
There is a search option that recognizes the artist that I’m looking for even before I am halfway through the name. The left-hand side shows the songs that I had listened to earlier while the bottom bar shows the last played song. The experience is both seamless and personalized.
Besides doing all the above, it’s great to have a blog that can be used to direct traffic to your website. In fact, more than 80% of the inbound traffic comes from blogs and they do wonders in the awareness stage.
What else have you done to improve the customer experience on your website? Do let us know!