Congratulations, you just launched your e-commerce store for your cute coffee makers! An original design that started in your college dorm room, you're now making them at scale with just the right amount of kawaii. After a strong quarter, however, sales are stagnating and you're overwhelmed by customer enquiries.
Sipping a drink from your coffee maker, you're ready to give up! 🤷 Launching a popular crowdfunded product appears to be half the fight. The second half is making sure that customers enjoy a great experience online from the time they learn about your brand until they receive their machine and share their creations on social media.
So, grab your favourite cuppa, find a comfortable seat and learn how you can improve your online customer experience with these 7 tips:
- Unify your communication channels
- Get an overview of the customer
- Engage in conversational marketing
- Personalise the buying experience
- Onboard customers successfully
- Grow business with collaboration
- Monitor to improve the experience
What is the digital customer experience?
First things first, what do we mean by the digital customer experience (CX)?
The term "digital customer experience" refers to all of the digital interactions that a customer has with a brand as well as the overall impression that the customer forms at the end of it. It might range from how quickly you respond to their emails to whether they think your agents are knowledgeable when they contact you.
In 2021, e-commerce accounted for nearly 20% of retail sales worldwide. Forecasts indicate that by 2025, the online segment will make up close to a quarter of total global retail sales.
While the e-commerce share of retail sales is growing each year, it's also a very competitive business. Website visitors are free to compare prices from online stores all around the world. You can differentiate yourself from the competition, retain loyal clients and gain repeat purchases by providing a fantastic customer experience!
7 tips to improve the digital customer experience
Tip #1: Unify your communication channels
After discovering weeks of missed emails, phone calls and instant messages, your heart sinks. You have a small support team—just you and a part-timer sharing phones and accounts—thinking that it would be enough at this stage of your startup. But managing operations and customer support are proving harder than you think!
Googling for an answer, you find CINNOX, a CX platform that elevates customer and team experiences using a customisable web widget. You learn that it provides a truly omnichannel experience, enabling customers to interact with your brand using their favourite channels: live chat, web calls, video calls, email and Facebook Messenger.
Putting down your coffee, you start thinking about how this could work in practice. You log in to the web dashboard or mobile app, seeing all the customer's interactions in a single chat room. Plus, since it's a cloud communications platform, you can seamlessly switch between chat, voice and video in the same call!
You then picture a dream scenario: a prospect clicks on your widget to make a web call, asking if your machine is hard to use. So you jump to a video call as it's easier to speak and demonstrate how to use the machine at the same time. Balancing your phone near a coffee maker, you turn to look into the camera and start your pitch…
Tip #2: Get an overview of the customer
After going through the analytics and data at the e-commerce platform that drives your online store, you realise that you're missing a giant piece of the customer journey. While the e-commerce platform can show the steps that visitors take through your store, you know nothing about the customer interactions outside of it.
Your makeshift CRM stack is in shambles: customer orders and contact details are stored in your e-commerce platform, SMS and Facebook Messenger chats are on multiple phones, email is found in personal and business Gmail accounts, and video calls are made using whatever apps are at hand like WhatsApp, WeChat and LINE.
You've just created data silos. The part-timer helping you, for example, wouldn't know that you recently made a phone call to follow up with a Facebook chat enquiry and then emailed some datasheets and brochures. It's difficult to get an overview of the customer journey when your interaction data is scattered all over the place!
Reading more about CINNOX, you find out that unifying communication channels also means that all real-time and historical customer interactions are stored in one place. You and your team member can get a single view of the customer, making it easier to anticipate their needs and understand where they are in the buying journey.
Looking in the CINNOX dashboard, for example, you noticed that a prospect has visited your web pages many times in their customer journey. Their initial chat turned into a product demo and now they're talking about your competitors! So you make a pre-emptive strike by sharing a review that gave your product a 5-star rating.
Tip #3: Engage in conversational marketing
Another thing that you notice from Google Analytics is the poor conversion rate from website visitors. Your flashy e-commerce site is optimised for conversions and it receives a lot of traffic thanks to your viral social media campaigns and good-looking influencers, but it's not translating into coffee maker orders or prospective enquiries.
After reading a blog post at CINNOX, you learn that the latest trend in e-commerce is "conversational marketing". This is where live agents actively engage visitors in real-time, one-to-one conversations. When agents understand their needs, learn about their goals and build relationships, they can influence prospects' decision-making.
You start dreaming how this could work: a prospect replies to your widget's smart greeting welcoming them to your store. They're looking for a Mother's Day gift. You recommend a mid-range coffee maker. They want it gift-wrapped and shipped to Australia. You tell them it can be done in time. They add the product to their cart!
Tip #4: Personalise the buying experience
Going over your e-commerce store analytics and reports, the high abandoned shopping cart rate worries you as well. Website visitors are spending time on your coffee maker customisation page, mixing and matching different configurations and finishes. But then they get cold feet just before clicking on "Buy now". Why?
Using CINNOX's lightweight CRM feature, you see the Mother's Day prospect lingering on the checkout page. You prod them gently via chat and it turns out that they have a final request: "Our mother has trouble seeing fine print because of her age. Can you make the print larger on the dials so that she can see the numbers?"
Wanting to close the deal, you transfer the chat enquiry to your product design lead in Hong Kong. Sharing a photo in the group chat, you ask if it can be done. Your design lead chats with the visitor to learn more about her requirements. "Yes, it can be done," was the design lead's reply to you as the prospect clicked "Buy now".
Elsewhere, you've seen an increase in website traffic from Japan, the land of kawaii! Because your team member is learning Japanese, smart routing directs enquiries to her based on the visitor's browser language. This surprises and delights your Japanese guests as they were not expecting to be greeted in their own language.
Tip #5: Onboard customers successfully
Among the many emails and social messages that you receive are customer complaints. Many are about how they are unable to replicate the same luscious coffee drinks shown on your website. Despite the cute and easy-to-use look of your coffee maker, a lot of people find it hard to foam milk or extract a shot of espresso.
You want to turn the tide of negative sentiment and make these customers into fans. Introducing a new complimentary training class, you share web links and QR codes from CINNOX in welcome emails and paste them on every coffee maker sold. When customers click or scan the link, they'll make a direct video call to start their class.
Tip #6: Grow business with collaboration
While going through your email inboxes, social accounts and mobile phones, you figured there must be a better way to work together and share information. After your part-time staff finishes work, you usually pick up the shift well into the night. But sometimes you're occupied with product design meetings and supplier negotiations.
The same CX tools that create amazing customer experiences can also be used for your teams! You transferred the earlier Mother's Day chat enquiry to your product design lead and posted a snapshot of the dial in the group chat. Despite the physical distance, both of you worked together to find a solution to the prospect's request.
You're also starting to appreciate creating conference calls on demand. Sometimes you spontaneously turn one-to-one calls into conference calls, inviting your contract manufacturer to examine design changes. And you like how screen sharing keeps everyone on the same page when reviewing blueprints and documents together.
Tip #7: Monitor to improve the experience
Now that CINNOX is fully operational in your startup, you rely on its real-time dashboard to provide insightful data, generate useful reports, and give an overview of each consumer's customer journey. This enables you to spot areas where you can optimise workflows for better customer experiences and make confident decisions.
For example, the Visitor Report shows a month-on-month growth in orders and enquiries from North America. Hiring more part-time agents in South America, you use real-time chat monitoring to feel the pulse of customer interactions, sometimes jumping in to uphold high service standards that you're beginning to be known for!
A better CX means better business
Today's customers have high expectations for digital experiences online. In addition to the convenience of online shopping, they want the same personalised service they are used to from brick-and-mortar stores. Try these 7 tips to improve your e-commerce customer experience and follow the lead of cute coffee makers!