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Written by Finn Ruijter, 30 September 2020

Customer Experience: key differentiator for your website

Ask companies and institutions where they see the greatest opportunities for growth in the coming years, and you’ll increasingly hear the term customer experience. Several studies show that the return on investment in the customer experience is enormous. But what is customer experience and how can your website be distinctive in this?

In this blog post, you’ll learn more about customer experience – and specifically about the online customer experience. Find out what you can do yourself to improve the customer experience.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience (CX) is the way a customer experiences interaction with a company. You may take that word “client” broadly, by the way, depending on your industry: client, citizen, candidate, client, patient, and so on.

The customer experience begins at the very first touchpoint, which can be as fleeting as driving past a billboard, and ends at the final touchpoint: for example, a purchase or a call to customer service.

Every organization offers such a customer experience, whether it realizes it or not. Note that these are observations and feelings of the client. A company may claim to offer the best product or the friendliest customer service, but ultimately it is the customer who decides.

Why is customer experience important?

There are several reasons why it is important for companies to influence the customer experience. Below we list some of the reasons why you too want to go for the best customer experience.

  1. With increased competition and external factors (such as a pandemic), customer retention is essential. After all, reselling to existing customers takes less effort than bringing in a new customer. The customer experience plays an important role in this.
  2. Satisfied customers provide free advertising: word of mouth. These customer ambassadors provide the social proof that so many other potential customers today are sensitive to.
  3. A good customer experience helps a company stand out. For a long time price and quality were decisive, but nowadays consumers (and business customers) also pay close attention to customer friendliness, ease of ordering, delivery time, and so on.
  4. We can extend the previous point to this fact: customers pay up to 17% more when they are assured of a pleasant customer experience.
  5. What is often overlooked is the positive effect on employees. It’s a lot more fun and easier to work with satisfied customers. It makes employees feel more comfortable and you receive more job applications, for example.

How to influence the customer experience (online)

Customer experience takes place on many levels and across multiple channels. Because of the increased importance of digital services and sales, we focus on the online customer experience in this article.

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Tell customers where they stand

A good way to lose visitors is to offer them incomplete information. Therefore, remove as many doubts from (potential) customers as possible. When they fill out a form, tell them how many steps there are and which step they are at. If they can order products, clearly state the delivery time. Even after sending their data, customers like to be kept informed. So send immediate confirmation and, if possible, updates on the process.

Optimize loading speed

Visitors are impatient. On average, 53% of Internet users leave a page if it loads longer than 3 seconds. Indeed, 47% of users simply expect a page to be on their screen within 2 seconds. Google is watching, because one of the ranking factors for a website is loading speed.

So to make a good impression on visitors, it is important that you have a fast website. So have a WordPress site customized, without unnecessary code. But applying lazy loading, loading scripts asynchronously and using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) will also ensure good website performance.

Install a live chat

That’s nice for the visitor: being able to ask a staff member a question directly, without having to go through a telephone menu or sending an e-mail. The live chat makes that possible. Research shows that customer satisfaction is highest when communicating via chat.

So make sure that you install such a chat feature and that a staff member can always be reached through it. One option for busy customer service is a chatbot, which answers frequently asked questions without the intervention of an employee. But then always give visitors the option to step out of that automated conversation and chat with a flesh-and-blood employee.

Personalize your content

Three-quarters of consumers prefer to buy from a seller who knows them by name. Although that fact applies to physical stores, we can learn from this for our online efforts. Even if you don’t sell anything. For example, ensure that logged-in users are not simply logged out so that they are recognized on their next visit. Aren’t you forgetting the cookie notice and privacy statement?

Offer more payment options

Nearly a quarter of consumers abandon their virtual shopping cart when they cannot find their desired payment option. If visitors can pay online with you, make sure that you offer all common payment methods: iDeal, credit card, PayPal, cash on delivery, post-pay with AfterPay or Klarna, and so on.

Trends in customer experience

The customer experience is not a static concept. There are all kinds of developments and trends affecting the customer experience. What we can say with certainty is that CX will look very different in 10 years from anno 2020. These are some of the trends currently in play.

Further digitization

The corona crisis has made many organizations face the facts: we are still not as digital as we would have liked. There are still processes that can be done just fine (partially) online. The software is available for it and the specialists are ready for it, but often there is still a reluctance to change course. But companies and institutions that remain stagnant will soon be overtaken by their competitors.

Faster delivery time

When we talk about e-commerce, until recently consumers settled for a two-day delivery time. Anno 2020, customers can’t go fast enough. Evening delivery or delivery within two hours is becoming more and more common. Bol.com has found that conversion is highest with a short delivery time.

From this observation, not only online stores can benefit. It should be obvious that Internet users like to be served as quickly as possible, whether it is helping them use a service or receiving a quote.

Mobile services

Smartphones, and to a lesser extent tablets, continue to nibble at the share of computers when it comes to website visits. That means customers are increasingly reaching for their cell phones for answers to their questions or to take care of something. And, as Think with Google discovered, 50% of visitors will stop visiting your site if it is not mobile-friendly, even if they love your organization.