How to Facilitate a Frictionless Customer Experience
With more of us shopping online than ever before, it has never been more important for companies across all sectors to hone their customer experience credentials. After all, continued failure to deliver goods or services in a timely, friendly, or coherent manner will quickly push customers to consider other brands.We all know how it feels to experience an interrupted customer journey when purchasing goods and services online. Whether you’ve had trouble adding items to your basket, been ghosted by customer support services, or faced serious delivery delays, frustrating disruptions to the customer experience are all too common in today’s digital environment.
So, how can you create a frictionless customer journey from end to end? We’ve put together some handy techniques to get you started.
Step 1. Make the customer journey more navigable
Outdated sites can be difficult to navigate and may frustrate potential clients. If you’re currently attempting to woo leads with long, confusing forms and delayed follow-up emails, or if your site is full of poorly targeted ads and a confusing sitemap, something needs to change.
So, how can you streamline the customer experience in a way that will boost your brand reputation? Here are some of our best tips:
Create a customer journey map
A customer journey map is essentially a sketch of the many paths a customer may take when engaging with your customer. It should be comprehensive and extensive, accounting for the various internal departments and third parties that may connect with the customer throughout the buying process.
When you draw (or redraw) your map, you are likely to notice issues that could impact the quality of your customer service such as long wait times, poor marketing copy, unnecessary touchpoints, and complex internal processes.
It is important to involve colleagues from across the business during the map-drawing process, as they will be able to offer department-specific insights. You should also attempt to collect and factor in customer feedback, reassessing and redrawing the map every quarter or so to ensure your business remains competitive.
Minimise and simplify touchpoints
If your typical customer journey involves lots of stages and static communication, it may be time to slash your touchpoints with a chat platform or an AI-powered bot. Customers don’t want to wait hours or days to hear from a customer representative after filling out a lengthy form.
Investing in an AI bot will reduce the number of hurdles a customer has to face when signing up for a service or paying for goods, as it will answer questions quickly and only defer clients to customer service representatives when necessary. Clients will also appreciate the ease of communicating via one platform, rather than having to log in to their emails or answer calls.
Step 2. Be respectful of customer data
Despite increased customer vigilance surrounding the sharing of personal details, over 80% are still willing to share information in exchange for seamless personalised experiences. The problem is, however, that most customers are unhappy with the ways in which companies use (or fail to use) their data.
The key to using client data respectfully and fruitfully is to put the customer experience at the heart of your development plans. Only request information you know you will use to improve the customer journey and boost your brand’s reputation.
Wondering how to go about this in an ethical and logical way? Here are some useful hints:
Don’t ask too much of your customers
Customers are often time-poor, meaning you should avoid long and tedious forms at all costs. The same can be said for AI-powered bot conversations. When planning your chat scripts, try not to include too many steps and ensure your routes to different answers are as short as possible while remaining helpful and accurate.
It is also important that you only ask for data you intend to use. Only ask for email addresses or phone number if you plan on sending marketing materials or tracking information using those channels.
As well as respecting the privacy of your customers, minimising the amount of data you collect is a great way to ensure you remain compliant with privacy laws such as GDPR. The more sensitive information you collect, the better and more costly your cybersecurity systems will need to be.
Hone your personalisation strategy
Honing your personalisation strategy will help you to collect relevant data that will help you to make clients feel valued and respected during their customer journeys. Firstly, ascertain where personalisation will come in useful. Acknowledging the needs of consumers throughout their interactions with your company will ensure that their needs are fulfilled and help you to continue improving your offerings. Ask who they are wherever possible and continually check whether they are facing any issues, either via an AI bot or a simple email.
Harness feedback to hone your goods and services
Don’t allow honest feedback to remain unread – use it to enhance your offerings and deliver the perfect customer experience. Sending surveys is easy and inexpensive and will help you to identify problems with operational processes. Remember, however, that most of your customers are time-poor and expect their data to be used wisely. Here are few rules to follow when writing surveys:
- Keep them short and simple to maximise the number of surveys that are completed
- Fully explain how the feedback will be used in the introduction to the survey
- Act on your findings and make sure to keep customers in the loop about changes you’re making
- Make sure there’s something in it for your respondents. Why not enter participants into a prize draw or entice them with special offers?
Step 3. Embrace the digital revolution
The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the importance of digital innovation when it comes to customer journey support. As an increasing number of operations shifted to digital channels, marketing and sales professionals discovered the power of new communications platforms and technologies to help them do their jobs efficiently.
As we emerge from pandemic times, companies should continue to invest in cutting-edge digital technologies as a means to empower customers and employees alike. Here are just a few ways the digital world can be harnessed to improve consumer experiences from end to end:
Simplify communication channels and embrace self-service
Novel chat functions such as those offered by an AI chatbot are great for streamlining communications between consumers and employees. As well as offering self-service functionality, a bot with live chat options will help resolve customer issues in real-time. It is also worth noting that customers generally prefer to use self-service platforms over conversations with a brand representative.
Adapt to an “always-on” world
Thanks to the connectedness of our digital world, customer engagements don’t simply stop every weekday at 5 pm. Wherever you’re based, customers will inevitably attempt to engage with your company at all hours of the day. With an AI-powered bot, you can offer 24/7 assistance to clients unable to contact you during office – great news for international customers and night owls! If you have several international clients, it may also be wise to invest in a bot with translation capabilities.
Don’t delay: Hone your customer experience credentials and reap the rewards
If you’re hoping to build a loyal customer base, you must channel your efforts into creating memorable, frictionless purchase experiences. We’ve thrown a lot of information at you in this guide, but creating a superb end-to-end experience isn’t rocket science. In brief, the key ingredients to success include:
- Draw a comprehensive customer journey map to work from
- Simplify and minimise your touchpoints
- Only ask for data you need
- Put your customer feedback to good use and work hard to address weaknesses
- Focus on building an intuitive self-service environment
- Harness the power of AI to serve customers at all times of the day and night
Now you know the basics, you’re ready to start wowing new and existing customers alike. Good luck!
Make Botgate AI your go-to company for conversational marketing
If you’re keen to launch an AI chat function on your site but are unsure where to start, look no further than Botgate AI. We help businesses interact more effectively with potential clients using a cloud-based sales and messaging platform. To start generating leads and accelerating your sales cycle, do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly team today!
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