In an effort to boost sales and effectively differentiate from competitors, more ecommerce entrepreneurs and hiring managers are working hard to build dedicated customer experience teams at their companies. Why? Because competition in the ecommerce space is fierce, and simply having the best products just doesn’t cut it anymore. Each day, new shops are introduced to the world, new products go viral, and it gets harder and harder to keep the attention and loyalty of online consumers.
To survive the next five years in ecommerce, you can’t just focus on building products that you think people need and want. To make it, you have to focus instead on delighting customers, exceeding expectations, solving problems, being a proactive listener, and understanding your customers better than you’ve ever understood them before.
You have to invest in customer experience. In ecommerce, customer experience relates to the interactions you have with and create for the people who interact with your brand, employees, products, and store online.
This post will help you understand why customer experience should matter to you, how to hire the right employees when creating your team, which tools you should use, and where to go if you need more help along the way.
Why Customer Experience Matters
As someone working in the ecommerce space, you probably won’t be surprised to read that online consumers hold a lot of power over the companies they interact with. In the world of ecommerce, reviews from consumers can either make or break your business.
Consider the following statistics from BigCommerce on the power of online reviews and word-of-mouth:
- 42% of online customers find recommendations from friends and family influential, twice the number who cite advertisements as influential when determining where to shop.
- 23% of shoppers are influenced by social media recommendations/reviews.
- 42% of online shoppers want more testimonials from ecommerce sites.
Then pair those facts with these statistics about the impact of good or bad customer service from Help Scout:
- On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
- It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
- News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.
- For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.
- 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
When it comes to online selling, creating positive experiences for customers is everything. It’s what separates you from your competitors, it’s what gets people talking about your brand and your products, and it’s what ultimately helps you sell more and grow faster.
You can’t afford to be passive about investing in customer experience, because the moment you do, you risk losing existing and prospective customers to your competitors.
But here’s the thing: you can’t do it alone. In order to get any sort of ROI from developing and implementing customer experience strategies for your business, you need to find and employ other people who are just passionate about customer interactions and customer emotions as you are.
How to Build a World-Class Customer Experience Team
To effectively serve your ecommerce customers, establish the right reputation for your business, build trust, and persuade people to buy your products, you need to assemble a world-class customer experience team.
Your team should be made up of cross-departmental employees with a variety of skillsets. Here is what an ideal customer experience team might look like:
- Director of Customer Experience – this person is responsible for developing strategies, uncovering opportunities, and managing all projects and initiatives that relate to customer experience. The person in this role should be confident, creative, organized, comfortable with managing people and deadlines, obsessed about customer relationship management, and willing to test and fail.
- Customer Success Representative – this person is responsible for answering questions that come in over email, following up with customers to make sure they received their products and are happy, and working with the social media manager to respond to questions and comments that come through on social media channels. Your customer success representative may also launch NPS surveys to determine customer happiness. The person in this role should be a good communicator with strong writing skills and an attention to detail. They should be patient, empathetic, and enthusiastic about interacting with all types of customers.
- Social Media / Community Manager – this person is responsible for monitoring social media accounts for comments (both good and bad from customers). In addition, this person should also be proactive about finding conversations that are happening on social media about your products or company, even if they aren’t occurring on your pages. This person should work with the customer success representative to respond to questions and comments from customers on social media. The person in this role should also be patient, organized, empathetic, and a strong communicator.
- Customer Advocacy Artist – this person is responsible for packaging, fulfillment, and sending handwritten thank you cards to new customers. They are your customer delight expert. The person in this role should be creative, artistic, and excited about testing new ideas to show customers how much you appreciate them.
- Front-End Web Developer – this person is responsible for making sure customers have a positive experience when they land on your website, interact with any of your product pages, or go through the process of purchasing a product from your store. They are also responsible for working with the content marketing specialist and brand manager to create compelling, helpful content for customers. The person in this role should have the development skills and experience necessary to make changes to your website.
- Content Marketing Specialist – this person is responsible for creating helpful, rich, educational content for customers. Remember: your job as an ecommerce leader is to provide value for your customers, in addition to providing them with great products. To differentiate from competitors, you need to leverage yourself as a resource. That’s where your content marketing specialist comes into play. Your content marketing specialist may also help with creating and launching email campaigns for customers. Finally, this person will be in charge of developing the standard voice and style that the rest of your team uses when interacting and engaging with customers. The person in this role should be organized, a strong writer and communicator, skilled in the areas of content creation, content strategy, and content promotion.
- Brand Manager / Designer – this person is responsible for making sure that all projects and initiatives that relate to customer experience align with brand guidelines and standards. This person also works closely with most members of the team to create original graphics that can be used when engaging or reaching out to customers. The person in this role should be creative, artistic, and able to manage multiple projects and multiple deadlines at once.
- Technical Product Expert – if you have products that require a lot of technical education or support, you should have a product expert who can be available to interact with customers when they need help. The person in this role should be a strong communicator and writer, and should know your products inside and out.
- Data Analyst – this person is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and presenting data that relates to your customers. You should leverage them when you want to learn more about your customers, or when you want to use data to validate new ideas. The person in this role should have a strong background in analytics and BI.
As you can see from this list, your customer experience team will likely be comprised of employees that already work for you in some capacity. The goal is to bring in experts from a variety of different areas in your company who can apply their skills and experience toward providing better experiences and service to customers.
Recommended Tools & Best Practices
When building a customer experience strategy and team for your ecommerce business, consider leveraging the following tools and best practices:
Tool #1: Delighted – this product makes it easy to get feedback from customers by allowing you to build and send custom NPS questionnaires on behalf of your business. Customers take a single question survey, they rate your product/service and provide feedback in their own words, then feedback appears instantly in your dashboard.
Tool #2: Mention – this product makes it easy to track, prioritize, and respond to customer feedback and comments that get posted on social media sites. It allows you to be proactive instead of reactive when engaging with customers on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Tool #3: Canva – this product makes it easy to create custom graphics to use when engaging with customers over social media, in email marketing campaigns, as part of a blog post, or within printed material that you include in packaging.
Tool #4: Zendesk Chat – this product makes it easy to have live chat conversations with potential customers in real-time on your website. It’s a great way to build rapport with website visitors, answer questions, help people overcome objections, and drive them closer to purchasing a product from your store.
Tool #5: Smile.io – this product makes it easy to build customized programs that reward customers for their loyalty. It allows you to gift rewards to loyal customers, track referrals made by customers to their friends, and drive repeat purchases.
Best Practice #1: Listen to your customers. In order to create better experiences for your customers, you need to understand them. To do that, you need to genuinely listen to the feedback they provide to you. Whenever possible, reach out to customers and ask them for feedback about your products, your team, and the experience they had shopping with you. Use their answers to make improvements or changes to the way you serve customers and present information on your website.
Best Practice #2: Focus on being helpful first, selling second. To create stronger, more meaningful relationships with customers, always focus in providing value first. If you focus too much on sales, the people who land on your website will notice, and they will leave. To keep them on your website longer, create content and resources that help solve their problems. If you can prove to online consumers that you’re here to help them, the sales will follow.
Best Practice #3: Talk with your employees about your customers. Meet regularly with your customer experience team to talk about your customers. Ask your employees to share stories about interactions they had with customers, ideas on how to make experiences better, and any challenges they might be facing. Work together as a team to determine how to serve your customers better and differentiate from your competition.
Best Practice #4: Test new ideas often. To keep customers happy and smiling, go out of your way to test new strategies and ideas. For example, if you’re not doing it already, try sending handwritten, personalized (reference the name of each customer) thank you cards to each new customer you get. Find out how it impacts things like referrals, social media mentions, and repeat purchases.
Best Practice #5: Surprise, delight, make people smile. Above all, your job is to keep your customers smiling. Remind them constantly that they are making or have made the right choice by buying a product from you. Do what you can to delight them and show them your appreciation.
Use these tools and best practices to shape your own customer experience strategy, and make changes along the way as you implement tactics, test tools, and identify any gaps that need to be filled.
Additional Resources Worth Exploring
To learn more about customer experience, explore the following resources:
- Creative Ways To Improve Ecommerce Customer Experience from Shopify
- 11 Ways To Improve Your Ecommerce Store’s Customer Experience from ReferralCandy
- 8 Simple Ways to Improve Customer Experience at Your Ecommerce Business from WisePops
Over to You
How are you investing in customer experience at your ecommerce company? Tell me in the comments below.