There are countless articles on how to build a meaningful customer experience strategy, whether specifically in e-commerce or in any type of selling environment. And while we all strive to continuously, proactively add technologies and process improvements designed to enhance the experience of our customers, sometimes a cautionary tale – learning what not to do – can be particularly insightful.
Everyone has been in the role of consumer, so it’s not a stretch to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What excites you? What entices you to buy? What prompts you to leave a 1-star review or quit on a sale before it’s final? Regardless of what’s being sold – from souvenir t-shirts to private jets – the desired experience is essentially the same. In this blog, we share a true narrative customer experience gone wrong, and tips on how to avoid this sort of scenario.
Integration and CX in E-commerce
Integration underpins successful modern digital e-commerce systems. It allows companies increased freedom to create a seamless omnichannel customer experience through incorporating many specialized tools and platforms. While integration provides the means for building the best customer experience, looking at the system from the outside, as the customer experiences it, often provides key insights on which areas to focus integration efforts.
How to Improve Customer Experience
The following experience happened several years ago, and the retailer in question has improved their customer experience significantly since. But as far as bad digital customer experiences go, this serves as a cautionary tale, particularly as retailers are increasingly dependent on so many technologies to act as one cohesive unit in delivery of customer experience.
|I wanted to buy a new carry-on suitcase. It had to be the right size for an international flight, and I was hoping for a silver color to match my other luggage.|
As luck would have it, I received an email that a large national retailer was having an amazing one-day 70% off sale on luggage. I excitedly clicked through to their website.
Fifteen long seconds later the home page loaded. Annoying since a) that’s really slow and b) I clicked on a CTA for the sale, so why did I land on the home page? I spent some time searching for the luggage sale listing and the page began to load.
And then the server crashed.
This retailer got it right – the right buyer with the right offer at the right time. Success! Then the experience immediately went awry.
As Forbes succinctly points out, convenience is one of the biggest differences between in-store and online shopping. Each negative experience chips away at this primary benefit e-commerce is meant to provide.
Common barriers include:
- Slow response times
- Unnecessary steps to reach goals
With technology advances such as composable architecture, there are few excuses for anything other than a blazing fast user interface, even at peak times. Don’t make it easier for your customer to support your competitor instead of you. With an estimated 12-24 million e-commerce sites globally, there are plenty of alternatives even for niche businesses!
Set Clear Expectations
|Had I been only casually interested in a suitcase, I would have bounced off the site, but I had a specific trip coming up, so I stuck with it. I kept refreshing the page, and eventually it loaded once more. |
After a few more crashes I located a silver carry-on in the listing page and clicked through to the details page. ‘SOLD OUT’ it said. I tried a few more silver suitcases with the same result before finally finding one in stock.
It was the right dimensions, but on the details page it was listed as blue, though only pictured in red. At 70% off I opted to settle for this mystery color so I clicked ‘Buy Now’ and got through the purchase process as fast as that suffering server would allow.
Missing, incorrect, or unclear information about the products or services you provide risks:
- Appearing professionally incompetent
- Eroding customer confidence in your ability as a retailer
- Customer assumptions about what something is or does, resulting in disappointment
The color of a suitcase is a minor issue, but these small inconsistencies create uncertainty, impacting the decision to buy. If a business doesn’t know exactly what they are selling, what else don’t they know?
Providing high-quality information empowers the customer to make an informed decision, eliminating confusion or disappointment and the negative reviews and product returns that result. Recent technology advances such as headless commerce can help connect real time inventory with user interfaces, as long as it’s all integrated seamlessly.
Every User is Unique
|A few minutes later I started to have some blue/red suitcase buyer’s remorse. |
I navigated back to the suitcase listings page and (once again between crashes/slow loading/out of stock items) located a silver suitcase I preferred. I successfully purchased this silver suitcase and then proceeded to cancel my order of the blue/red suitcase.
A few hours later and I still hadn’t received an order cancellation confirmation, so I begrudgingly got on a call with customer service. After about an hour of listening to hold music I was told that everything with my order and cancellation was fine.
THREE DAYS later, the company canceled the silver suitcase order due to an inventory issue.
Five days later the “Canceled” blue/red suitcase arrived at my door. Oh, and it was green.
A seamless customer service experience is a hallmark of modern e-commerce. But when you fail in this arena, the negative impact to the customer relationship is significant, indicating:
- A lack of concern in meeting your customers’ needs once the sale is complete
- No desire to foster an ongoing (and positive) relationship with the people who support your business
Do everything possible to build a robust and enduring customer experience, but remember the CX journey is never over. Every interaction matters, pre-sale, shopping, and post-sale.
If a company exceeds expectations throughout, especially in the conversion of an unhappy customer to a satisfied customer, your shoppers will remain loyal to your brand.
Provide a personalized customer experience where people can chart their own course and access what they need quickly and easily. Draw upon a well-integrated system and advances in AI and automation to support omnichannel customer experiences, and equip your support team with all available system knowledge so they can remediate issues quickly.
How to Support Your Customers with Digibee
We know you work hard to put your customers first, and at Digibee we do the same for you. Our integration platform is reliable, scalable and customizable, giving you the tools needed to build the best experiences for your customers and internal teams.
For more insight on how to keep CX and e-commerce running smoothly in the face of constant change, listen to episode 17 from our Integration Redesigned podcast series, as Bob Howland from Dawn Foods and Cait Porte of Digibee discuss change management and collaboration. Or episode 16, where Cait and e-commerce executive Chris Muscut discuss the latest trends in retail and how businesses can navigate the ever-changing technological landscape to meet consumer needs.
Let your peak times equal more happy customers (and profits) versus frustration, outages, and unwanted green suitcases.
If you’re interested in how Digibee can help your organization evolve your customer experience, we’d be happy to show you how. Book your choice of a 15-minute discovery call, 30-minute custom demo, or a 60-minute deep dive to learn more.