Customer experience is one of the most important and impactful things you can work on for your business right now. The customers you have buying from you right now are also the most important people in your business for a number of reasons beyond simply paying the bills.
We all remember really amazing experiences we have had with companies that go out of their way to make us feel beyond satisfied. We also can easily recall really terrible customer experiences that left us pretty upset and far less than satisfied. We talk openly about BOTH. Since we now have so many platforms to instantly share our experiences with the world, customer experience simply cannot be ignored.
Its never been easier to start an e-commerce business as it is right now, and that means that more companies are buying ads and jockeying for consumers’ attention. If you cut through the noise of your competitors with a superior experience, you’re not going to feel as much of a burn as the costs for acquiring your customers go up.
As my friend Babak Azad says, “Customer experience bridges branding, acquisition, and retention”. It is really an underappreciated key to creating an extremely positive brand perception, which then leads to increased referrals, and long stick rates for customers.
Let’s touch on advocacy: Word of mouth advertising is still the most powerful form of advertising on the planet. Every single day I see friends looking for recommendations openly on Facebook, and people replying with suggestions for them without any real incentives from the companies they recommend. People trust their friends, and people want to trust the people they do business with.
One of the largest benefits to creating an awesome customer experience is a dramatic increase in repeat purchases and therefore your customer Lifetime Value (LTV). Having a greater LTV will allow you to spend more to acquire those customers up front if you can say with confidence that they will produce a greater revenue than simply their first order with you. This gives you a competitive edge and can allow you to outbid your competitors for ads if you have a higher tolerance for acquisition costs justified by your higher LTV.
Repeat purchases aren’t just amazing for your business financially, it is part of what financially defines you as a brand and not simply an operation that buys customers and sells products to them. Your brand affinity with customers is massively impacted by the experience they have with your product and with the entire post-purchase experience you provide for them.
Having a high percentage of your sales coming from repeat customers is what mathematically helps you measure the affinity of your brand with your customers. Certainly, there are a lot more factors that go into measuring the impact of your brand, but a central goal in building a true brand is to have a high enough perceived value in a customers’ mind that they choose you again and again over someone else, or over simply being impartial in the buying decision.
As your advocacy and repeat purchases continue to increase, you will enjoy considerable boosts to the bottom line and not just the top line. Everyone knows its more expensive to attract a new customer than to keep an old one. If you don’t require ad spend to get additional purchases from a customer or have them refer their friends or family members, that is a huge bump to your business’ actual profit and circumvents how hard most companies bottom line are hit by their acquisition costs.
To end the short list of why customer experience needs to be a key area of focus for ecommerce companies moving forward is because they will simply be unable to compete without it. Everyone is waking up to all of the reasons I mentioned above, so if you aren’t keeping up with them you’re going to end up losing.
The era of simply selling a product and corresponding with them only if something goes wrong is quickly coming to an end. Companies now need to prioritize creating intimacy at scale and building real relationships with their customers at every opportunity. This means both a systematic approach to building a great experience into every part of the purchasing delivery (from prospect--> buyer --> advocate), and also a commitment to individualized and exceptional customer communications and service, both when it is inbound and when it is outbound.
Two absolute Rockstars you need to pay attention to in this space are Joey Coleman and the aforementioned Babak Azad. Joey is the author of Never Lose a Customer Again – a book that I recommend to literally every single entrepreneur I talk to. He breaks down an amazing system to turn customers into advocates. Babak is working on what I am certain to be one of the most important pieces of work in this space too (I am waiting on bated breath and will let you know when it drops!).
Investing in customer experience pays off big time now and in the future. I’d love to hear from you on some things that are working for you in creating great experiences. Leave a comment below or share your story with us on Facebook!