4 ways to improve the online customer experience

22nd September, 2017

Most businesses find it easier to provide quality customer service in-person, but the online experience a customer has with your business is vital.

Increasingly, the first point of contact or only point of contact a customer may have with your business is online.

So, it’s pretty important that your customers’ online experience is just as good as the experience they’d get offline.

Here are some things you should keep in mind when updating or creating your website to make sure the customer experience is seamless and pleasant.

1. Make sure your website is compatible with all devices

Customers get to your website through a range of devices including phones, notebooks and tablets – with the screen size and functionality differing between all these devices.

So, it’s important to make sure that your site is adaptive and responsive to these devices.

There’s nothing more annoying for a customer than to have to continually stretch a screen or to get no response when they press to send an email or make a phone call.

If you’re wanting people to book, buy or make contact with you online then ensure they can do this seamlessly on any device.

2. Provide the information customers want

This one’s a bit of a no-brainer, but what information do customers want from you in order to make a sale?  What do you provide them offline?  Is this information easily accessible on your website?

I often get asked by businesses “should I put my prices on my website?” my answer is to ask the question “do the customers require this information in order to buy from you?”

If the answer is yes, then pricing information needs to be available to customers online.

There are different ways this can be done including providing a pricing range or an estimation or by sending through a pricelist when some details are given by the customer.

READ: 3 powerful questions to ask customers for better marketing

If the information online customers want isn’t available on your site, then they’ll go elsewhere.

Return policies, delivery times, product information or specifications should be available to customers online.

Frequently Asked Question pages can be a helpful way of providing such information.

3. Have different options for contact

Technology has made it easier to provide a 24-hour service for businesses – but things can still go wrong.

Payments may not go through, or contact forms can freeze up.

Providing a couple of different options for how customers can obtain further help or make direct contact with you can enhance the customer experience.

Make sure there’s always a phone number available, and if you have an international customer base, make sure there’s an international number available.

Providing a chat bot on your website can make the customer feel supported and it is an easy way for problems to be resolved.

It can be good to have a direct email address available (even though it can unfortunately attract extra spam) just in case your enquiry form doesn’t work or someone needs to attach a document.

Being accessible through a number of channels is important to build trust and reduce frustration for the customer if something goes wrong.

4. Make it easy

A great customer experience online involves a site which is fast to load and is easy to navigate.

Check that everything is working on your site on a regular basis. It also pays to check how things display and work on different browsers.

You can also use autoresponders when a customer places and order so they have peace of mind that their order has been received.

READ: How UX designers are shaping our modern reality

You may also want to use pop-up boxes (not too many) which let the customer know what will happen when they press a particular button, or give them opportunities to confirm their actions.

These are just small things which, when combined, add up to a much more pleasant and seamless experience for the user.

When you can’t personally be there at every point of the customer journey, it’s important to do whatever you can to ensure their online experience is a positive one.

Luckily there are plenty of options to choose from.  Remember if you don’t make your customer experience a positive one you can bet your competitor will.