Customers aren’t looking at your products and services unless some part of them would like to know more – and, more often, wants to buy. While some individuals are a harder sell than others, the trick to optimizing your current journey lies in removing yourself from the inherent bias you have as an insider – but that’s easier said than done. Here’s how to start looking at your customer-facing experience objectively:
If you could erase all of your insider knowledge about what you offer and shop for yourself, where would the frustration point occur? The trick isn’t necessarily getting a mouse into the maze in the first place, it’s keeping it motivated to keep seeking out the cheese. Begin at a web search engine like Google and type in generic keywords for your best-selling product line. If you are personally involved in your content and have created the key words and phrases used in articles and blog posts, seek out a coworker that hasn’t and ask what they’d type in to find that product line.
- When that phrase is entered, how difficult is it to find your website?
- How compelling is the meta “blurb”?
- If a competitor appears above your listing, is there something that makes them more immediately compelling to click?
The Tipping Point
Once you’ve located your site listing in the search engine results pages, click through. How easy is it to locate the “star” of that product line, put it in a cart, and check out? Ideally, go all the way through the checkout process, signing up for a new account if required, entering payment information exactly as a real customer would. Pay attention to little frustrations, such as forms clearing automatically if a single field is incorrect, or a dropdown list of locations that doesn’t keep the most frequently used countries towards the top. Tweaking these small issues can really help smooth out the customer journey.
- Can you find a product and complete a sale from scratch in under 5 minutes?
- Is there a readily-available contact link for customers having checkout issues?
- Are there several ads, popups or suggestions blocking the way to checkout?
After The Close
While the sale is obviously the driving force in your customer journey, how they are treated after it occurs (or almost occurs) will also color their perception. Much like a store clerk that turns from friendly to cold and impersonal after the register drawer closes, customers will feel disoriented if they become just another number after they check out. Read your follow-up emails and invoice communications with a critical eye, ensuring they embody the spirit and culture of your brand.
- Do your auto-emails offer customers all the pertinent information for their order?
- Do they contain a quick way to contact the company in case of order issues?
- Do they contain some compelling reason to return next time that product is needed?
There’s no one “right way” for customer journeys to play out, but trimming rough edges in your current experience can be enough to make a big impact. Customer-facing facets of business should never end up in the set-and-forget task list; they should be examined, adjusted and discussed frequently to ensure they’re a path to be enjoyed, not an obstacle course to be endured.
To learn more about improving the customer journey, join us at the eMetrics Summit in Boston. Early bird registration ends Friday, August 14th. Register here.