How to Ensure Customer Satisfaction in eCommerce
Date: 11 May 2017
For shoppers who remember when the High Street ruled supreme, online retail seems like something completely alien, devoid of emotional and human interaction. But these people are wrong.
Online shopping is so much more than clicks on a web page. It is still, at it’s very heart, all about the user journey and making sure your customers are happy customers.
Happy customers become regular customers, and word of mouth marketing is still one of the strongest weapons in your eCommerce arsenal.
However, when your customers are distanced from your business via the internet, how can you still ensure customer satisfaction?
How to Ensure Customer Satisfaction in eCommerce
Take a step back from your website and put on your Objective Hat.
Does your site really, truly reflect the product or service you are offering? Does it stand out from other websites that are offering the same products or services?
If your answer to both or either of these questions is ‘No’, then you need to go back to the drawing board (or back to your Designer at least).
Your website should reflect the product you sell, from the colour palette and the navigation menu, to the font and the images you use.
Using an off-the-shelf theme is great if you’re just starting out, but to really make your business rise above the rest, you need to tailor your site to meet your customer’s expectations.
2) Easy to navigate
Following on from a navigation menu that looks the part comes a navigation menu that acts the part.
Have you ever walked into a high street shop and immediately walked out because it was absolutely chaotic? Clothes strewn everywhere, hoards of people milling about in all directions, loud music, bright lights – it doesn’t sound very appealing, so why would you choose to shop there?
The same rule applies to eCommerce websites.
If your website is cluttered, chaotic or hard to navigate, the same thing is going to happen to your customers – they are going to turn around and walk away, probably right into the waiting hands of your competitors.
Testing your website is essential before you show it off to the paying public. Gather a mixed team, not necessarily those with a lot of technical or design experience, and let them use the website as your customers would.
This can offer valuable insights into how your users navigate the site and what factors either attract or repel them.
Super simple to understand, really obvious, and yet one of the things that often gets missed when creating an eCommerce website.
It’s great having all the bells and whistles you could possibly imagine, alongside the best imagery and tons of apps and widgets to play with, but if all of that is dragging your page load speed down, it will all be for nothing.
Nothing annoys customers more than waiting. Long checkout queues at supermarkets always have us looking for the shortest route, or hoping to catch the eye of a cashier who can open up a new lane. The same applies to online shopping.
We hate waiting. Anything longer than 10 seconds is considered a lifetime online, so ideally you want to be aiming for 5 seconds or less.
Using a page speed tool, such as GT Metrix, will help you to identify the aspects of your site that is slowing down load times.
Get these fixed and monitor your Bounce Rates to start seeing improvements almost immediately.
One of the biggest complaints you hear about online shopping is the lack of a personal touch.
For some customers, that human interaction is what makes shopping a pleasurable experience, and websites that come across as though they were created by robots does not to ease their worries.
This is where you can not only give them what they’re looking for, but also make your website stand out against your competitors.
Even if you sell the same items as other websites, your company is still unique due to the people you have working for you.
Use this individuality and show off the wonderful people you have in your staff to give your online business that human touch that customers crave.
And you don’t have to give out in-depth CVs or personality profiles to achieve this. Take a look at Beer Hawk, for example, and it’s About Us page.
All it shows is names, job titles and photos, coupled with a switch out between the ‘Job’ picture and the ‘Fun’ picture.
However, it tells me that the company is fairly large, has a a robust structure and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It doesn’t say much in text, but it does speak volumes about what kind of business Beer Hawk is.
5) Speak to Your Customers
“I am not a number!”
This quote from Number Six is often parodied when someone wants to feel less like an automaton and more like a human being.
It is also how many people feel when shopping online, especially when confronted with emails that begin ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, ‘Hello Customer’, or even ‘Hi [insert name]! (This happens more often than you think…)
Customers don’t like feeling like they are not important. After all, they are choosing to give you their hard-earned cash, so the least you can do it show that you appreciate it.
Addressing your customers by name, understanding their needs and personalising your sales pitch to meet those needs is retail marketing 101, but many online businesses are still missing the target.
If you are going to use automated marketing emails, make sure you set up the proper protocols to ensure that each email is tailored to the individual.
Make sure to include their name, and even their previous shopping habits, if possible.
If your website has the capacity for Customer Accounts, you can also use this space to customise the experience for them by picking out products you think they’d like based on previous purchases.
6) Build a Relationship
There are many eCommerce business that really nail customer satisfaction while the customer is on their website, but then drop the ball when it comes to after care.
When you buy a product from a high street retailer and something goes wrong , you expect that shop to provide a satisfactory resolution, so why does that not always apply to online shopping?
Some online businesses are only interested in customers when they are buying products and services and quickly forget about them once the order is complete. These businesses are missing out.
Cultivating your customer relationships is every bit as important as making the sale in the first place. Customers that return to your website again and again can quickly become your biggest source of revenue.
Additionally, positive reviews, sharing of your content via social media, and even word of mouth, are proven ways to increase your domain authority and increase your visibility.
And the more people who see your business and the good things people are saying about it, the more your business is going to grow.
7) Follow Up Emails
As part of relationship building mentioned in step 6, you should be setting up Follow Up Emails as standard practice for your business. It’s up to you how long you leave it after a sale to send them, but make sure you do.
Not only are follow up emails a great customer relations tool, they can also provide valuable insights into how your eCommerce business is working and what your customers really think.
Adding in a review link is an easy way to gain some feedback, and if you use an external review system such as TrustPilot, it can help increase your visibility to more potential customers.
Try not to use a no-reply email. Instead use one that is actively monitored so you can respond quickly to any questions your customers may have.
Additionally, make sure to include other contact information, such as phone numbers or Live Chat within any follow up emails you send to make it as easy as possible for customers to reply to you.
8) Product Knowledge
You wouldn’t go into a sweet shop and start asking the staff how to repair a lawnmower. You would head to a shop that specialises in lawnmower repair so you can get the best advice possible.
Whether your eCommerce website sells products, offers services or provides information, you need to demonstrate at all times that you know your stuff.
The quickest way to demonstrate this is to ensure that every product or service page has a comprehensive description that gives the customer all the details they need in order to proceed.
Don’t just use the manufacturer’s description of a product.
If this is your bread and butter, you should know each product inside out so shouldn’t have any trouble writing your own detailed descriptions.
You can then back up this great product knowledge by creating content for your website that answers the type of questions your customers ask.
Having a blog platform for your website is essential as it gives you a platform to further demonstrate your knowledge.
Become the experts for your product niche and people will remember you when it comes to making a purchase of that product.
The more you know, the more your customers are going to trust what you have to say and are more likely to become repeat customers.
9) Instant order emails
There is always a worry when buying online that you’re never 100% certain who is at the other end of the line. If you think about it, you’re sending your money out into the unknown, and that can be very daunting especially for new customers.
If you’ve done all the steps above correctly, then you’re more likely to get that sale completed, but sometimes offering that extra bit of reassurance can make all the difference between a one-off customer and a returning customer.
Setting up automated order emails is a really quick and simple way to reassure your new customer and show them that you are a legit business (if they have any lingering doubts).
It also shows that you are proactive and responsive to them, so if something does go wrong, they are confident that you will respond quickly and help resolve the issue to their satisfaction.
10) Reward Loyalty
Gaining a returning customer is tricky, but doable. Keeping a returning customer for the long haul is difficult, especially if you don’t give them a reason to keep coming back.
Offering great customer satisfaction is obviously a no-brainer, but if you can offer something more to sweeten the deal, customers will have no reason to look elsewhere.
Setting up a loyalty scheme can take many forms, from offering points on purchases for money off vouchers, to giving away freebies to long-term customers.
Whichever one you choose, the key point to remember is that is has to offer something of value to the customer.
A simple way to kick this off would be to offer an immediate discount to new customers for their next order which is sent to them as soon they complete their purchase.
It is expected from most online shoppers that in order to make a purchase, they will need to enter an email address at some point along the funnel, so this won’t deter the majority of customers from completing their order.
Don’t push it though and ask for more than that. Overly complicated and long sign up processes are a sure-fire way to put off potential customers.
This is also an excellent way of gathering emails for newsletters, automated order emails, and information for personalisation, so it is definitely worth setting up.
And there you have it – 10 simple ways to ensure customer satisfaction in eCommerce.
Once you get your head around treating your online customers in the same way as your bricks and mortar shoppers, you start to see more ways you can interact and offer them the kind of service that keeps them coming back for more.