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5 simple ways to inject delight into the customer journey

By Michelle McSweeney

Word on the street is that experience-driven ecommerce is going to be HOT in 2019. But if we take a step back, isn’t everything in digital commerce done to benefit the customer experience in one way or another? Think about it. One page checkout. Next day delivery. Sure, retailers typically implement these elements into their online stores as a means to increase conversions, or decrease cart abandonment, etc. But the by-product of all of these various implementations is always customer experience.

As ecommerce professionals, we’re constantly being fed information about how customer expectations are continuing to grow at an alarming rate, making it more and more unrealistic for businesses to satisfy them.

As a result, we’re seeing retailers going hell for leather - trying to compete with Amazon by offering delivery options that wreak havoc with their margins. Or implementing AR or AI into their online stores to try to keep up with the ecommerce Joneses. However, sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest impact. Remember, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.

So, if you’re looking for ways to exceed customer expectations, injecting delight into the customer journey is without question one of the most effective ways to do so - oh, and the great news is that it really doesn’t have to break the bank!

Here are 5 easy ways to inject delight into the customer journey:

1. Include a handwritten note with purchases

We’ve talked before about how retailers should create a memorable unboxing experience for their customers, and handwritten notes are a hugely effective way of evoking a positive emotional reaction in your customers.

Obviously, when you’re dealing with huge shipping volumes, it might not be entirely realistic to insert a handwritten thank-you note into every order that gets shipped. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a note - instead it could be a small sample of a product, or some laptop stickers, or even a promotional coupon that they can use against their next purchase.

Either way, the goal here is to make sure that customers know that your company gives a damn, not only for the products that they’ve ordered, but the way in which they receive them.

Handwritten note

2. Shout out your customers on social media

Utilise social listening tools through the likes of Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Mention, or IFTTT to start interacting with the people that are talking about your brand online, not just the ones who tag you in their posts (although by all means you should engage with them too!).

At the most basic level, that means ‘liking’ and ‘retweeting’ posts that mention your brand name on Twitter and Instagram. If you want to take it a step further, you could go down the route of randomly ‘making someone’s day’ - for example, reach out to a follower who tweeted that they can’t wait for payday to go on a major shopping spree, and giving them a €20 voucher ‘to tide them over’.

Keep in mind that when it comes to social listening, you definitely have to be prepared to take the good with the bad, so take this as an opportunity to receive completely unbiased (not to mention unfiltered) feedback that could potentially teach you some home truths about your business. That way, you can actively make changes to your online store, be that the level of customer service on offer, or how detailed your product descriptions are, and let your customers know that their feedback is not just valued, but also acted upon.  

Social media

3.  Charm your ‘click and collect’ customers

In many ways ‘click and collect’ is low-hanging fruit in terms of giving retailers the opportunity to exceed customer expectations, simply because so many stores have yet to master the basics!

Simple things like having clear signage in-store to point customers in the right direction to collect their orders is just the start of offering a positive click and collect experience.  But, as with any other step of the customer journey, you inject delight when you treat the customer like a VIP. So make sure that these customers don’t have to join the general queue when collecting their orders.

Similarly, at your dedicated click and collect counter/area, why not give customers a couple of free samples or a discount voucher, even something as small as having a jar of sweets or biscuits at the counter that they can help themselves to as they wait for their order can make all the difference.

And if you really want to crank the click and collect customer experience up a notch, by fully embracing omnichannel and connecting your digital commerce platform data with your POS, sales advisors can leverage previous order history to make personalised product recommendations to click and collect customers.

Open sign

4. Reward loyalty

Loyalty programs are part and parcel of most brands’ digital commerce strategy, so you won’t win any points from your customers for simply having a loyalty programme in place - sorry!

What you can do in terms of delighting your customers as far as loyalty programmes are concerned is to offer them things that fall outside the realm of your standard rewards (e.g. redeeming points against purchases), like offering your best customers invitations to exclusive store events in their area, or asking a select number of customers to sample or test new products before their official launch dates (with signed NDAs, of course!).

Show your customers that their loyalty to your store doesn’t go amiss, and that because they go the extra mile for you, you want to return the favour.

Loyalty

5. Own your mistakes

It’s inevitable that things don’t always go to plan - orders are going to be misplaced, queries are going to go unanswered. It’s how you respond to them that counts and can often mean the difference between keeping a customer and losing one.

When an error is made at some point during the customer journey, it’s vital that you put your hands up and admit that something went wrong that shouldn’t have. Don’t go on the defence or try to make excuses - remember that every complaint or piece of negative feedback is an opportunity to retain a customer.

Maybe ‘delight’ is too strong of a word to associate with handling negative feedback but nevertheless, you should always aim for the customer to leave the situation with a positive end-result. That doesn’t necessarily mean handing out a bunch of freebies to every customer that complains, by the way. In fact, something which all too often gets overlooked when negative feedback comes in is the speed of your response.

Acknowledgement is half the battle, so ALWAYS respond to negative feedback immediately - even if it’s simply to apologise and say that you are looking into the matter. Be genuine in your approach to assure the customer that you’re going to fix the problem and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.  

So, as 2019 looms and talk about ‘experience-driven ecommerce’ intensifies, try to remember that sometimes it really is the little things that can put a smile on your customers’ faces and turn them into true advocates for your business!

Michelle McSweeney, Content Marketing Specialist, Kooomo

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