Your brand’s customer experience (CX) is what drives people to order from you repeatedly. When the user goes through your sales funnel smoothly, they intrinsically believe you’ll also handle any problems they have with ease. In addition, you miss the pause most buyers take before they bounce away from your site.
Researchers found a mere 10% of consumers felt brands met their expectations for a good buyer’s experience. On the flip side, about 82% of brands felt they were doing excellent in this area. Where is the disconnect between what users want and what companies provide? Once you figure out what you’re missing, you can easily add it to the buyer’s journey.
From the first interaction, customers begin forming an opinion about your brand. If you haven’t yet looked at the buyer’s experience, now is the time to dig in and improve any weaknesses. Even minor changes have a massive impact. Here are some of the elements to consider.
1. Consider CX
The numbers above show while businesses want to please customers, reality may present a bigger challenge. Overcoming the hurdle of 90% of customers feeling unsatisfied isn’t an easy one.
It’s vital you consider all aspects of your buyer’s journey. What can you improve? Ultimately, though, you shouldn’t put so much effort into improving CX that you fail to focus on other elements of building your business. You must find a balance between excellent CX and a well-balanced company.
2. Understand Your Influence
Before the age of the internet, sales people had much more influence over buyer’s behaviors. It was easier to share only the information you wanted them to have. However, in this digital age, influence is greatly reduced as people gather details from multiple sources at once.
Around 27% of buyers conduct research independently online, while another 22% discuss options with a buying group before making a decision. Pushy sales tactics no longer work. You must offer solid details and be transparent in your delivery.
3. Track the Buyer’s Journey
The sales funnel contains several distinct phases. Understand where your target audience is when they enter your site.
For example, if someone is in the information gathering stage, it isn’t yet time to try to close the deal. On the other hand, if they’re in the decision phase, a well-placed call to action (CTA) may be just what the buyer needs.
Dig a bit deeper into the emotional needs of your user at each stage of the journey. What doubts do they have when they start the process versus just before converting into a customer?
4. Know Pain Points
Dig into the pain points your customers experience most often, and offer a solution. While you can’t be all things to all people, you’ll discover many of your customers have similar problems.
Spend time looking at your internal analytics showing the demographics of your average buyer. What traits do they have in common? You should also look at the psychological factors influencing their buying behavior.
Knowing who your customer is and what they care most about allows you to create a more positive interaction throughout the sales process. Your buyers will walk away feeling satisfied with the interaction.
5. Differentiate Your Brand
Customers want to know what your unique value proposition (UVP) is. How do you stack up to the competition? What makes you different from competitors? Dig deep when you develop your UVP. Don’t just go with the same thing every other company does. You want to stand out.
In a study on customer experience, researchers predicted customer experience would overtake price and product as the “key brand differentiator.” How can you tap into consumer needs?
You must dig deeper than just your UVP and look at what your customers care about. Why does your UVP matter to them? What difference does it make in their lives?
6. Help Your Sales Reps
Your sales team probably doesn’t have time to dig too far into persona building or the emotional needs of customers. They may have quotas to meet or product to push. They need some additional support from you to gain access to the needed information to create an amazing CX without spending a ton of time researching consumer needs.
One thing you can do is add a marketing person to create insight into your typical audience. Hold regular stand up meetings and share what you’ve discovered with your sales team. Make the information readily available and highlight how important the buyer journey is to repeat sales.
7. Give Sales People Leeway
If you put your sales department in a tight little box filled with rules and regulations, you’ll miss out on some of your best sales. Develop staff you trust to handle the little issues and give them the freedom to make decisions that create an amazing buyer experience.
For example, if a customer is unsatisfied with a purchase, what can the sales department do to make things right? If your return policy is too strict, they may not be able to do much, creating a negative impression on the buyer.
8. Remember Follow-Up
Your sales team’s job isn’t done after they make the sale. What happens after the customer forks over their dollars may be as important as what happens before.
After order fulfillment is the best time to show buyers how you stand out from your competitors. Encourage your sales team to reach out to clients. Give those who follow-up some type of bonus, so they have incentive to do so.
Follow-up may not result in an immediate revenue stream. You’re setting the stage for future interactions. Creating an excellent rapport with your current customers retains them and improves your word-of-mouth marketing.
It seems as though every business today focuses on the user experience. If you want to remain competitive, you must work hard to establish a deep and lasting connection with your customers.
The process starts with knowing who your clients are. As you build buyer personas and study the sales funnel, you should bring your sales team into the mix. Teach them how to best meet the needs of your target audience and keep buyers coming back over time.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.