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Managing the Online Customer Experience

21 June 2021

Managing the Online Customer Experience

Any successful business manager knows about the importance of customers. And that it’s equally important to be mindful of the customer experience. Getting this right can be critical to the success of any business. If customers don’t get the right experience buying from you, then they will go elsewhere. But it’s too easy to think of customer experience in terms of those who physically visit a retail outlet or an office counter. How many managers think about the experience of customers who ‘visit’ their business online?

Getting the online customer experience right is even more critical for managers. Physical customers who are unhappy may well go next door but unhappy online customers are only a click away from leaving you. All business managers need to ensure they  are doing everything they can to improve the user experience of their customers. But for managers of online services or stores, it’s critical. And changes to the way we do business brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic means more customers are engaging with businesses online than ever before. But where should you begin to improve you online customer service? Here are 6 tips to help you on your way.

Read the Reviews

Perhaps you should start by checking the reviews for your business. You have probably already heard that around eighty percent of audience members will explore reviews before they even think about committing to the purchase of a product or service online. You should check for any signs of negative reviews or negative mentions across social media. It’s important that you address an issue like this head-on, rather than letting it fester for an extended period underneath the surface, damaging your brand. By exploring reviews, you can usually find clues to the improvements that customers want you to make. Though not all reviews are written to hurt your brand. Some customers want to help you build up your business so that it is a place that they can constantly buy from again. Others may wish to compliment specific aspects of your service or individuals who go beyond their expectations. Either way, make sure you proactively chase customer reviews, read them, then act on them. If you can’t find the answers in the reviews, then there are a few other ways that you can boost your customer experience.

Speed It Up

Customers don’t want to wait for products and services. They need solutions without delay and this means that if your site is too slow, then it’s going to negatively impact your customer experience. As such, you must focus on speeding it up. If you are not sure how to handle issues with your website speed, then it could be worth exploring your hosting service. It’s possible that this isn’t delivering the results that you need. It could also mean that there is an issue with the amount of data on your business website. It is possible to condense levels of data to ensure that your pages load faster.

Don’t forget, these days, you need to make sure that all your pages are loading properly and rapidly, on a variety of different pieces of technology. The majority of your customers are going to be loading your website on their phones. So, it needs to look great through a device like this and load up without any delays at all. As well as being fast through multiple devices it also has to be responsive. Essentially, your website should be designed in a way which means it will adapt based on the piece of tech a customer is using.

Sort Your Structure

Sometimes, the problem can be an issue with your site structure. Customers can easily get lost and become confused when searching your site. If they can’t find what they are looking for then this is going to be a negative experience and they probably won’t come back a second time. This means that you need to work to improve the site structure. You can do this by adopting the three-click rule. Your customers should never be any more than three clicks away from the page that they are looking for with your business. If they are, then it gives them too many chances to click away from your site and look at your competitor instead. Your structure can be adapted with the right placement of links. However, if there is a significant issue with your structure, you could need the help of a professional to work some magic behind the scenes.

Create Compelling Content

Content is king in terms of marketing and it can add a lot to the experience that customers get from your business online. The right content is another great way to ensure that customers are getting real value from visiting your business website. If you are interested in building up your content, then it needs to be focused on the target audience that you are appealing to. Adding a lot of content is great but only if it’s relevant to your chosen audience. Remember, in the case of content, quality will always be more important compared with quantity.

If you are using freelancers or outside agents to create content for your business website, then you also need to make sure that you are providing them with a style guide. This will ensure that each piece of content on your website connects to your overall brand identity and it will ensure that customers have a more cohesive, connected experience. In terms of how much you should use content to promote products and services, you need to follow the 80:20 rule. In other words, only 20% of your content should be purely promotional.

Add An Online Chat

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Remember how we mentioned that customers don’t want to experience a delay when searching for products, services or even answers? To help them speed up the process, you could consider adding an online chat to your business website. This is the next best thing to serving your customers via face-to-face customer assistants. The main aim with online chat will be to deliver customers the immediate engagement which will improve their experience. Instead of searching around your site an online chat solution can provide customers with the immediate levels of satisfaction they want. They can either speak directly with a member of your team or work through an automated system.

As long as there is a quality piece of software running at the back of your site, this is going to add a great deal to the user experience. It could even improve reviews because research shows that customers prefer online chats to talking to people on the phone. If you’re wondering how to add online chat software to your website, it’s important to get it right. Offering a glitching service that only adds to customer frustration or time is far worse than not having it in the first place! If you’re not lucky enough to have your own, in-house IT experts then seek outside advice. They’ll set it up for you and ensure that it runs smoothly.

Train Up Your Customer Facing Teams

As we mentioned, a chat bot or chat software built into your website can connect your customers with real members of your team. That’s important to consider because this means access to real people can have a massive impact on the overall customer experience. They will create a lasting impression of your brand or business.

88% of high-performing businesses are making significant investments in training customer support teams and you should be doing the same. One element that you must focus on is ensuring that team members have appropriate knowledge of the products and services they are selling. That way, they can deliver the personalised help that most customers are really looking for.

Watch the Pop-Ups

Finally, you could consider using pop-ups. Businesses often tend to believe that pop-ups are always a bad thing and will be hated by customers. But this isn’t necessarily the case if they are managed properly. It’s like with every marketing tactic. You just need to make sure that you are using it the right way. In other words, you need to guarantee that a pop-up isn’t just promotional. It has to deliver real value to your audience. How can you do this?

Well, first, you need to think about how intrusive this ad is going to be. An ad doesn’t have to be particularly intrusive. Instead, it can be a lot more subtle. For instance, the popup can appear in the tab when they try to click off your website. Or, if you want a larger pop-up, then think about how you can ensure that it doesn’t look like spam. One of the ways that you can do this is by presenting your audience with an exciting opportunity through the ad. For instance, you can showcase a possible way that they can save on your products or services. This is a great way to improve the customer experience because the pop-up can deliver the value that they are searching for from your business.

We hope this helps you understand some of the key options that you can explore when you are working to improve the experience of your customers and users. By boosting the experience that customers have, you can ensure that there is a more positive opinion of your brand overall. Customers will be satisfied with the solution that you are providing and this can stop them from exploring other options elsewhere on the market. It can also deliver the crucial word of mouth that you need which is going to help you significantly grow your customer base.

More career development tools and thought-provokers!

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