When customers are happy with their experience with your company, they keep coming back, and they are more likely to refer others to you. And in increasingly competitive e-commerce markets, one of the only ways to differentiate yourself from your competition is to make sure you are providing an incomparable customer experience.
Younger shoppers, in particular, are looking for a superior customer experience. Millennial shoppers, over half of whom prefer to shop online, are more likely to purchase from an e-commerce business that has asked for their opinion: 64% claim to be more loyal to a brand that asks for feedback.
Engaging Millennials after a purchase is critical to keeping them as customers. But also, keep in mind that Millennials are more eager than other generations to share their opinions on social media.
The Boston Consulting Group, management consultation firm to numerous Fortune 500 companies, surveyed nearly 800 Millennials and 1,700 non-Millennials to better understand what drives brand engagement. Their study found:
- More than half of Millennials share their brand preferences on social media, compared with 31% of baby boomers.
- Millennials are around 2.5 times more likely than older consumers to occasionally share a social-media link that references a brand or product.
- 39% post reviews of brands or products; 27% reference a brand in blog posts; and 26% answer satisfaction surveys on mobile devices.
Meanwhile, Nielsen reports that 92% of consumers across all demographics rely on word-of-mouth from friends and family when considering a purchase. About half are more likely to buy a new product after reading about it on social media.
This research proves two things: (1) word-of-mouth is by far the single most important factor for today’s consumer and (2), like it or not, customers are going to talk about your business. Whether through Yelp, Facebook, or some other social media site, today’s customers come with megaphones, and they have no problem using those megaphones to share their opinions. Providing superior customer service is one way to make sure customers are spreading positive word of mouth about your business.
Beware: Online Businesses Especially Vulnerable to Negative Word-of-Mouth
And one final statistic that any online business should be aware of: 88% of online buyers are influenced by online customer reviews. There is a very good chance those bad reviews on Facebook will likely send prospective customers to a competitor.
Don’t bury your head in the sand. You can’t afford to not be proactive. Invest in tools which will make it easier for customers to share their impressions with you before they take their opinions to the internet. Asking your web site visitors to complete a brief feedback survey is a relatively easy and efficient way to help you better understand your customers needs, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Driving satisfaction and loyalty are especially important for maintaining a healthy online business. Repeat customers spend, on average, 67 percent more than first-time buyers. The longer a customer has a relationship with you, the more they are likely to spend, and the larger the transactions are likely to be. And, of course, your repeat customers are also valuable because their word-of-mouth marketing brings more business your way.
Five Perfect Questions (and One Important Tip)
Asking for feedback shows customers that you are actively invested in them as customers and are committed to taking immediate action to ensure the best possible customer experience. Here are a few questions you will want to consider asking.
How likely are you to recommend us to your friends and colleagues on a scale from one to ten, one being the least likely, ten being the most?
- This metric of choice for many companies, including Apple and Best Buy, will measure customer sentiment towards your company.
What task did you want to accomplish on this website?
- You might be surprised to discover that visitors could be looking for things you never even considered, providing valuable insights into new product ideas and website features you should think about offering.
Were you able to complete your task today? If not, why not?
- A simple question every online business must ask to understand problem areas which may be adversely impacting conversion.
Were you able to find the information you were looking for on our website?
- It’s never a good idea to assume customers experience no problems while on your site, considering the high likelihood they will defect to a competitor if they experience a service-related problem.
How easy is it to navigate our website?
- Since your website is your main hub of business activity, you better make sure visitors are having no trouble with navigation.
And one final tip: A generic, multi-question survey is likely to be much less effective than one which asks customers pointed questions related to a specific moment in their online journey. Finding out about a specific moment or experience customers have had which is unique to your business will generate the most actionable data.
Drive Engagement, Satisfaction, and Referrals with Customer Feedback
To increase customer satisfaction, you must have in place a feedback strategy which enables you to communicate with your customers. As an ecommerce business, you don’t have the advantage of face-to-face communication you find in a brick-and-mortar store. In the online world, you must take more proactive steps to understand who your customers are, what they are looking for, and if you are meeting their needs.
Use the feedback you gather from customer surveys to improve your customer’s experience at every step of their journey. A well-written survey should enable you to better understand multiple, smaller pain points in the journey, whether its difficulty with the billing process, slow delivery, or a non-intuitive website, small problems which could increase dissatisfaction and lead to abandonment.
All of the research point to the obvious: your company needs to have a customer feedback strategy in place so that you can take the pulse of your customers. Feedback surveys will help you ensure the success of your business as they are likely to result in greater customer retention, referrals, and satisfaction.