Creating the Perfect Online Customer Experience

In an age where customers are spoilt for choice,

About the Author: Tom Schaetzle

April 25, 2013

In an age where customers are spoilt for choice,

[tweet_quote]customer experience is the game changer.[/tweet_quote]  The importance of customer experience can never be understated, for they will patronize websites that offer the better experience.

Forrester Research, in its report, “Why Web Sites Fail,” reveals that every customer with a bad experience on a site shares this experience with ten other people. Now imagine what would happen if each one then shared it with five more people? One slip-up could become a nightmare you may never wake up from.

Why does user experience matter?

The principal aspect on which any business runs is simple – it will grow based on the satisfaction level of those who buy the products or services. So, when a customer visits your site, it’s up to you to convert them for life, providing the best online experience they’ve ever had.

Ever visited a site where the first thing you see is an Ad on the center of a page? Dealt with captchas that don’t work? Has your patience been tested by endlessly long sign up forms? On many ecommerce sites, you’d need all the acumen of a detective to find what you’re looking for. Remember, if a user’s experience is tedious, he or she will find another site in no time at all.

So, how do you offer your customers the ultimate user experience?

Understand your customers

Behavior research is now a pre-requisite when it comes to knowing your customer. Figuring out what they want is essential to turning your brand into an online success story. Brands often fail because companies fail to translate their consumer understanding into an effective user interface. Therefore, a thorough evaluation of your business and the target audience should help you design an optimal user experience.

Anticipate their needs

By anticipating what your customer is looking for, you can quickly take charge, and deliver just what is required. A thorough understanding of how and why they are at the site will ensure a quick, seamless and satisfactory user experience.

Responsive interaction and design

A methodological web structure that prioritizes the customer’s needs, and bases the page hierarchy on it makes for a smooth user experience. Responsive web design is one aspect that can help achieve this. An ambiguous platform drives out many customers on the first visit itself. SEO is a must, driven by the intelligent use of commonly searched keywords. This also allows search engine listings to feature your site near the top and increases the chances of interaction, and subsequent conversion.

Enable quick getaways

After the customer decides to purchase, an easy as well as secure purchasing experience  is imperative. A quick and simple checkout is what everyone looks forward to, and it greatly enhances the buying process. Optimization of this procedure requires improving at least the cart mechanism, the payment methods, and the refund system in case of failed purchases.

Test to perfection

The user experience is too critical to be left to chance. Which is why testing is as important as your strategy and design. Ensure that your site is maintains its equilibrium irrespective of the device it is viewed on. A good option is to test it with real-time users. Use rigorous analytics and implementation to ensure a technically robust platform that guarantees user satisfaction at all levels of usage.

Some common mistakes to avoid are:

  • Web pages that take up ages to load
  • Broken links
  • Difficulty in finding your way back to a page visited earlier
  • Absence of concrete contact information

Remember, a good website takes the visitor on a pleasant journey. In the process, one builds trust and confidence, to culminate in an unforgettable user experience – one that keeps him or her coming back for more. And better yet, one that’s happily shared among peers.

How do  you ensure you provide your customers with a unique and user-friendly web experience?  Share your comments with us.

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