Part 4: Remove the Friction
Our first three installments of our thought leadership series, Loyalty Iceberg: Creating Human-Centered Experiences, focused on more abstract customer expectations, that a brand Recognize Me, Understand Me and Embrace Me.
We now turn to a customer expectation that is a bit more tangible – removing the friction from the path to purchase. With nearly three-fourths of customers likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult, it’s mission critical to make each transaction friction-free. Below are four practical tips on how to make your customer experience as smooth as soft serve and twice as sweet:
- Let the channel surfers surf. Your customers live in a multi-channel world: 73 percent use multiple channels during their shopping journeys and that’s what they want – 85 percent of consumers prefer a blend of digital and physical channels. Perhaps the most compelling argument for an omnichannel experience is the value of the omnichannel shopper: a Harvard study found that the more channels the customer used, the more valuable they were, with multichannel shoppers spending an average of 4 percent more in-store and 10 percent online than single-channel customers. The absolute necessity of omnichannel for your customers to be happy coupled with its amazing ROI in sales make omnichannel functionality a true must-have item in your CX arsenal.
- Eliminate shopping journey pain points. Are you sending lots of abandoned cart messages like “did you forget something?” to your ecommerce shoppers? If so, you’ve identified a shopping pain point – something happened that made a customer who seemed to be ready to purchase suddenly not. It is not unique to any one industry – across markets, retailers can expect an average e-cart abandonment rate of over 75 percent, with actual storefronts coming in at about half that. Figuring out where you lose your customers and making changes requires time and effort, but it is a worthwhile investment: for a start, streamlining a checkout process, adding more payment options, and not having hidden extra fees are great ways to keep your customers from walking away empty handed.
- Loyalty programs that reward loyalty, not test patience. It shouldn’t take half an hour and or sharing every detail about yourself to enroll in a loyalty program, and if your loyalty program is guilty, your enrollment percentages will suffer. Half of consumers are reluctant to join loyalty programs, with long enrollment processes and brands that ask for too much information leading the pack when it comes to deal breakers. Loyalty programs only work if your customers think they’re worth the trouble, and ensuring your program enrollment process is both quick and non-invasive will ensure your participation rates remain robust.
- Allow for do-it-yourselfers. While some customers prefer a hands-on shopping experience, others want to be able to do everything from checking out to resolving customer service tasks by themselves, either online or in person. Why not let them? For the 57 percent of shoppers prefer self-checkouts, self-checkout kiosks can also reduce labor costs and allow more checkout stations in the same area once occupied by a traditional cashier. There are plenty of great reasons to allow the 81 percent who will try to take care of matters themselves: As Harvard Business Review noted, the cost of a do-it-yourself transaction costs mere cents, where a live service interaction is more than $7 for a B2C organization.