Lindsay Boyajian Hagan, VP of Marketing, Conductor.
Especially in a down economy, customer experience (CX) is integral to your organization’s success. Wash away all the flash of new product add-ons, remove the bells and whistles of special deals, and what’s left is the core of your business: the customer experience, meaning what—and how—you deliver value to your customers.
As a key driver of customer retention and loyalty, the customer experience defines how customers interact with your product or service. How do they feel about your brand? Are they getting genuine value? Are they likely to come back to purchase again? Would they recommend you to someone else? Reflecting on these questions can help you assess how strong your CX is and where there could be gaps or areas for improvement.
The best place to start to improve your CX is to focus on your existing customers. Not only do you have a wealth of data detailing their previous interactions with your brand to help inform your decisions, but it’s generally held that acquiring a new customer costs five times more than retaining an existing customer. Moreover, making sure your existing customers are happy can have long-term benefits: Satisfied customers are not just repeat customers, but may also refer new business via word of mouth, testimonials or social media.
So, you’re focusing on customer experience with your existing customer base, you’ve started asking the right questions—now what? Let’s break down the fundamental ways you can improve your customer experience—and, in turn, drive long-term returns for your business.
Lay the groundwork by investing in your top asset: your website.
With an estimated 2.14 billion people making online purchases in 2021, it’s safe to say that we’re in a digital-first economy. In fact, projections show that we’re on a path to grow to $7.5 trillion in e-commerce sales worldwide in less than two years. Because it’s very likely that your customers are primarily interacting with your brand online, your website—one of your brand’s strongest, if not the strongest, asset—is likely the top driver for your business.
With growing customer expectations for a seamless online experience, investing in your website to ensure you have a fast and responsive experience is a must. Why? A slow-loading website creates a suboptimal customer experience potentially leading to less engagement, higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates. It also can have a big impact on your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings and, in turn, your organic traffic. My company found that on average, organic search produces 44% of overall website traffic for key industries, so any impact on organic traffic can have a big impact on revenue.
See if your website is up to speed (get it?) by leveraging a technical SEO tool like Screaming Frog or ContentKing (Disclosure: My company acquired ContentKing in 2022), which can help you evaluate page speed, see if you have broken links, assess if anything is glitchy on your site and understand if there is anything else that might be affecting the baseline of your customer experience. If you have great content and resources on your site but your customers can’t properly access it, you’ll be wasting a lot of precious time and money.
Create helpful content—and make it easy to find.
Now that you have a technically sound site, it’s time to focus on your content and architecture. Helpful content is an incredible retention tool to support your existing customers and encourage repeat business. With the vast majority of online interactions starting with a search engine—often with people asking a question—positioning yourself as a source of valuable content that fulfills customer needs can strengthen your relationship with existing customers. By building this trust, you can establish yourself as a dependable ally in their pursuit for knowledge and become an asset that they can rely on over and over.
When developing helpful content, ask yourself: What questions are customers asking? How can I best serve their needs? Are there any evergreen or seasonal topics that our brand can speak to? Analyzing SEO data and search volumes of specific topics on popular search engines like Google is a great way to see what people are looking for and where you can lend your expertise to best serve your customers.
Not only do you want to create authentic content to establish yourself as a resource that customers keep coming back to, to solve their problems, but you’ll also want to organize your content in an intuitive and user-friendly structure. Consider your customers’ mindset when setting up your navigation and organizing your content. Beyond navigation, make sure you’re assessing how you label your content through key SEO metadata, including page tags, title tags and meta descriptions, to fortify your digital presence and how you show up on search engines.
Consider investing in local SEO.
Depending on your industry, you may want to consider investing in local SEO to identify geo-specific interests, questions and searches among your customer base. By homing in on a more narrow subset, you can understand more about your customers and improve your rankings on the search engine result pages (SERPs), amplifying your digital presence and highly boosting your chance of conversions. Moreover, investing in local SEO offers you the chance to investigate local competition and see where there are opportunities to gain more share of the market within your industry.
What It All Boils Down To
In today’s world, your digital presence is one of your most important assets. It’s your conduit to connect with your customers, build invaluable trust and, ultimately, create a symbiotic relationship that culminates in long-term results for your business. By investing in the customer experience and prioritizing creating helpful content, developing an intuitive information architecture, understanding local SEO insights and ensuring your technical SEO doesn’t skip a beat, you can transform the customer experience to deliver for your business and your customers for years to come.
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