The Node

How to elevate customer experience online

30 Aug 2018

Where should businesses be investing in order to meet customers’ changing expectations? We’ve identified five areas where companies can target development in order to elevate the online CX.

How a consumer interacts with a business has changed dramatically over the past five years, moving almost entirely into the digital sphere. Relationships can begin, develop and end online, without customers ever interacting with a real person. While this trend is tempered in the business aviation industry, where person-to-person interaction remains a vital part of buying a charter flight, shifting booking processes online is becoming the norm. 

As a result, building a seamless, easy-to-use online customer experience (CX) is now key to forming strong, lasting relationships with customers. But with consumers carrying the latest in time-saving, intuitive technologies around in their pocket – think mobile fingerprint technology, voice activation and AI-driven personalisation – businesses must practice lean development to keep up.

So where should businesses be investing in order to meet customers’ changing expectations? We’ve identified five areas where companies can target development in order to elevate the online CX.

1. Personalisation

Customers now expect website landing pages, email offers and advertisements to be targeted at them based on their browsing history and online behaviour. This is why we click ‘accept cookies’ on each new website – to ensure we receive the best possible experience on that website, based on who we are and our browsing history.

However, personalisation not only leads to higher conversion rates for customers, but being aware that personalisation is occurring actually makes consumers more likely to buy. For example, research conducted by Harvard Business Review found that participants were more interested in buying a voucher for a restaurant when they thought the ad had been targeted at them based on specific websites they had previously visited. For consumers, seeing their own preferences reflected back at them – even if they do not explicitly recognise the behaviour in themselves – makes them more likely to buy, especially when related to high-end products.

Demonstrating your ability to generate quotes based on individual preferences has always been central to business aviation. But if you can automate this process by bringing it online you can deliver a tailored service every time, from the moment a customer first interacts with your business. Investing in automatic personalisation, driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning, is one step towards improving your online CX.

2. Consistency

A personalised CX must be underpinned by consistency across every platform – mobile, tablet and desktop browser. Ensuring a customer receives the same information, however they interact with your business, is crucial to building trust in and loyalty for your company. In fact, it’s so essential for CX that in 2015, Google started giving mobile-friendly websites a SEO boost to move them up in search engine rankings. In addition, on 1 August 2018 Google released a broad core algorithm update to boost sites with ‘great content’, demonstrating the importance of a consistently strong CX.

Operating a fluid website, which looks the same on any platform, also assists the practice of lean development. Businesses can leverage customer feedback to target development in areas where it’s been requested, then deploy on multiple platforms – a single solution for enhancing CX across the board.

3. Social media

Being able to interact with a business on Facebook or Twitter, or speak with a representative on a live chat such as WhatsApp, is now an expected part of CX. Discussing a problem openly on social media often leads to better service, and a well-resolved issue boosts CX considerably. 

For the customer, having the option to chat with a representative online, while multitasking in the real world, is a real advantage. Plus, businesses can resolve multiple issues or queries simultaneously. Integrating social media with the rest of your online offering (by providing a chat function on your website, or links to your social feeds) means the option to chat is just a click away, streamlining CX. 

4. Reviews

Millennials, and the elder Gen Zs (aged 18-22), now base their consumption choices not only on recommendations from family and friends, but on online reviews and ratings. Sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are a first-stop-shop for today’s consumers, and providing reviews and ratings is an easy way for businesses to boost CX. 

However, reviews must be supported by enhanced visuals to back up what’s being stated. Our brains process visual content 60,000 times faster than text, so this is the ideal way to engage your target audience. Quality photographs are a must, supported by short-form video content (ideally under two minutes) wherever possible, creating an interactive, fully realised CX.

5. Independence

Customers want independence online, and to be able to navigate complex tasks – whether it’s changing personal details, updating bookings or managing payments – independently. To give consumers the confidence to do this, providing clear video walkthroughs is essential. 

In addition, businesses should utilise the latest technology in order to simplify tasks. Innovations such as voice searches allow customers to interact hands-free, while fingerprint and face recognition are increasingly being used to verify payments or ‘sign’ documents. Ultimately, a well-designed self-service option lets businesses invest less time in person-to-person customer support, and more in taking the next steps in tech-driven CX.

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