As we enter 2017, what trends are shaping how companies are treating Customer Experience (CX)? What obstacles, challenges or blind spots will Marketing, Customer Success and Customer Support leaders likely run into when trying to improve CX? And, how can they do CX better?
These are the questions we asked people who live, breath and develop CX for companies around the world. We also sourced trends from places like UserIQ and Forrester, for a more holistic view of what 2017 has in store for us.
How will Customer Experience develop over the next year? Here are their answers, predictions, and suggestions.
Emotion is coming to the forefront of Customer Experience (CX) management, not because it’s warm and fuzzy, and not because leveraging feelings is devilishly manipulative, but because when you use emotion to drive your CX efforts, it becomes a powerful differentiator.
More companies are getting better at the functional basics of customer experience, like responding in a timely manner to questions, streamlining the purchase process, and smoothing out onboarding (not to mention creating a decent product) – which means they need something unique to offer that separates them from their competition.
What is the most unique, even unforgettable thing you can offer? The way you make your customers feel. It’s for this reason the bar for CX is inching up.
Emotion not only carries the ability to define your company in a sea of competitors, it can also inspire viral word of mouth marketing from people who love you and want to express that to a large audience, whether because they’re influencers with their own followers, or reviewers.
I was ready to buy. My finger hovered over the “Add to Cart” button. But I still wasn’t sure.
While all the images on the site were professional and inspiring, not one of them was user-generated or showed an outfit on an average-sized human being. If I’m spending a couple hundred dollars on a dress, I want to know it will be flattering on my body (and I’m not a size zero — who is?). That conversion didn’t happen. I’m shopping elsewhere.
The wrong visual content can kill conversions as quickly as the right visual content can increase them.
But it’s not as simple as “Video = Conversions.” Videos only work this well when placed in the hottest areas of your product page, like next to product images or “Buy” buttons. When you give your videos prominent positions — above the fold, top and center — visitors stay longer, engage more, and buy more.
But what should these videos be about? Consider what your customers (don’t) want. They probably don’t want to read a lengthy product description — most web visitors only read 25% of text. Instead, show how the product works and how real people are using it. And remember, features are nice, but what they really need to know is how your product will improve their lives.
Make sure these videos are accurate and will lead to more realistic expectations. That way, it can help reduce product returns, since a video shows how products are used day-to-day. It’s worked for Zappos — and other brands, like ASOS, have estimated that a 1% fall in returnswould add $16 million in profit.
Videos & Landing Pages
When Dropbox first put a video on their homepage six years ago, conversions went up by 33%. That impact has only increased over time, especially since there have been a few improvements and innovations in video marketing that can improve those digits.
Now, we have access to user data, which marketers can use to personalize experiences at scale. Below, Lowe’s leverages user data to customize its video based on:
Whether the viewer had purchased from Lowe’s in the past.
Location of the nearest Lowe’s store to viewer.
On-sale items that were most relevant to the viewer based on their location and past purchases.
Weather conditions, and weekday vs. weekend timing.
Lowe’s ultimately had more than 180,000 variations on the video, each of which was personalized to the individual viewer.
On the lower-tech end of the spectrum, you can improve conversion rates by simply placing the video you use front and center, above the fold. We also recommend using a text call-to-action, like “click to play.”
2) Show people how to use your product or service.
Pre-Purchase Product Tours
There are a number of ways to show how a product works — even without video. Virtual product tours can serve the same function, but if done incorrectly, they can be clunky, boring, and overwhelming.
Most product tours become available after a product has been purchased, as part of the onboarding process. But pre-purchase product tours can act as powerful conversion enhancers, too. Take Visme’s product tour, for example. It’s cleverly designed for the early stages of the buyer’s journey, the visuals are large and simple, and the copy is concise. Not to mention, benefits are stated front and center, with “here’s how it works” displayed with an arrow below the top image, acting as a CTA to scroll down.
From there, you can see templates for infographics, presentations, and other visual content. With a couple of clicks, you can also see how to use Visme for social and web graphics. But what really makes it work is the “What others are creating” section, which shows the product in action.
3) Use Pinterest to your advantage.
It might not work for everybody, but if your target client is female, listen up — Pinterest is where they are.
“At that point, I’d already had my eye on [Pinterest] for quite some time,” he explained. “With warp-speed growth, a user base of 70% women, and an average user household income of over $100,000, Pinterest was shaping up to be an ecommerce marketer’s dream.”
Have a strategic look at the most popular category — in the U.S. and Canada, for example, that’s Food & Drink. So, if your product is, say, a grocery store list app, you have an amazing opportunity here to post something like a link to a recipe on your site. If the recipe has a call-to-action to download your app and add the ingredients to your grocery list — see how that works? — you have your conversion.
Yes, you have to think a little outside of the box with Pinterest, but you will be rewarded.
4) Integrate your social content with the rest of it.
The trick is to curate the tweets about your brand. Save the good ones, and make sure to include the entire body of it — otherwise, it won’t seem authentic. That can be done by clicking on the three dots below a tweet, clicking “copy link to tweet,” and bookmarking that URL. You can retweet them, or if they’re product-specific, embed them on your site next to product photos of the “buy” button.
Why does social proof work? Consumers are more likely to believe the reports of other consumers, like themselves, rather than marketers — hence that fancy statistic above about influencers. Seeing other people report favorably on a product removes fears and doubts, leading to more conversions.
All visual content should deliver real value for the user.
Fundamentally, people want information, and they want it as fast and fun as possible. One of the most effective ways to give them what they want is through visual marketing. And when you give the people what they want, they’re more likely to give it right back to you, with increased conversions and positive feedback.
Some describe work ‘culture’ as a “learned process,” or “a set of rules and standards,” or even behaviors that fall within a proper and acceptable range according to the organization. Those sterile definitions may work for traditionally corporate environments, but startups? No. Startups have a culture all their own.
Startup culture – it’s a work hard, play harder, scrappy environment of passionate people willing to do what it takes to achieve greatness (or at least a profit). And that culture asserts itself through establishing a shared sense of purpose, a shared “why” for the what you’re producing. If you’ve come that far in your startup journey, you’re ahead of most.
And heck, that culture can be so motivating, innovative, and even profit-maximizing that large organizations of all kinds are adjusting their strategies and policies to encourage a startup mindset in their enterprise companies.
That culture isn’t necessarily Lean, but it can be. And when it is, the combination of passion and process can yield extraordinary results.
Most startups fail – that’s the premise of The Lean Startup, its methodology and analytics. It’s all about setting up your startup for success by waiting to build until you know exactly what your customers need and will pay for, and then embarking on a journey of data-driven improvements.
All the while, you’re investing as little as possible to learn the most possible, making the iffy, insecure world of startup entrepreneurship a little more sure, a little more stable.
It’s no wonder that startup founders have taken notice. Something that lowers risk and improves the ultimate product? ‘Where do I sign up?’ – right?
But here’s what few people are willing to tell you: A lot of startups also fail at adopting Lean Startup methodology and there are a few reasons why.