One of the most over-used business buzz terms of the decade is customer experience. Webinars, how-to books, and college academic texts spend plenty of time emphasizing how vital customer service is for sellers who hope to earn long-term profits in any industry. Unfortunately, a lot of what’s available in the mainstream financial media misses the mark when the term is discussed. Too often, for example, writers emphasize what happens after a buyer takes possession of the items sold by merchants. But, much of the customer experience is related to what happens before delivery.
Advertising & Price
In an e-commerce world, buyers make many judgments long before they ever see the thing they buy online. They evaluate your company by how ethical your advertising appears to be, whether your selling price is in line with competitors, and whether your marketing budget comes across as cheap or high-quality. Prices that are excessively high or low, for example, can make an immediate impression on potential customers.
When buyers receive goods at their home or when items are delivered to local drop-off outlets, delivery is an integral part of the buyer’s overall impression. Does your company’s fleet management solution allow for on-time delivery? Do you have a telematics system in place that guarantees efficiency, compliance, and safety? Remember, consumers never see invisible components of delivery, like telematics, but the entire fleet management function contributes to things buyers do see, like fair shipping prices, goods that make it to their doors in one piece, and more. The main benefit of telematics, in this regard, is the fact that it’s a scalable solution, thus is able to work for companies and shippers of all sizes.
Spend a few minutes reading some random online product reviews and you’ll instantly realize how important follow-up is for buyers of every kind of product and service. Merchants often fall into the trap of thinking that buyer experience is finished once the consumer receives the good. Nothing could be more incorrect. In fact, the moment someone holds their new purchase in their hands, the experience actually begins. Only then does the customer get to see whether the purchase price was fair, whether the product lives up to the promotion, and whether it’s built to last or built to fall apart within a few days.
It’s ironic that only one of the components of the buyer’s experience is directly related to the product itself. Many new business owners assume that the product is everything, but that’s clearly not true. The thing owners need to remember is that at least four other factors make an impression on buyers before they ever hold the merchandise in their hands. Simply put, consumers respond to ads and promotions, the selling price, how quickly they receive shipment, whether the item looks as it should when it arrives, what they had to pay to have it shipped, whether the seller was willing to answer questions and respond to any complaints, and, after everything else, whether the purchase lived up to expectations and appeared to be a good value for the purchase price.