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By Ryan D’Souza, VP Commercial, Asia Pacific, DHL E-Commerce
Are Customers still the King Online?
Customer Experience Management is ensuring they remain on the throne. From the heads of multinational organizations to desk clerks; politicians to nurses; college graduates to senior citizens, one thing unites them when they shop online: they expect to be treated like kings.
Shoppers these days have a limitless choice and a vast product range at their fingertips; why would they choose to return to a store that fumbles their delivery or doesn't respond to customer service questions right away? If you want first-time customers to become return customers, you need to treat them like royalty from the start. The secret to doing this is Customer Experience Management.
While e-commerce has changed the way we shop, the way we feel about shopping has not. In brick-and-mortar stores, our choices are still heavily influenced by the people we meet face-to-face and by the kind of service they provide. You're much more likely to return to the friendly bakery 10 minutes down the road than the surly baker around the corner, no matter how good his bread rolls.
From the Website through to Delivery
Online there are no friendly faces behind a counter – customers only interact with a screen. This missing human-factor is the reason it is so important that each and every aspect of a customer’s online shopping experience is positive.
It starts with the website look-and-feel, moves through to navigation, the ordering procedure, and payment process, and extends right through to tracking and delivery. If any link in that chain is weak, customers are liable to abandon their shopping carts and never return. According to the VWO e-commerce Cart, Abandonment Report 2016 the average cart abandonment rate is over 60 percent and on mobile devices, it’s 78 percent. In a 2016 study from FuturePay, 86 percent of consumers said the top reason for abandoning their cart was the cost of shipping, other reasons included the hassle of return, lack of payment options and security concerns.
The trick to keeping customers happy is making sure they know they are in a safe set of hands. This is important in every step of the way, from the first interaction with the website all the way through to the successful delivery and if it's done right they'll not only come back, they'll also recommend a site to others.
The customer experience or ‘customer journey’ can be divided into two separate parts. The online part is controlled by e-commerce sites. Here, shopping cart abandonment is most affected by the website’s look-and-feel and continues right through to payment.
The trick to keeping customers happy is making sure they know they are in a safe set of hands
The second part takes place offline in the real world and is just as important as the online part because this is where you ensure your customers come back again. Think about it, who are you most likely to use again – the company that sends a rude, unhelpful delivery man or the one whose deliverer climbs the stairs to your fifth-floor apartment and brings you a package with a smile? Logistics is the only human element in the entire ‘customer journey’ and that’s why it’s so important to get it right.
Leave the Logistics to the Experts
To ensure the ‘customer journey’ is a delightful one, it’s important to pick the right partner for each leg of the journey. E-commerce companies should focus on their core area of expertise—ensuring shopping carts aren’t abandoned—while leaving the logistics to professionals like DHL.
We’ve built a global brand dedicated to doing one thing better than anyone else: delivering parcels in a reliable, consistent and predictable manner. Our internal systems track each and every shipment so our customers know where their precious purchases are in every step of the way. We also use multiple metrics to ensure that the delivery is carried out exactly as the customer demands it.
How do we do that? We do so by providing our customers with tools and systems that plug into theirs, offering a single window solution from order to dispatch, including printing labels, providing performance reports and more. We also treat our customer’s customer as our own, which means putting, even more, effort into delivery because we know this will affect our customer’s relationship with the end consumer.
We’re so paranoid about ensuring the best possible delivery experience, we’ve even set up dedicated consumer-side customer service so online buyers can call us anytime. We own all the delivery aspects of the ‘customer journey’, including the fulfillment part. Covering everything from order management and processing to warehousing and stock control, packaging and customs clearance, all the way to shipping, tracking, and delivery, this is the part of the journey where something is most likely to go wrong. This is the other reason to turn to the experts instead of attempting to handle it in-house on a small scale.
Perhaps, if technology continues to advance at the same rapid pace, we'll soon be able to answer customer complaints with real-time augmented reality face-to-face customer service? We've seen a lot of ideas that were once purely the stuff of science-fiction becoming today's reality. But one thing has not changed. The customer remains the king, and we intend to continue to continue to treat them like royalty.