Recently Econsultancy and Adobe asked over 6,000 marketing, digital and e-commerce professionals around the world the question,

“What is the marketers’ single most exciting opportunity for 2015?”

Over 1 in 5 (22%) responded “Customer Experience”.

What’s so great about customer experience? Many believe that it defines your brand.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience is all about the interactions a person has with your brand. There are various ways to measure customer experience including their overall experience with your brand, likelihood to continue to use your products or services or likelihood to recommend you to others.

Online marketing and web design can get caught up in user experience which is just one component of customer experience. We often focus on simple question such as How do people interact with the website and What experience do they receive from that interaction? 

The deeper questions to ask are ones such as how does a user’s experience on your website affect their overall impression of your brand and How does it affect their opinion when they visit one of your offices or receive their product order in the mail?

SEO and “Customer Experience Optimization”

Over the last couple years a large component of SEO has come to focus on customer experience and knowing how to optimize not only your website but to optimize all the online touch points a customer may have with your brand. Easy SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing, buying backlinks or rewriting articles that used to work five years ago are no longer on the table. Successful SEO is all about promoting your brand and building a positive customer experience, through aspects such as content quality and sociability. A successful SEO Strategy focuses on optimizing for the user first while staying within Google’s quality guidelines.

How to Improve Online Customer Experience

Here are some quick ways you can work on improving customer experience through your website:

  • Make your brand interesting and write with personality.
  • Understand the needs of your visitors and why they are on your website. How can you help solve their problem and meet their needs?
  • Make sure your business’ contact information is clearly posted on the site. It is a best practice to have your phone number in the top header and full address in the footer so that it is accessible no matter what page a visitor is on.
  • If you run an e-Commerce website make sure your shopping cart and checkout runs seamlessly.
  • Write interesting email auto-responders, such as when someone completes a contact form on your website or requests a quote. Tell the person when they should expect a response and make sure they understand the next steps in the process.
  • Write informative FAQ pages to give customers immediate answers to their questions.
  • Never underestimate the importance of page speed – your customers want to access your products, services and contact information quickly. Pages or images that take a long time to load slow your visitors down and take up more of their time than necessary.
  • Make your website awesome for all devices. Make sure your website sizes properly on small mobile devices and has links that are easy to click with a finger. Don’t let a non mobile-friendly website upset your visitor before they’ve had a chance to experience all the great things about your brand.
  • Keep contact forms short and simple. Only ask for the information you need and no more. This makes it easy and quick for your customers to fill out.
  • Double check that your business information (including phone number, address and hours) are correctly posted across the Internet including Google Plus. Your Google Plus page, whether you’ve claimed and edited it or not, often shows up when someone searches for your brand. A potential customer who sees wrong hours listed in Google and shows up to your store after you’ve closed for the night could be very upset and may never come back.
  • Take the time to read the online reviews about your business. Learn from any negative truth in the reviews (Is your staff really rude? Do you have unreasonably long wait times?) At the same time, take a minute or two to personally respond to customers who had less than great experiences and offer to make it right.

Ultimately, customer experience is about building a bond with people who visit your website. The customer experience is everything and can determine your future success.
What kind of bond are you forming with your visitors?