Lesson 10 – How? – #6

Provide world class customer service

What is involved and what are the key considerations?

This lesson takes a look at the last three parts of the customer experience cycle – Use / Maintain / Dispose. We will consider this collectively to be customer service.

Once your customer has received their order you have the opportunity to develop your relationship with them.

In most cases, when you have made a sale and delivered to a customer that is the just start of the value. Remember according to Invespcro.com and many other organisations it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to keep (and increase the yield from) an existing one. Now is your chance to build customer loyalty by continuing to take responsibility for the customer experience. Remember satisfied customers are five times more likely to purchase again and four times more likely to refer a friend to the company.

There are just so many good reasons as to why the content of this lesson will prove valuable to you – many of which we will cover as the lesson progresses, but as a starter Forbes cite that

2% increase in customer retention is the same to profits as cutting costs by 10%

87% of customers who say they had a great experience will make another purchase from the company, compared to 18% of customers who had a very poor experience.

70% of Americans have spent more money to do business with a company that offers great service.


With all of this in mind you might like to think of the value of each customer being the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) as opposed to the single on line purchase that they have made. Get this right and it can save you a small fortune in on-going digital marketing costs – particularly when trading overseas.

So what exactly might you want to consider taking responsibility for once your goods or services have been delivered?

Returns. – make it easy for your customer to return something or alter it if it is not suitable.

Communication – make it easy for your customer to contact you – as a small business one of your competitive advantages is being ‘real’ – make the most of this.

Set up – make it easy for your customer to start using your product or service – easy to understand set up guides, advice lines etc.

Usage. – You know how to get the best from your product or service – why not share that with your customers?

Maintenance – some products or services need more maintenance than others – consider how you will deliver this.

Disposal – help your customer to dispose of the product or terminate the service at the end – again this may seem countertuitive but it is not.


Before we consider some practical ways of delivering a great customer experience in each of these areas let’s take a look at some general considerations.


Forbes have carried out some extensive research on how customers view a great customer experience and the areas that add value. With this survey in mind, here are our top 10 tips for delighting your customers:

Tip 1 - Create a customer-centric culture in the business

Satisfied customers are happy customers – happy customers are more enjoyable to work with. In addition to this your team will be proud of the business if it is delivering to the best of your ability – this will almost certainly increase loyalty and staff retention.

Companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than less customer-focused companies.

Companies with initiatives to improve their customer experience see employee engagement increase by 20% on average.

Companies with engaged employees outperform the competition by 147%.


Key consideration – understand the local customer


According to the Harvard Business Review there are 6 ways that you can do this:

1. Operationalize customer empathy. Empathy is one of those buzzwords that sound really good, but very few companies actually understand what it means, much less practice it. Essentially, customer empathy is the ability to identify a customer’s emotional need, understand the reasons behind that need, and respond to it effectively and appropriately. And it’s pretty rare. According to PwC, only 38% of U.S. consumers say the employees they interact with understand their needs.

To instill empathy as a universal value, one that informs everything their organization does, leaders must do more than give it lip service. Slack, the business communication software company, operationalizes empathy. Employees spend a lot of time reading customer messages and observing customers to try to intuit what they want and need. Customer support specialists are encouraged to research the people they’re helping and create mini personas for them to better understand how the customers are using Slack. The company screens for support people who know how to express empathy through the written word, and the company doesn’t allow them to cut and paste canned responses. And for partners who build apps on the Slack platform, the company promotes nine best practices to help them practice empathy, including “outline your use cases” and “storyboard each interaction.”

2. Hire for customer orientation. From the very first interaction with prospective employees, organizations should make thinking about customers and their needs a clear priority. At Hootsuite, the social media management platform, marketing and human resources executives collaborate to do this.

During the interview process, hiring managers are required to ask every candidate, regardless of role, a question to gauge their customer orientation. Kirsty Traill, the company’s VP Customer, explains that this practice not only assesses candidates and ensures that every new employee is aligned to customer-centric thinking, but also sends a clear message to everyone — recruits and hiring managers alike — about the importance of customer experience at the company.

3. Democratize customer insights. For every employee to adopt a customer-centric mindset, every employee must understand the organization’s customers. Adobe Systems has opened up access to customer insights for all employees. It doesn’t store up customer understanding in the sales and marketing groups and then expect other departments to focus solely on their functions.

The company created a new department, a combined customer and employee experience team, to facilitate customer understanding. It set up listening stations where employees can go, either online or in an Adobe office, to listen to customer calls. And at every all-employee meeting, leaders give an update on the company’s customer experience delivery.

4. Facilitate direct interaction with customers. Companies need to develop ways for employees to interact with customers directly, even in “back office” functions. After all, every employee impacts the customer experience in some way, even if indirectly, so every employee can benefit from interacting with customers to better understand them and learn about their successes and challenges.

Airbnb considers hosts, the people who rent out their homes, to be customers, so it facilitates employee-host interactions by requiring employees to stay in Airbnb rentals whenever they travel for business. The company also asks employees to let hosts stay with them when they attend meetings at the Airbnb offices. What’s more, employees participate in an annual event alongside hosts so that together they discuss learnings from the past year and plans for the next.

Most organizations’ business models probably don’t allow for direct employee-customer contact as organically as Airbnb’s does, but leaders can still facilitate interactions by letting employees observe focus group, sales and support calls, customer visits and ride-alongs, and co-creation labs, and participate in customer events like advisory board meetings and industry conferences.

5. Link employee culture to customer outcomes. The adage “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” applies to customer centricity, too. Managers will be motivated and equipped to cultivate a customer-centric culture if they know if and how it impacts results, so organizations should ensure they establish and track the link between culture and customer impact. According to Diane Gherson, head of HR at IBM, employee engagement drives two-thirds of her company’s client experience scores. That proves what Gherson and her team knew intuitively: If employees feel good about IBM, clients do, too.

Temkin Group, a customer experience consulting firm, has developed a model that estimates the impact of customer experience improvements on revenue in different industries. On average, Temkin calculates, a typical $1 billion company can gain $775 million over three years through modest improvements such as reducing customer wait times or making a transaction easier for the customer.

6. Tie compensation to the customer. Organizations should reinforce a customer-centric culture through their compensation program. Donna Morris at Adobe calls this “giving every employee skin in the game.” She says that for employees to know that customer-oriented attitudes and behaviors are expected from them, there has to be “an element of risk” to it.

So Adobe implemented a compensation program tying every employee to the customer. The short-term cash incentive plan reflects the company’s revenue performance as well as customer success measures such as retention. The program not only makes tangible the contributions to the customer that every employee makes but also produces organization-wide alignment because everyone is working toward the same goals.

Company leaders are starting to recognize that culture and strategy go hand in hand. Only when customer-centric strategies are supported and advanced by culture will a company realize its customer-centric vision.

Hubspot.com also have some great advice in this field – here are their 8 tips for becoming customer centric

1. Anticipate Customer Needs

There’s a great quote from Henry Ford that says:

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

You may be wondering why I am bringing this up when it seems counter-intuitive to the concept of customer-centricity. But hear me out:

Ford is saying that if he had only listened to what customers thought he could build, he wouldn’t have produced a car. He was thinking light-years ahead of his competition, and for that reason he created a product that anticipated the market’s future needs. Ford knew what the customer wanted before the customer knew they even wanted it — that’s a game-changing business move.

We can see similar styles of future-forecasting in Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. These visionary CEOs pushed the envelopes on what people would want in the future, giving the world the iPhone, iPad and the Model X — and companies with valuations of $1.08 trillion and $48 billion, respectively.

While most customers are able to accurately provide an account of what they want today, gauging what they want on a longer time horizon is extremely difficult for most people. They rely on companies to do that work for them to anticipate their needs — and make helpful suggestions accordingly.


2. Collect Customer Feedback 

It may seem obvious, but to create a great, customer-centric company, you need to communicate both frequently and regularly with your customers.

In today’s digital world, there are countless encounters where you can collect feedback. Here are a few touchpoints that you might already use to communicate with customers:




Phone calls

In-app messages

FB Messenger

Message boards

Today, valuable communication can occur on so many different platforms.

Every department should be using all of the communication channels at their disposal to learn about customers — and the sheer volume of quantitative insight you receive from these messages can help you greatly as you adjust your product roadmap.

But there’s also a level of qualitative feedback that you need to be proactive about collecting. While the aforementioned communication is likely already occurring at your company, user research is something you might be ignoring.

Here are three customer research techniques to consider if you’re not already:

Conduct a Survey

By telling your customers that you’re not perfect, you can gain insight and track your performance. The most successful companies in the world already know the value of surveys, and by conducting a regular customer satisfaction survey or product survey, you can provide an avenue for great feedback.

Launch User Testing

Ask any designer or PM the value of user testing, and they’ll sing their praises. Modern digital marketing tools such as Usertesting.com and Hotjar provide a simple framework to collect feedback from real people about your product. In the quest to build a customer-centric organization, this can help validate your hunches and guide your work towards the highest-impact projects.

Make Direct Calls

Have a friend that always insists on talking over the phone rather than text? I’d take a gander that that friend is one of your closer confidants. There’s something more personal about a conversation outside of the digital realm — by simply picking up the phone, you’re able to get a more robust form of feedback from customers.

And an added plus? You can adjust your line of questioning in real-time to adapt to each situation.

Our CTO J.P. Morgan practices this technique weekly — and he swears by the feedback he collects from his customer calls:

“Talking to customers is probably the most important thing I do all week. While there’s a level of product development that requires you to take a stance and anticipate needs — it’s impossible to do that without an understanding of your customer’s current situation.”

3. Be Easily Accessible

We all know the concept: make it difficult to contact support, and you’ll spend less time servicing those difficult customers.

There’s a huge financial and time expenditure used in servicing customers, so many brands (especially digitally-built businesses) hide their support behind many layers of pages.

For instance, try to find a phone number on Facebook’s Help Page. It’s nearly impossible. They’d rather communicate through help articles and live chat before giving out their number.

On the other spectrum, there’s Zappos, the online shoe retailer with a completely opposite approach to customer success.


Zappos identifies that when a customer wants to talk to them, they should make it as easy as possible. Note how they include their phone number prominently on the top bar of every page with the note “Available 24/7.”

Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, describes his rationale for that decision as:

“A lot of people may think it’s strange that an internet company would be so focused on the telephone, when only about 5% of our sales happen by phone. But we’ve found that on average, our customers telephone us at least once at some point, and if we handle the call well, we have an opportunity to create an emotional impact and a lasting memory … Our philosophy has been that most of the money we might ordinarily have spent on advertising should be invested in customer service, so that our customers will do the marketing for us through word of mouth.”

Make sure your ‘Contact Us’ page is highly visible and easy to access — and that it actually answers common customer questions you see crop up time and time again.


4. Contact Customers In-Person

One of the biggest epidemics facing modern organizations is the loss of feedback from in-person meetings. Looking back 50 years, before the advent of the Internet and our diversified global economy, it was far easier for a business interact with an end customer.

Direct, human contact happened on a daily basis simply because it was a necessary part of commerce. If you wanted an item, you went to a store, talked to a salesperson, and bought it in-person. That feedback could be used by a business to improve the consumer experience.

Today, in most businesses, this is not the case. Don’t get me wrong, the other advances from the digital economy have provided great benefits. While your potential touchpoints for feedback are far greater due to technology, there is less in-depth contact.

How do you combat this? By bringing back the in-person experience.

It may seem old school, but hosting in-person events can be beneficial in your quest to customer centrism. By hosting an event, you provide value to two parties: the customers and the brand.

For instance, consider Sofi’s initiative to host community events across the country. While it’s likely a substantial expense, there’s a positive externality. And they don’t hide it. They claim the benefits of a direct channel to interact with and get feedback from their members, as well as a way to build brand affinity. Not to mention, its lots of fun, too.


5. Provide Proactive Customer Service

One of the best ways to differentiate your business from its competitors is to provide your customers with added value that extends beyond the point of purchase. This shows them that you’re truly invested in creating a delightful customer experience and will go above-and-beyond to deliver it to them.

One way to provide added value is to include proactive customer service features. Proactive customer service gives your customers resources that help them solve problems on their own, without having to reach out to your business for support. This way they can resolve simple issues and avoid waiting on hold for your customer service team.

WashCard Systems is one company that has profited immensely from adopting proactive customer service. They used HubSpot to create a pricing page so customers wouldn’t have to reach out to a live rep to see how much its products cost. This accelerated the company’s sales process as customers knew immediately whether or not WashCard Systems would fit their budget.

A pricing page may seem like a simple addition, but it completely changed WashCard Systems’ lead generation process. In 2018, the pricing page became the website’s most visited page and was responsible for nearly two-thirds of the company’s online conversions. Rather than dissuading customers, the pricing page encouraged them to reach out to WashCard Systems and learn more about what the business had to offer. This type of proactive customer service demonstrated the business’s customer-centric approach to improving the buying experience.

6. Adopt Customer Service Tools

The customer’s experience with your brand is just as important as the product or service you’re providing. Customers don’t just want a sale, they want to enjoy the entire buying experience. Even if your product is great, you’ll lose customers to competitors who are able to make their customer interactions enjoyable and productive.

Adopting the right customer service tools plays a major role in creating a customer-centric experience. These tools help customer service teams create seamless, omni-channel support systems that provide customers with immediate solutions to their problems. By doing so, customers are more satisfied because the business is investing in their short- and long-term success.

One company that does an excellent job of utilizing customer service tools is the insurance company, Lemonade. Lemonade recognized that one of its most difficult challenges was changing the customer’s perception of its industry. Most people loathe speaking with insurance companies because the customer experience is typically dull and frustrating. So, Lemonade invested in chatbots to help change that experience for its customers.

Lemonade’s chatbot, “Mia,” creates a light-hearted and friendly conversation with its users. Mia provides customers with clear and concise answers and advises them on plans that will best fit their budgets.

In an interview with HubSpot’s The Growth Show, the company’s CEO, Daniel Schreiber, highlighted that this chatbot has made their customer service experience more “playful and instantaneous.” Additionally, Lemonade has been able to cut costs and reduce prices for customers as a result of added automation.  

7. Look Beyond the Purchase

At the end of the day, your business’s goal is to get customers to purchase your product or service. However, when customers buy once, you’ll want to ensure they buy again. After all, studies show that it costs nearly five times more to attain a new customer than to retain an existing one.

But, how do you motivate your current customers to purchase from you again? Well, the best way is to provide them with added benefits that extend beyond the point of purchase. These benefits should help customers achieve their goals and create a more memorable customer experience. By doing so, customers will begin to affiliate their success with your company’s products and services.

One example of this can be seen with the industrial clothing company, Rocky Mountain Industrial Supply, or RMI. RMI sells flame-resistant clothing to labor crews operating in industrial worksites like oilfields and mines.

In addition to its clothing, RMI creates added value for its customers by providing them with free safety certification courses. Customers take these courses to receive credible certifications that will qualify them to operate a product or piece of machinery. This not only helps customers avoid costly mistakes but also gives them the tools needed to excel in their careers. As they take more courses and enhance their skill set, customers begin to rely on RMI to assist with their long-term goals.

8. Create an Onboarding Process

If you want to create a customer-centric culture, your team can’t abandon customers after you make a sale. Instead, make sure your customers get the most from your product and services. That way they’ll be more inclined to return to your business when they’re ready for an additional purchase.

One of the best methods for optimizing your product’s value in the eyes of the customer is setting up a detailed onboarding process. An onboarding process introduces your products and services to the customer and explains how to use them to fulfill their specific needs. Each customer’s needs will be unique, so your team should personalize this process to ensure every customer is properly set up for success.

One company that has profited from adopting an onboarding service is the SaaS business, Chargebacks 911. Chargebacks 911 used HubSpot’s flywheel concept to analyze different pain points in the customer’s journey. After assessing their sales and marketing tactics, Chargebacks 911 realized a major flaw in its customer experience: new customers were churning during the setup process.

To remedy this, the company decided to enact a new policy where the customer’s sales rep would assist during the onboarding process. The benefit of this was that the sales reps could reference customer needs outlined during previous interactions. Then, the onboarding rep could identify products and features that would help the customer fulfill those needs. This ensured Chargebacks 911’s customers were deriving the most value possible from their purchases.

To learn more about becoming customer-centric, read our list of customer success tools.

Tip 2 - Make everything ‘quick and easy’

Consider Use / maintain / dispose and make things as quick and easy as possible at each stage. Remember, you know your product or service well, your customer does not. The more that they understand , the more ‘efficient’ they will be.

77% of consumers say inefficient customer experiences detract from their quality of life.

Top consideration here – as with the shopping experience – localise everything – language, culture and logistics. A great place to start to understand localised cultures is Globalbusinessculture.com


It should be easy to unpack products (think Apple).

It should be easy to return the products if they are unsuitable (think Amazon)

It should be easy to start using the products (think Apple).

It should be easy to maintain the products.

It should be easy to dispose of the products


Value your customer’s time – we have mentioned this before but it is a is very important consideration– according to Forrester 73% of customers claim that valuing their time is one of the most important customer values. You might want to consider the value of an immediate localised chat service Jivochat have a very interesting article centred around this.

Key consideration – how can you deliver this when you might be 3,000 miles from the customer?

Tip 3 - Stay interested in their wellbeing at all stages

This should be your number one concern – think about everything from the perspective of your customer. How do they feel at any given stage? Perhaps buy something from your own company and use it as a customer would. Remember one poor area of performance can undo all that good work that you have done. If they have a bad experience there is a good chance that their loyalty will waiver, and unfortunately they will most likely only remember (and even worse) communicate that bad experience.

Customers tell an average of nine people about a positive experience with a brand, but they tell 16 people about a negative experience.


Key consideration – understand local expectation.

Tip 4 - Get feedback

According to Forbes 77% of consumers view brands more favourably if they seek out and apply customer feedback. Have the confidence to ask your customers what they think, thank them for their feedback, possibly reward them – and tell them what you are going to do about their conclusions.

Award winning Manchester based agency Differentgravy.com claim that modern e-commerce is immersed in a review-based culture.

Ivespcro.com highlight a number of statistical benefits associated with reviews:

90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business.

88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with ‘excellent’ reviews

72% say that positive reviews make them trust a business more (and thus give them the confidence to buy).

72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review.


Ivespcro.com also highlight how customers use reviews

8% customers will trust a business without reviews

3% customers will trust a business after reading 1 review

24% customers will trust a business after reading 2-3 reviews

32% customers will trust a business after reading 7-10 reviews.


According to IRPCommerce.com There are a number of pros associated with online customer reviews:

1. Free advertising and content for your business on another website.

2. Improved customer trust and confidence in your business. This is particularly important for specialist retailers as it can provide an edge over competitors who do not use customer reviews.

3. Potential conversion rate increases due to improved trust and confidence.

4. Potential search engine results rankings improvement. Search engines take the number of appearances of business names into account when generating results rankings. This is increased through posts containing your business name.

5. Improved customer credibility by allowing contrary reviews.

6. Reduction in complaints and returns as customers can see any negative points about products before purchasing.

7. The ability to highlight areas for improvement in your order process.


There are predominantly two ways of obtaining and publishing reviews

On your own site, or within your own system. Instant reviews after they have purchased or received the goods can be very effective, and there are a number of companies who can provide software packages that enable this. Some examples are

  • Kinsta.com reviews the best WordPress review plugins here
  • Magento and Shopify have their own range of plugins – for example Amasty for Magento

On third party sites – asking third party sites to provide, or ask for reviews.

  • On line marketplaces usually have their own review system
  • Local bloggers can review your products or services – these usually appear on their sites, their social media feeds or often on the likes of YouTube.
  • Review sites such as Yelp


Top Tips for obtaining positive online reviews:

There are a number of companies that can provide you with some great tips for obtaining positive online reviews – why not read these articles by





These tips tend to be relevant regardless of which territories you are trading in, but given that we are considering international e-commerce there is one final tip that is very important.


Your reviews should be localised for maximum impact – this means

They should be by local people (which makes them more relevant to the audience)

They should certainly be in local language – so they can easily be written and as importantly reviewed by your potential local customers.


Worried about negative reviews?

We have looked at the positives – what about the negatives? You clearly don’t want to give anyone excuses to give you poor reviews and you won’t as you are going to provide an excellent customer experience (aren’t you?) – however accept that you might have an off day, something may go wrong outside of your control from time to time, and you may occasionally get bad reviews. This can be a challenge but according to IRPCommerce.com it is not all bad


The Cons of Online Customer Reviews

1. A lack of negative reviews could potentially affect a customer’s opinion of your business and their decision to make a purchase. Research by Reevoo indicates that 68% of customers trust reviews and the company more if they include both positive and negative reviews, whilst 30% suspect fabricated reviews or censorship when they do not see any negative reviews.

2. One negative review of a product or business can skew a potential customer’s view of them.

3. Most third-party review sites will charge you to use their services. You must determine if the benefits outweigh the cost.

4. On third-party review sites, disgruntled customers have the freedom to say whatever they like. This could lead to malicious or damaging information being posted.

5. You need to keep reviews current and up to date. Otherwise they will seem out of date and irrelevant.


Top Tips for managing negative online reviews:

There are a number of companies that can provide you with some great tips for obtaining managing negative reviews – why not read these articles by

Small Business Development Corporation Western Australia

Search Engine Journal.com



In conclusion the top 4 considerations with obtaining feedback are:

Evidence shows that customer reviews will certainly boost sales in an on line environment.

You need to ask for reviews.

Make it easy for your customer to provide and find reviews – localise.

Respond to both positive and negative reviews quickly and honestly.


Key consideration – localise reviews so that your customers can relate.

Tip 5 - Emotionally engage your customer

Remember your customers are motivated and buy on emotion 

Think about how you can create positive emotion – looking at things from your customers’ perspective what do they want:

To be appreciated

To think that they are important and that you are focussing on them (personalisation).

They like to be surprised (in a nice way!).

They want to feel secure – fell that they can trust you and that you deliver on your promises

They want to feel that they can rely on you – you are consistent.


The last tips deal with these in a little more detail.


Key consideration – understand localised cultural alignment and customer behaviour.

Tip 6 – Appreciate your customer

According to Forbes the top reason customers switch brands is because they feel unappreciated.

A survey carried out by Rosetta Consulting cites that  loyal customers buy 90% more often and spend 60% more per transaction,

You might want to think of ways that you can recognise what your customers do by providing reciprocal value.


As a starting point Uplandsoftware.com list 7 simple ways that you can appreciate your online customers:

1. Write cards (and send by mail)

2. Send personalised gifts

3. Listen and respond

4. Teach – provide education (how to)

5. Celebrate customer successes – show how great your customers are.

6. Host events – meet your online customers face to face

7. Be genuine


Liveagent.com provides more great tips such as:

Offer random discounts on your products or services

Send out coupons or gift cards to loyal customers

Provide free product or service upgrades

Include customer appreciation notes with every purchase

Offer personalized features to your products or services

Provide incentives to customers who gave recent five-start reviews

Send thank you emails following a purchase, re-purchase or a testimonial

Share valuable content that helps customers make the most of your products or services

Create a thank you video and share it with customers

Send handwritten personalized thank you letters by snail mail

Feature loyal customers on your website, blog or social media

Share customers’ case studies and success stories on your blog

Offer specials to your social media advocates

Send business appreciation gifts that are relevant and valuable to customers

Provide customers with free consultation sessions

Offer free educational materials (webinars, whitepapers, tutorials etc.)

Give special discounts or freebies for customers’ birthdays

Reward customers with a customer loyalty program

Create a customer VIP club with exclusive perks

Start a referral program and reward customers for referring their friends

If customers are business owners, refer their business to others

Offer customers special deals at other (non-competing) brands 

Host a special client appreciation event

Hold a customer appreciation contest or giveaway

Surprise loyal customers from time to time with unexpected perks

Show that you’ve implemented changes in response to their feedback

Celebrate major company milestones and highlight the most loyal customers

Have a specific day, week or month dedicated to customer appreciation 

Donate to a local charity on your customer’s behalf

Offer to sponsor a customer for an event they participate in

Tip 7 - Personalise

68% of customers say the service representative is key to a positive service experience.

80% of customers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences.

In the absence of a face to face service representative in an online environment how can you provide a personalised service? You can make this as simple or sophisticated as you like. At one end of the spectrum you can ensure that all communication to your online shopper is personalised with a name – at the other end you can put the best product or service recommendations in front of your customer based on their search criteria.


Website Personalisation is the process of creating customized experiences for visitors to a website. Rather than providing a single, broad experience, website personalization allows companies to present visitors with unique experiences tailored to their needs and desires. .

Some ideas for personalisation:

Localised content

Personalised E Mail shots based on data stored on the site (with the customer’s permission).

Live chat function.

Customer loyalty function

Membership schemes

Personalised shopping software such as attract.com can create a personalised shopping function


Sleeknote.com have provided an excellent guide on how you can personalise your customers’ shopping experience as have img.org.


Ventureharbour.com also provide a good insight into how top brands create great personalised customer experiences.


Key consideration – localisation

Tip 8 - Surprise

Customers are likely to spend 140% more after a positive experience than customers who report negative experiences. One of the best positive experiences is to be pleasantly surprised. Think about how you can give your customers more value than they thought they were originally getting. Think about how you can exceed their expectations.

Again there are numerous ways that to do this – the limit is your imagination (and to an extend your budget). To get you thinking, Surveysparrow.com talk about the following ideas:

Automated draws

Discount vouchers on their next purchase (perhaps of consumables).

A free service (such as a diagnostic).

Use of data – for example sending them something on a special day – perhaps the anniversary of their purchase, or the anniversary of the business formation.

Something extra with their delivery.

Tip 9 – Deliver on your promises

Ensure that if you say you are going to do something that you do it. – not much more to say here.

Tip 10 – Be consistent

69% of U.S. consumers shop more with brands that offer consistent experiences in store and online.

Having considered some general ideas for delivering a great customer experience to your online customers let’s took now at some specific considerations to improve the customer experience at each of the post-sale touchpoints:



About 5-10% of instore purchases are returned, however, this increases to 15-40% when someone buys on line. Redstagfulfillment.com claim that one major factor that dictates where e-commerce customers choose to shop is the existence or lack of a fair and comprehensive returns policy. Studies have shown that generous return policies increase sales without increasing the volume of returns. UPS highlight this in their document Rethinking Online Returns where they claim that 66% of shoppers review a retailers return policy before making an online purchase.

Your customers need to be reassured that they can return something easily if it is not suitable. Make it easy for your customer to return something or alter it if it is not suitable. This is particularly important in many overseas territories. UPS highlight some best practice recommendations:

• Include a return label in the box or make available from website

• Display a carrier’s tracking links on your site

• Help shoppers understand the product (form, fit, function) and offer assistance (assembly and usage instructions) to minimize returns

• Consider prepaid labels or free returns to create good will Note: Desirability based on industry type, such as high-end apparel/footwear. This may not be as advisable for electronics and other high-value categories.

• Provide a refund when package ships or is received.

• Send an email (or text) when the return is processed and credit applied

• State clearly who pays for what.

• Encourage customer to return to store since most prefer this option when a retailer offers both – Emphasize immediate refund or possibility of instant exchange.


Key question – How might you do this effectively from the UK?



Ideally Your customers should be able to contact you easily to answer their queries.


Some considerations here :

Take responsibility for your customer’s wellbeing – whilst directing them towards blogs written by other customers, those blogs should not replace your own service.

Make the communication channel convenient – people like to communicate in different ways – give them options. Here are a number of options when you are considering how your customer may communicate with you

E Mail – dedicated help / support address.

Live chat

Social media channels

Phone support

Remember the importance of time – a quick response is essential if you are to provide a world class customer experience. It is not acceptable making your customer wait for 6 hours because you are not on line at that time.


Key considerations – Localised contact, local timing and local language.


Set up:

Your customer should find it easy to get started and enjoy the benefits that the product has to offer. From an international perspective, if possible the product or service should be localised before it is delivered. Quick start guides in local languages.



Help your customer to get the best from their purchase. Some ideas for this:

Clear localised training.

In a corporate environment – internal communication.

In a corporate environment – localised champions and internal experts.

Communicate top user tips.

Create user groups and communities.



Maintenance or servicing might be part of your offer – your customer will be considering how this will be done locally in a cost-effective way (as will you). It needs to be cost effective for both the customer and yourself. Remember in a B2B environment that time is money – your customer sending something back to the UK, or waiting for a UK engineer to deal with the problem may not be a palatable option as the cost of downtime will be prohibitive.


Make any maintenance as easy for the customer as possible. In the event of a fault, breakdown or glitch make it easy for your customer to send back or access remote support to rectify.


Make warranty claims as easy as possible to assess and approve – with swift repair or replacement.


In the case of digital products or software services a fast-response 24 hour helpline is expected.


Key consideration – how are you going to deliver timely cost effective maintenance when your customer may be 3,000 miles away?



Help your customer to dispose of the product or terminate the service at the end – again this may seem countertuitive but it is not.


Particular consideration should be given here to localised environmental requirements.

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