This article should come with a warning “Honest user experience within”.

If you don’t want to hear the truth about my digital experience with your brand, then don’t read any further.  I have an issue! One that I usually whine to my husband about but today I am sharing this with my wider audience. The issue does not just affect me. It impacts many other consumers and the businesses that are getting it wrong.

User experience on your digital channels is vital to creating sales and giving a positive impression of your brand. Over the past week I have been keeping track of the many digital experiences I have had, just like we all have every single day to share the good, the bad and the very bad.

These are real examples that share how what you are doing on your digital channels has a direct impact on your results.  So what does a week in the life of this digital consumer look like? So many businesses (large & small) do not understand their customer journey and as such are losing sales every single day and this is why…..

DAY 1

McDonalds: I bought McDonalds for lunch and not only did I get home to find the wrong burger and half empty fries but then couldn’t find the local stores Facebook page so send a tweet (in fact sent several) and got no response at all. TIP: DON’T BE ON TWITTER IF YOU DON’T RESPOND.

Ancestry.com: I wanted to order a DNA Kit and found the process very easy on their website. I didn’t finalise the order as I got distracted. The next day I got a reminder that I had an item in my shopping cart which prompted me to finalise the order. GOOD TIMING AND NICELY WORDED REMINDER PROMPTED ME TO BUY – WELL DONE

DAY 2

Lite & Easy: I noticed a Lite & Easy ad on TV and thought I would give it a go. I jumped onto their website and couldn’t figure out where or how to order. I got frustrated, mentioned it on Facebook to my friends who suggested trying You Foodz. I also sent Lite & Easy a Facebook message and the response was very poor. TIP: WASTED AD $$ IF YOUR WEBSITE DOESN’T REFLECT YOUR MESSAGING AND MAKE IT EASY TO ORDER.

You Foodz: I got onto the YouFoodz site and ordered some fabulous meals in minutes. They made it easy and answered all my questions on their website – got it right and I will order again. TIP: MAKING IT EASY TO BUY WINS MORE BUSINESS. THESE GUYS HAVE IT RIGHT.

DAY 3

Petbarn: We were out running errands and I wanted to know if they were open. I searched them on my iphone and tried click to call from their website which didn’t work. Plus the phone number was wrong so couldn’t get in touch with them. TIP: PEOPLE ARE BUYING FROM YOUR MOBILE CHANNELS SO MAKE SURE YOUR LINKS WORK.

MavSocial: I was setting up this new social scheduling tool and had a few set up issues. I emailed them and didn’t get a response for 2 days so emailed again. Then I got a call from their CEO apologising and walking me through the issue. Was so impressed that the CEO took time out to call and address the issue. TIP: YOU CAN TURN A FRUSTRATED NEW CUSTOMER INTO A FAN WITH ONE CALL.

DAY 4

Telstra: I have constant issues with getting local help from Telstra. Biggest pet peeve is when I tweet them and get generic responses that send me to a link unrelated to what my issue is. TIP: TRAIN YOUR SOCIAL TEAM ON LISTENING SKILLS AND DIRECT PEOPLE TO THE RIGHT PAGES.

Darling & Co: Local Brisbane restaurant that I was making an online booking for a business lunch. I made a mistake so emailed them and had a call back within 2 hours. TIP: CUSTOMER SERVICE EXTENDS ACROSS BOTH TRADITIONAL & DIGITAL CHANNELS.

DAY 5

Ashy Bines: One of the worst experiences I ever had with a fitness brand. I saw a Facebook ad which prompted me to go to their website and get some more details. I had a number of questions before I signed up so emailed them. Still had no response after 3 days so emailed again. No response so sent a Facebook message and was told they will respond within 4 days. I managed to get hold of someone and was told that if I email again within the initial 4 days my query goes to the back of the queue.  TIP: 4 DAY RESPONSES TIMES ARE RIDICULOUS. IF YOU ARE SPENDING MONEY ON FACEBOOK ADS, RESPOND TO QUERIES IN A TIMELY MANNER. P.S AND DON’T CALL YOUR CUSTOMERS BABE OR HONEY WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW THEM.

Missing Lett_R – I signed up to a new blog scheduling platform and as part of the welcome process got a call from the CEO in the UK. TIP: GETTING A CALL FROM A CEO CARRIES A LOT OF WEIGHT AND IS GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR BRAND.

DAY 6

Booktopia: I order an ebook on my laptop then downloaded the app to my iphone to read it. Experience across both devices was positive. TIP: WE LIVE IN A MULTISCREEN WORLD SO ENSURE YOU MAKE THE MULTI SCREEN EXPERIENCE SEEMLESS.

Microsoft: I was having issues on my laptop since downloading Windows 10 and tried to schedule a call from their website however it kept saying my phone number was invalid. Had to get onto Live Chat and they told me I had to schedule the call on the website (which it wouldn’t let me do). Again instead of using common sense, they just wanted to read from their script and didn’t understand it was a technical issue on their end. TIP: TEACH YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAMS TO USE COMMON SENSE AND TAKE INITIAVE TO SOLVE PROBLEMS. AND GET TECHNICAL ISSUES FIXED QUICKLY.

Hootsuite: I got an EDM about a free upgrade to my account. After clicking on the links, it didn’t work as they suggested it should so emailed them. Then was sent incorrect details on how to upgrade with a promotional code TIP: TEST YOUR EDM LINKS & INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE SENDING.

DAY 7

Brisbane City Library: By far the worst experience of the week. I downloaded an ebook from the library on my laptop. The download would not open as it was an odd format and there were no instructions on their website telling me what the process was , what app I needed to read the ebook or where to get it. I called the library and they told me I then needed to go to the library website on my smartphone and go to the ebooks section, download the app from there. I found two apps that supposedly would let me read the book and guess what – still no ebook anywhere to be found. Most ridiculous & frustrating process ever! TIP: WHEN YOU INTRODUCE NEW TECHNOLOGY EDUCATE YOUR AUDIENCE BY PROVIDING DETAILED INFORMATION AND MAKING SURE YOUR STAFF KNOW HOW TO USE IT.

Popcherry: I saw a Facebook ad that had one top in 4 colours. I jumped onto their website to find it but it wasn’t available in all 4 colours so I was far from impressed. TIP: DON’T USE IMAGES OF PRODUCTS YOU DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE IT, PARTICULARLY WITH FASHION.

Cineplex – I was getting movie times and saw an advert for new Deluxe cinema on their website but couldn’t click on the ad to get any details TIP: LINK YOUR ADS TO THE URL THAT GIVES CUSTOMERS THE INFORMATION YOU TALK ABOUT IN YOUR AD.

Pacific Fair – They have been promoting the new centre so we decided to check it out only to discover half the new designer stores were not open at all. Simply putting Coming Soon next to their names on their website would’ve totally changed our experience to a positive one. TIP: MANAGE CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS AND ENSURE YOUR WEBSITE INFORMATION IS UP TO DATE AND CORRECT.

The purpose of this blog is to highlight how the simplest things when missed, result in lost sales & bad customer experiences with your brand. Digital is an experience you take with you from screen to screen.  Seriously look at your user experience and the path to purchase and consider are you making it easy and does it flow like it should. Put yourself in your customers shoes and look at it with fresh eyes. Stop spending thousands of dollars on advertising until you get these basics right. (otherwise you are just wasting them). Your marketing efforts should start with your customer so make it easy from them to buy from you.

 

 

 

 

Are you missing simple digital opportunities

Are you like many businesses and are missing so many simple digital opportunities? Watch this video to see why it’s important and I share an example of a business that is losing sales by not doing one simple thing.

Add some sparkle to your digital personality

As a business it is important to show a personality that reflects the brand culture. Remember you are doing business with people so a human and relatable element to what you do is vital for success.

You can add a little bit of sparkle to your digital personality. Even in the most traditional business types there is no room for drab or boring. People want to do business with people they like and can relate to. Boring does not cut it anymore!

It is possible to mix fun & personality with business and this the best place to do this is in your language and content on your digital channels, starting with your website.  The words and language you use should reflect what you do. I have so many conversations with businesses who tell me one thing but their story does not even remotely be seen on their website. There is a total disconnect!

The other key area is in the content you create. Social media, blogs, video, podcasts, Fact Sheets, whatever the format or channel, you ca add your own touch of sparkle or personality to it.

Who does this well?  Brands and people that don’t apologise for being who they are but celebrate their uniqueness. Think Gary van Der Chuck, Marie Forleo, Michelle Bridges, Black Milk Clothing, Air BnB, Uber & Boost Juice. They are not afraid to be a little quirky, outside the norm and prefer authenticity to perfection and their audiences LOVE them for it.

Here are some tips to help you add some sparkle to your digital personality:

  • Be authentically you –authenticity is a vital component of great digital content. It is why the most successful companies are where they are. Their customers relate to them on their level and even though they might not be perfect, they are authentic.
  • Don’t pretend, be fake or try and be someone you are not – I love Oprah but I am not going to copy her style or try to be someone I am not. People can see through fake!
  • Don’t apologise for being who you are – not everyone will like you and that is OK. You can choose to do business with people you like spending time with. Life is too short to have to deal with people who don’t appreciate you
  • Use different formats & channels – try video, podcasts, fun meme’s or cartoons. Find what works for you, your personality and your audience. Mix it up, test it and refine.
  • Share your story – we all have a unique story to share. Your About Us page should reflect this and doesn’t need to take the same format as every other page out there

Digital doesn’t have to be boring. In fact being boring and highly polished will probably work against you in this personalised fast pace world we live in. Don’t be afraid to add a bit of sparkle and remember to always be you.

My personal mantra is ‘Never let anyone dull your sparkle’

sparkle2

There’s a social specialist on every corner!!

As a digital strategist and chief of digital experiences I immerse myself in the world of digital every single day. After many years working in all facets of the industry I consider my ‘bullshit radar’ highly tuned.

But lately it seems every second person is a so called ‘social media expert’. No one can claim to know everything in this fast paced ever evolving industry. If they do, then run a mile. As much as I tell my hubby I know everything (and yes I’m perfect) J I know very well I do not and on a professional level I do not pretend to know everything either. No matter what you level of knowledge in any industry you should be constantly learning and updating your skills.  And doing a one day course does not quality you to be an expert. I met a man at a networking last year who worked in a totally unrelated industry but proceeded to tell me he was an expert because he’d helped his mate Bob so he was qualified to help other unsuspecting business owners with no experience whatsoever.  Cowboy alert!

My pet peeve is people proclaiming that if you did ‘x’ you will double your sales, or triple your followers or have leads literally pouring in the door.  I have seen some outrageous claims that gullible and unsuspected business owners fall for. It just makes me angry when dodgy operators with fancy landing pages, fool unsuspecting business owners that believe their outrageous claims.

There are some well respected and very talented digital marketers out there, so follow them on their networks, get to know them virtually, ask questions, interact and talk to industry professionals before engaging someone that claims they can transform your business overnight (because they cannot).

TRUTH
There is no quick fix that can miraculously transform your business overnight – digital or traditional.

Digital is no different to anything else in your business. Like a plant you have to feed it (invest time & resources), trim it back (tweak & make changes) and nurture it (be realistic in your expectations) as it grows stronger and stronger and can finally stand on its own two feet.

Beware of dodgy claims: If it sounds too good to be true it IS.

I met a guy at a networking breakfast last year who when he rudely interrupted a conversation I was having with another person, claimed that we should talk more as his search & video company could have me number 1 on Google within the month. I called Bullshit and did not return his calls.

Implementation and action are key

Fact: If you don’t do the work you won’t make progress! Do you think you are going to lose weight if you eat KFC & Maccas and don’t exercise but because you have some magic pill so the weight will fall off you. Please!!  You can have a strategy but if you don’t put this into action then it is a waste of time and money. And the excuse of not having time, is exactly that. If it is important you will make time, even if it one tactic or task a week, that is progress.

Work with suppliers that have a good wholistic understand of how the pieces fit together and most importantly, what are the best tools and channels for your business. Ask questions and look at their experience. If they are genuine they will have no issue with answering questions, talking about their work, offering insights and giving you genuine testimonials.

Digital customer service – do you pass or fail?

Often a digital channel will be the first interaction with a potential customer so it is vital that you give a great first impression.

Most of your digital enquiries will come via email and social media so regular monitoring of these channels is the first step in digital customer services and should form part of your sales process. You need to set up systems and processes to make the customer experience one that is enjoyable and fits with your brand’s personality. Start with these steps:

  1. When you get an email enquiry, DO NOT just answer an email with only what someone asks. Take it the next step and give them additional information. Plus don’t send a form or automated response. (automation is OK as a first email but it needs to be clear they will you will be giving a personal response to their enquiry). Go above and beyond and really listen to what the customer is asking. Ask more questions if you need to in order to answer. And whatever you do, do not call someone Babe or Honey (yes has happened to me with the company in question not understanding their audience at all)
  2. Reply quickly. Sending an automated reply that says you’ll respond in 3-4 days is NEVER EVER acceptable and just bad service (something I recently experienced with a well known fitness company) We want information fast, because we can and should get it quickly now so taking days to respond is a sure way to lose this customer for life.
  3. Don’t ask them to contact you on another channel. The reason they are contacting you on email for example is because 1.they are comfortable with it or 2. You haven’t responded on another channel (such as Twitter or Facebook).
  4. Consider the overall customer journey. Put yourself in their shoes. Would the journey from query to purchase make you comfortable? What would you want? What would make you a raving fan? What is the wow?
  5. Don’t send a copy & pasted form response. Unless you want to lose the customer forever. LISTEN and PERSONALISE your response. I see this constantly with large companies that think a form response is OK when it is not (hear that Telstra)

digital customer service

Remember that when a prospect is sending you an enquiry email they are ready to buy. These digital enquiries should take priority and you will see a return if you think of them as customers walking through your door, not annoying emails.

Digital is 24/7 and being able to do business in a global economy is amazing if you understand that simply being responsive from Mon-Fri 9 to 5 is no longer acceptable. You need to commit to monitoring all your channels outside of hours?

Digital customer service is particularly important in the lead up to Christmas as online shopping continues to increase. By not responding you handing sales to your competitors on a platter, literally!! As a consumer if someone doesn’t respond, I go to their competitor and buy from them within 24 hours. And not only have you lost the sale, you have pissed me off to the point of not wanting to do business with you in the future.  I’ve had companies contact me 3 weeks (and one took 2 months) after I had sent an email enquiry and were surprised by my response.  C’mon get with the program.

I see companies spending thousands of dollars on advertising then committing the cardinal sin of not replying to their sales enquiries that come via digital channels. Crazy!!

This is a no cost tactic that will increase your sales & conversions. Do it and stop making excuses!!