Offline versus Online: What’s the Best Customer Experience?
By Ronni Marshak
A friend and former colleague sent me an infographic from Monetate on The Ultimate Customer Experience that I found very interesting.
The infographic demonstrates how to move the offline customer experience online in five categories:
- Continue the conversation
- Talk to your customers like you know them
- Help customers find what they’re looking for
- Listen to what customers’ actions tell you
- Surprise and delight
Tips on maintaining consistent branding and messaging, targeting the online experience to the customer, providing excellent search and recommendations, analyzing data and testing, and making it effortless for your customer aren’t earth shattering, but they are practical and presented in an easy to follow manner.
What’s most interesting is to look at the correlation between the offline and online experiences to see how to best use each channel. Since Monetate is in the business of helping its customers develop rich personalized online merchandising experiences, it’s not surprising that they focus and promote the online experience as a complement to the offline experience. But I always recommend combining the experiences into one seamless customer-supporting environment. Sometimes customers want to talk to someone, whether face-to-face or on the phone (or via online chat), especially when they are confused or excited. When you can’t find what you are looking for, sometimes it is because you don’t know what you want, and talking it out with someone can clarify your thoughts. And when you’ve finally decided to buy that cool gizmo you’re all hyped up about, an automated system just doesn’t share in your delight the way a live rep can.
The Infographic actually begins by pointing out the statistics on how a good versus bad online experience can influence loyalty. But never disregard the same considerations for an in-person experience, especially when combined with an online experience. You want to provide the best of both—to the same customers!