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Literature Review: Online customer experience

Discuss about the Digital Marketing for Circle of Life Company.

Circle of life is an organization that deals with telecommunication services and thus its interaction with customers is inevitable in this digital era. It’s a fourth telco company which has defeated its competitors to the punch and provides its customers with extra choices outside the other three existing telcos (Tynan and Sally 2009). It enables interested parties to register their interests and also subscribe to its data plans on the available website. Many things separate it from starhub, singtel and M1. Circle of life is actually referred to as a mobile virtual network operator. It’s a brand operating under the former Liberty Wireless struck with M1 in the past years. This implies it’s still building its own physical mobile networks but with a lot of dependence on lease from M1. This arrangement has made a lot of impact in the launch of circle of life (Mangold and Faulds, 2009). Therefore up to now the physical infrastructure is still owned by M1 however circle of life has all the freedom when it comes to crafting its own services and plans. This explains why customer online experience is important in its daily operations.

Many companies are now interested at why things are happening and not just what is happening- there is the use of a wide range of methods by marketers to identify the issues experienced by customers and reduce the impact it has on customers. The most important methods include information from customers emails, calls made to customer care centers, online tools used to give feedback, usability testing and digital experience (Maklan and Klaus, 2011). The focus is therefore laid on getting the right blend of different methods to be able to identify and learn from issues. Poor navigation has been one of the issues raised by customers that use online means of purchasing.

There is a greater focus on mobile experience with limited understanding-most companies have increased investments on the use of mobile channels and this indicates that investors in this sector understand the importance of mobile in ensuring there exists a excellent customer experience. this growth however comes with challenges for many businesses which are in need of understanding the impact of mobile use on customer experience (Mollen,  and Hugh , 2010).  The task is even trickier because the mobile devices are different and used in different ways. For instance the usage of tablets which are downtime devices can serve the purpose of a desktop compared to the Smartphone.

Emotional values

There has been an issue of tracking the right statistics so as to know the customer experience on mobile use (Chang and Chen, 2008). Most companies only track the devices and platforms used by users that are mobile. Others track the value of the mobile visitors, some track the behavioral differences of different mobile visitors while others are only interested in the influence that mobiles have on online channels.

The social listening tools have been seen to play an important role in online customer experience-many companies are of the idea that there is not only the value of positive customer experience that give more goodwill on social sites but also the reverse is true i.e. the companies also play a role in promoting this goodwill (Poynter, 2008). A valuable method of uncovering customer experience can be achieved through monitoring and analysis of the data on social media. Some of the tools that have proved to be effective include those linked to social media analysis/voice of the customer and also social or monitoring listening. Most companies rate tools associated with these activities among those playing key roles in online customer experience. However this rating is still at a lower percentage and this implies that most companies are not eliciting actionable insights that can assist in the improvement of customer experience (Hanssens, Rust and Srivastava, 2009). Customer behavior which is related to conversation is gaining more value-companies have limited understanding as to why customers leave sites or abandon purchases without any conversions. This is because many companies do not measure the difference found in conversation rates between visitors with issues on specific websites and those that do not have any issues (Rose, Neil and Moira Clark, 2011).

There is a lot of competition in the online means of business transaction which is growing with time. Customers do not just look for any shopping site rather they are also after experience. It’s therefore necessary for web site holders to find means of getting their customers attention away from big and already established companies to theirs (Gentile, Spiller and Noci, 2007). This can be achieved through various ways

The business/ website owner needs to identify personality of their own brand- for any upcoming business person there is need to show the customers their unique personality that will attract them to their products. One is supposed to show their customers how they do their business. One should identify that one unique personality that easily speaks to their customers. This should then be part of everything they do on their site (Gentile et al., 2007). For instance, Man Crates has a unique brand which is ‘manly’ and its theme is crates of goods. Once one accesses their help page they are met with a graphic which has a fist that is holding a crowbar and the caption reads ‘try harder’ (Frow and Payne, 2007). Such a unique feature fits into the company’s personality well.

Rational values

Make it a habit of proof reading the website’s content before making anything available on your website; it’s advisable to proofread the content first. In this way you can win the trust of your customers because you’re sure of the content that is made public. Any signs of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and poor sentence constructions are often a negative signal to the customers who tend to think the business is not legit (Kim and Eunju, 2012).  It’s good to use available online tools so as to get the best out of your contents spelling errors can easily be highlighted using sites such as proofread bot. the content can also be proofread by a professional such as the UK writings.

Make an improvement on your emails- always rethink about the communication between you and your customers and work towards improving on any complaints raised by the customers. Your emails should be friendly and encouraging for customers to seek your goods and services repeatedly (Lemke, Clark and Wilson, 2010).  Therefore clear and important information should always be given. The automated emails should always be rewritten to suit the customer’s demands.

Engage someone in the review of your products-product reviews are often trusted by customers because they offer descriptions on how the products work. Such reviews attract more customers to your site. Product reviews grow with time and how much you are selling in terms of products purchase by customers. In such early stages of businesses professional writers such as boom essays can be used to improve on the product reviews (Lemke, et al., 2010). This is because they are good at creating personal reviews that are genuine regarding your products.

Always be genuine- in real life shopping a customer is often happy with employees that have a happy and welcoming gesture and this also should be applied while doing online transactions with your clients. A friendly attitude can be identified via the communication being done and this is likely to ensure that the customers remain loyal and shop with you for ages (Klaus, 2013).

The interaction between a customer and any organization that is of a business relationship is called customer experience. This interaction may be discovery, awareness, advocacy, purchases and cultivation (Hanssens et al., 2009). It’s an important part of customer relationship management. Any customer who has a positive experience with a business is of no doubt meant to stick to the organization and be loyal. Customer service is one aspect among the many aspects of customer experience (Rose et al., 2011). no business can exist minus customers and this explains why companies focus much resources on wining new customers and retaining loyal customers.

There are different ways of creating an online customer experience strategy and they include but not limited to,

Creation of clear customer experience vision- this vision should be clear and easily understood by the customers. It should be available on the company’s webpage. It should be customer focused that can be communicated in the company as well. A set of statements should be created to act as guiding principles (Pentina,  Victor  and Xiaoni  2008).

Understanding the kind of customers you have-the customer experience principles can be built by bringing to life the different customers that you’re dealing with. Be able to understand customer needs and wants. To achieve this one needs to create customer personas which can be used to easily identify customers by their profiles. This enables the company to be customer centric (Pentina et al., 2008).

Creating a connection that is emotional with your customers-the common phrase ‘it’s not what you say but how you say it’ means a lot in business community. To achieve good customer experience online an emotional connection has to be created between a customer and the company. It’s known by research that more than 50% of any experience is usually based on emotions because our emotions shape the attitudes which are used to make decisions (Tynan and Sally 2009). Customers that are emotionally engaged online are likely to recommend your products to other clients, are likely to re purchase your product, are not likely to shop around for comparison and are fewer prices sensitive.

The company should capture the customer feedback on time-the feedback can be captured via post interaction surveys by use of tools that are automated through calls and emails. It’s advisable to make calls to customers so as to gain feedback that is insightful (Kim,  Weihong  and Kyung 2008) A specific customer support agent should be tied to a given customer feedback for satisfaction.

A quality framework needs to be used for the team development- this framework is used to develop training needs for each member of the company that is assigned to the customers to offer support. The quality of email and phone communication has to be assessed and the assessment is to be taken one step further through tracking the teams and scheduling all activities through eLearning, coaching and training (Maklan and Klaus, 2011). Regular employee feedback has to be acted upon in due time-instead of doing annual surveys on employee feedbacks it’s advisable to use tools which allow staffs to share different ideas on ways of improving online customer experience and this will enable managers to see the feelings of its staff towards the business operations (Kim et al., 2008). Based on traditional means of marketing the company may not be able to reach all the clients within their vicinity and even from far unlike if they resort to using online marketing strategies.

Always check and work towards improving your grammar-the grammar used at your website speaks volumes when it comes to the quality of your copy. Poor grammar can lead to poor understanding by customers concerning what you’re trying to market. This may cost you many potential losses. Grammar handbooks such as Australian help and academized books assist in crosschecking your grammar (Grewal, Levy and Kumar, 2009).

Make use of recommendation engines- this technique has been used by many online shops ad have been of great effect in their businesses. The engine gives recommendations based on what the customer is searching for and indicates to the customer what can be bought next (Klaus, 2013). This shows the customer that you are giving much attention to what they may need too apart from whatever they are purchasing at the moment.

Be appealing to the emotions of the buyer- apart from working towards brand description a good website should also indicate what it can do for the customer. This is done by telling the customers the benefits of the products and how they can improve their lives (Grewal et al., 2009). This implies that your message should be appealing to heart and not just the head. This will get you more sales.

The tone used should be of customer service- this is done as a replication of how you expect your employees to talk to you in a store. This therefore implies that a tone that is friendly and direct should be used in writing. The customers should know you are all set and at their service. Always offer an honest thank you once the customers buy your goods (Anitsal and Schumann, 2007).  This tone is way much important compared to the web copy that is usually standard and is often seen on most stores.

Always be impressed an enthusiastic with what you are selling- this will indicate to the customers that you care much about whatever is on offer on the website. The enthusiasm will definitely shine through and also rub off your customers if you really care about your business (Maklan and Klaus, 2011).

Switching from outbound to content marketing-there is need for the organization to add value to their brands other than just highlighting their products and services as it has been the norm in the past (Kumar et al., 2013). The idea of content marketing brings in more traffic to your web unlike outbound marketing.

The content on the website should be interactive-such content draws more attention to the organization’s website and also increases their engagement on social media sites that are powerful. The content should be eye catching enough (Homburg, Jensen and Krohmer, 2008). Be willing to embrace upcoming social media channels-the organization should not only depend on the usual facebook and linked in sites they should also look and try out new marketing sites available online. These new channels such as snap chats will allow the organization to explore more methods that are creative in making their agenda public and well known.

The content developed should be for real people and not just algorithms-the organization needs to step out of their box in which they create content that only highlights the blogs, company itself and business ideas (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2010). It should think of its content with the reader’s desires in mind, their needs, worries and fears. The audience and their needs should come first before the rank of their page.

The organization’s top content should be reused and repurposed repeatedly- there is need to constantly repost their top blogs with refreshing of titles as well as new visuals (McAfee and Brynjolfsson, 2012). They should not assume that their old clients have already seen the previously posted content. This also attracts new readers who have not had access to the content before.

There is the need to set a goal- the organization needs to have its goals clearly stated before embarking on digital marketing. This implies they should not go into the digital world blindly because this can leave them in a jumbled mess (Mangold and Faulds, 2009). The organization should have a marketing funnel in place-this assist them in mapping out the journey of their clients and putting strategies in place that encourages clients to move through the channel swiftly.

Most businesses that are doing well in this competitive global environment have embraced the use of online platforms to reach their customers within shortest periods of time and therefore in this era geographical boundaries are no longer a hindrance to business transactions (Chang and Chen, 2008). This explains the need as to why people have to get a deeper understanding of online customer experience so as to improve on their goods and service deliveries.

Regular employee feedback has to be acted upon in due time-instead of doing annual surveys on employee feedbacks it’s advisable to use tools which allow staffs to share different ideas on ways of improving online customer experience and this will enable managers to see the feelings of its staff towards the business operations (Kim et al., 2008). A closed environment can be created by use of social media tools where employees leave feedbacks on a regular basis.

Carry out measurements on the ROI to see whether great customer experience is delivered- this is one of the biggest challenges that organizations face and this is the reason as to why many organizations use net promoter score that collects information that is valuable through asking straight forward single questions (Poynter, 2008). It is used as the standard benchmark for measuring customer experience. It’s very simple to implement and use.

Make use of the call to action image-this image enables or prompts the website visitors to subscribe to some of their newsletters, request products and services or even view a webinar with ease (Zhao and Zhu, 2010). Make use of lead magnets that are effective- this magnet should be used in line with the call to action image so as to easily get potential customers on board. This makes clients to be actual quality lead that freely spend their money on the services that circle of life offers.

From the above discussion it’s evident that online customer experience is an aspect that has to be taken seriously by those in business because the customers’ needs have to be well net if anyone is looking at growing the business. Putting structures in place that fosters or strengthens online customer experience goes along way with the tremendous success that may be experienced by those in business. Circle of life just like any other organization depends heavily on digital marketing strategies to attract a wide client base considering the kind of business they are engaged in. It’s now evident that mobile is becoming a focal point due the increased rate at which companies are investing more time in trying to understand the customer experience which is now multichannel (Lemke, et al., 2010). There is an extent to which companies are meant to understand the overall online customer experience across offline and online channels as well as the types of technology used in identifying and addressing such issues.

Conclusion          

It’s therefore recommended that they make various improvements on their social media use such as driving of traffics to their sites, making use of lead magnets and call to action images to better serve and satisfy their clients online. It’s however evident that amidst all these recommendation the key one is having a clear goal in place so as to ensure the clients gets to understand what to expect in search of their services.  In a conclusive manner customer online experience and digital marketing strategies are things that should not be ignored in this digital era of doing business if anyone wants to make maximum benefits.

References

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Chang, H. H. & Chen, S. W. (2008), “The Impact of Customer Interface Quality, Satisfaction and Switching Costs on E-Loyalty: Internet Experience as a Moderator”, Computers in Human Behavior, 24, 6, 2927-2944.

Frow, P. and Payne, A. (2007). Towards the ‘perfect’ customer experience. Journal of Brand Management, 15, pp. 89–101.

Gentile, C., Spiller, N. and Noci, G. (2007). How to sustain the customer experience: an    overview of experience components that co-create value with the customer. European Management Journal, 25, pp. 395–410.

Grewal, D., Levy, M. and Kumar, V. (2009). Customer experience management in retailing: an     organizing framework. Journal of Retailing, 85, pp. 1–14.

Hanssens, D. M., Rust, R. T. & Srivastava, R. K. (2009), “Marketing Strategy and Wall Street: Nailing Down Marketing's Impact,” Journal of Marketing, 73, 6, 115-118.

Hennig-Thurau, T., Malthouse, E. C., Friege, C., Gensler, S., Lobschat, L., Rangaswamy, A., &    Skiera, B. (2010). The impact of new media on customer relationships. Journal of Service Research, 13(3), 311–330.

Homburg, C., & Jensen, O. (2007). The thought worlds of marketing and sales: Which differences make a difference? Journal of Marketing, 71(3), 124–142. 

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