This article dives into the different ways in which webshop owners can leverage online feedback to reduce customer churn, including tips on where to collect feedback, the importance of collecting feedback in the checkout process and lastly, closing the feedback loop.
A high customer churn rate is a fear almost every webshop owner shares. After all, customer churn is one of the most critical strategy battlefields in the competition for gaining and maintaining online customers. Surprisingly, churn often stems from visitors who struggle with something but fail to report their complaints and end up looking elsewhere. In other words, they dodge any sort of confrontation. These kinds of visitors are what we like to call ‘silent churners’ and happen to be the vast majority of online visitors.
So why don’t these visitors speak up and voice their opinion? Well, try putting yourself in their shoes. You are faced with a couple of options. Either send an email with your complaint and wait a few days (or longer) for a response or start looking for an alternative option to satisfy their needs. I think we can all agree that the latter is much more attractive. Not only is it easier to keep looking but it’s also much faster.
“Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest churn. A lesson here is that companies should not view absence of feedback as a sign of satisfaction. The true enemy is indifference.”
The figure above is precisely why it is important to employ an online feedback solution on your website (as part of a greater strategy to reduce churn). Online feedback not only helps you identify where you’re going wrong on your website, but also provides with you the insights you need to rectify it.
Let’s start off by reviewing some of the drivers that may be causing customer churn in the first place.
Top Drivers for customer churn:
- A non-responsive website
- Poor customer service
- New products/services introduced by a competitor
- Poor site navigation
- Ambiguous or unclear content
Source: Beyond My Front Door
While you can probably identify with one or more of these drivers, the tricky part is determining which driver(s) is/are actually affecting your website. One way to do this is to zoom in on individual touchpoints, in which case you’ll need the right framework in place…
Breaking down the customer journey with the right framework
When it comes to reducing churn, it is pivotal to collect data from the digital points of contact where you want your customers to convert. Take a close look at the online journey of your customers. Pinpoint the places they may find important and which areas you want to excel in when it comes to the competition. This usually translates to online ordering or registration funnels – or touchpoints where you’ll be able to collect the most relevant feedback.
For websites, in particular, there are three basic stages you should cover in your framework:
- The beginning of the funnel: You need to capture and analyse feedback here in order to understand the quality of your product content and offer relevant product information so more visitors will enter your sales funnel.
- The actual purchase within the funnel: You should capture ‘exit insights’ from visitors that didn’t complete the order and ascertain why visitors do not proceed in the ordering funnel. For example, are there technical issues or is information missing? What’s causing them to drop off?
- The confirmation page at the end of the funnel: You want to gain insights into areas of improvement across the ordering process and the effort it took customers to reach their goal to ensure buying from you is an easy and efficient process. For example, here you can pick out the detractors (those that responded with low Net Promoter Score) and learn why they’re not satisfied.
Now that you have an idea of where you will collect your feedback, let’s zoom in on one of the most critical stages (mentioned above) where you can significantly reduce customer churn: the actual purchase.
Stop visitors from dropping off mid-purchase
As a webshop owner, you know that one of the most common occurrences on webshops is shopping cart abandonment. A visitor finds a product, places it in the shopping cart as if they’re going to purchase it and then never checks out. In fact, only three in ten people ever complete an online purchase which is incredibly low. So what’s happening here? Where are things going wrong? And are there ways to turn this process around and start building up sales? Absolutely, which it is surprising to see that so many websites are still puzzled as to why their cart abandonment rates are so high.
Source: Digital Marketing Institute
A great way to put a stop to this is by implementing exit feedback forms within your checkout process. Exit feedback forms are an ideal way to capture insights from your customers as they are trying to leave the point of conversion. These types of forms can be triggered based on actions such as the visitor’s cursor moving towards the browser control (e.g. close button or URL bar), giving you direct insight into why they’re leaving and what happened.
So what’s the best way to do this in practice?
Pure and simple. Just ask your visitors flat out why they’re leaving and give them a way to elaborate on their answer. For example, prioritize a number of reasons the visitor might leave and put these in a drop-down menu followed by an open comment section. To top it off, you can add a form at the end where they can fill in their contact details. This way you’ll have all your bases covered.
This brings me to the last and perhaps most important step in reducing customer churn with online feedback: closing the loop with your customers.
Closing the loop: Why you need a good action management process
Closing the loop is a popular concept within customer experience management, and with good reason. It ensures that all your efforts lead to a profitable conclusion.
With the right action management process in place you can engage with at-risk customers immediately, and thus lessen the chances of losing them to a competitor.
So how do you do this? There are both internal and external actions you’ll need to take.
Internal actions include involving multiple departments, setting up alerts, case management workflows and emailing. These tools are a great way of tightening communications among departments and teams but also keeping the right people informed of the progress and ongoing tasks within your customer feedback program.
Bottom line: Whatever you do, try to avoid working in silos at all costs!
Source: Beyond Philosophy
Once the feedback is handled internally, the next step is to tie up the loose ends with your customer. External actions are equally as important as internal actions. Keeping the customer in the loop with the progress of a feedback item is key to customer retention and satisfaction. There are many ways companies can keep these lines of communication tight including contact centre tools, CRM (e.g. SalesForce) and ticketing tools. This can also be managed within your feedback tool if the features and integrations are available.
Be sure you collect contact details for a follow-up
One way to make it easier to close the loop is to collect contact details through your feedback. For example, if a visitor is trying to order but gets stuck in the process, you want to know why, but also to convert this lead into a buying customer. In this case, you can use feedback forms to gather customer contact details (across various pages of the website). Having this information available gives you the opportunity to rectify the situation on time and help the customer convert. This is perhaps one of the most critical factors for you as a website owner.
Keep in mind. These last steps are the crux of the whole process towards achieving increased conversions.
Start fueling your churn reduction strategy
No webshop owner wants their customers to churn. But the truth of the matter is, churn is inevitable. So why not try to learn from your mistakes, pick up the pieces and adapt to your customers.
Having online feedback at your fingertips will undoubtedly enable you to quickly implement measures that will drive improvements for website performance, boost customer experience and most importantly, fuel your churn reduction strategy.
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