Complicated checkout procedures, hidden shipping costs and software that fails to remember personal details across platforms all contribute to low conversion rates in e-commerce. Nearly 70% of online shoppers abandon their cart before completing the transaction, according to Bolt, an e-commerce checkout platform. Customers today demand hassle-free experiences across a spectrum of touch points including desktop sites, email, apps, SMS and live chat.
But building a frictionless customer journey can be difficult for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). With the Covid-19 pandemic straining budgets, many companies are struggling to personalize and integrate customer experience across channels.
Given that dilemma, Nearshore outsourcing could be a logical option for smaller companies. The key is to pick a trustworthy provider to manage the customer experience. That third-party outsourcer must become an empowered part of the team, responsible for collecting customer data while implementing changes in response.
“These [technologies] are truly global,” said José María Beltramini, the CEO and managing partner of Summa Solutions, a digital commerce agency headquartered in Buenos Aires. “Obviously, there are really good agencies and options in Latin America. They could definitely be an option for companies in the United States looking for an enterprise-class experience with a reasonable budget.”
A recent study by Walker, an experience management services firm, maintained that customer experience would overtake both price and product as the critical competitive differentiator by the end of the year. The same study found 86% of buyers would pay more for a better customer experience.
“As a customer I don’t want to feel that I am jumping between different channels”
A Frictionless Customer Journey
For SMBs grappling with the economic fallout from the pandemic, customer experience management could be the difference between prosperity or bankruptcy. But defining a great experience is notoriously difficult. Customers themselves can rarely even identify the solution they are seeking.
Beltramini believes that a great customer journey is dependent on the “360-degree vision” of the seller.
“As a customer I don’t want to feel that I am jumping between different channels,” he said. “I might be starting my interaction with the brand online and then visit a store. I might be generating a purchase before calling customer support… Regardless of the interaction point, [I need to] feel that I am talking with the same brand, that shares the same culture and the same message. Every touch point should know me on a 360-degree level.”
For SMBs making their first moves online, the path towards a frictionless customer journey can be fraught. Many of these companies were forced into digitization by the pandemic and had little time to develop a strategy. But Beltramini says SMBs must view the crisis as an opportunity to cultivate new relationships.
“Hopefully, once the pandemic is over, most of those new [customers] that started buying through e-commerce channels for the first time… will stay,” Beltramini said. “Next time [their purchases] will be based on convenience and not necessity.”
Data is the foundation of modern customer experience management. If offers crucial insights into customers habits and any “pain points” they have encountered while interacting with the company across digital channels.
“The good news is that most of that data is basically free to access,” Beltramini said. Most SMBs, he added, encounter obstacles when it comes to processing and interpreting their data.
In the past decade, many companies have adopted a multifaceted approach to customer experience. That means information streams are increasingly complex – with websites, e-mail, mobile and social networks all generating data.
For that reason, Beltramini believes that Nearshore data analysts could prove invaluable to SMBs.
“When looking for a Nearshore partner, it is important to not just look for technological savvy,” Beltramini said. “You need to find an agency or a company that really has industry-specific knowledge.” He added that companies must enter the relationship understanding that it “will require a lot of interaction, back-and-forth and co-discovery.”
SMBs should also pick a Nearshore provider that they are willing to empower, Beltramini said. Full digitalization often means revamping the entire organization. When hiring Nearshore analysts to collect and interpret customer data, executives should be willing to transform their company culture.
“SMBs are not naturally data-driven,” Beltramini said. “The first challenge is switching mindset to start managing based on data.”
Despite these cultural barriers, SMBs are also at a significant advantage when it comes to making the most of data.
“Starting this process is less complex for SMBs,” Beltramini said. “There is not so much bureaucracy to go through and that gives them the ability to fail. You can fail fast, you can adapt, you can learn and you can try again. In that sense, [SMBs] are in a good position when compared to large enterprises.”
What does it take achieve great outcomes in Nearshore services? If you would like to share an exciting case study or news story drop me a note — Steve Woodman, Managing Editor