Welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast, everyone. I am your host, Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest Will, who is a customer value optimisation consultant, helping businesses improve conversion rates and customer lifetime values through optimisation. He is the founder of Customers Who Click, and hosts the Customers Who Click podcast, a weekly chat with a guest giving new ideas and approaches to marketing strategies.

Welcome to the podcast. 

Well, hi, Arlen. Thanks for having me. 

Yes, no problem. And thank you for joining me. Excited to talk to you today about the topic at hand, which is going to be really improving the customer’s experience on the website. It’s a topic that I think doesn’t often get addressed enough these days just because a lot of times the businesses, e-commerce businesses specifically that I come in contact with are just so focused on driving customers to their website. What happens when they get to the website becomes almost an afterthought. 

But as you know and I know that customer experience is very crucial to, you know, converting them and, you know, kind of winning them over. So we’re going to dove deep into that today. But before we get into all of that, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today. 

Yes, sure. So, yes, my background actually was originally in start ups, I moved between about four of them the first six years my my career was in the United States, but not so quickly. But I think what I what I discovered was exactly what you’ve just said. You know, the companies have really, really focused on driving traffic and driving that new traffic, new users, new customers. And there was always kind of, I guess, the assumption that once the product was built, that was that that’s all they needed to do. 

You know, whether it was an app or a website, get it built and then all you’ve got to do is drive traffic to it. And then we’ve got to do is optimize the ads and the creative and that sort of thing. And that’s what would then drive an increase in conversion on a website or not. So I started my experience with quite general marketing. You know, I took marketing manager role as head of marketing roles quite with quite a broad focus. 

So I started to do is actually work quite closely with product teams. So I would kind of get the marketing in place, get some agencies or in-house people whatever to do, PC Seo and all that. And then I would focus my efforts more on a bit of customer service and that kind of onboarding experiences that we can offer people the sales and marketing automation flows that happen post purchase or sign up. But then I also worked really closely with the product teams to make sure that they understood that what we couldn’t be doing is just saying here is the next feature on the roadmap that we want to build.

It needs to be here’s the next feature on the roadmap that the customer needs us to build. One example would be we just relaunched an app for a not a global company, but a company that operates in multiple countries. I’m sorry we hadn’t quite launched yet. They just sent us the beta version to test out before it went live. And I pointed out that in the UK version, it didn’t allow a customer to actually verify that a particular piece of ID, which was a legal requirement for us in the UK. 

So they weren’t focusing on those customer needs or even really doing the research and understanding what the business needed. So that’s where I kind of saw this need to actually have a marketer involved in the product side and make sure we’re really focusing on that customer experience because their solution originally was well for the UK. We’ll just ask them to contact customer service for that step. So we’re kind of in the apple, skip it out, but then we’ll just follow up with them and say, oh, can you please email this? 

And I said, no, you can’t do that. I mean, you can just maybe as a short term fix, but we have to have this in place. It’s got to be a seamless process. So, yeah, that happened in a couple of businesses, obviously different different touch points that affected this. But I was always saying the same thing, which was the product is built. The product team has their roadmap of just stuff to build for the future. 

And the marketing team’s job is to acquire customers and get those customers coming back. Yeah, but that’s not going to happen if I have a bad experience. 

Very true. Very true. And interesting what you said as far as and I think this is something a lot of businesses do where they they know that there’s some shortcomings with regards to the on site experience, the customer experience, but they kind of put it off and it’s like, OK, you know, they leave it up to the customer support teams to resolve any issues or to kind of plug any holes if there’s anything that was missing. I mean, you can do that, like you said. 

But a lot of times, if you wait till then, it’s kind of too late because you’ve already kind of set precedent in the eyes of the customer. They’re kind of they may not at that point be as hopeful or optimistic about their overall experience. You know, they may hang in there for a little bit. You know, you’ve already kind of brought them down a little level. 

Yeah. It’s it can oftentimes not be a great experience for the customer. But also the risk is the you know, let’s say that example where they didn’t think of something in the in the development stage. And the quick fix is to get customer service, just handle it on a manual basis. Right. The product team moves on, the product team starts moving on to those new features and those new projects to work on. They completely forget about the fact that customer service and managing this.

And what happens is there are no complaints to them as far as they’re aware, everything’s working as expected. And so the actual work to get that fixed drops off the pipeline as well, because suddenly it’s well, but this is working. So why do we need to change anything? And you can got the customer service team who have now got a load more work to do because what they thought was a temporary measure has now turned into a permanent one because.

The development team just moved on, and I’m not trying to blame development teams for being at fault here, but, you know, if you identify these problems early, which you should do by involving the right people and projects, you get it fixed first. Yeah. What is that big a deal when it’s a crucial part of the customer journey to get it fixed before you got to live with it?

Yeah, yeah. Very, very true. And you’re so right about the fact that when the development team moves on, then the customers that are kind of dealing with these issues, I mean, it’s going to be an ongoing thing. The customer support team just knows how to kind of fix it and they’re going to do that. And then if you keep just moving on, moving on, it kind of gets lost. And unless you kind of address it or have that open dialog, then it’s going to get buried.

And then these things is going to keep compounding and you’re going to have more and more issues. So, yeah, it makes a lot of sense.

And most of the time, the general customer service people don’t speak to developments. Right. So there’s not even that day to day just dropping a hint or whatever to say we need to get this fixed. Whereas, you know, with the marketing team, it’s a lot. Well, from my experience, maybe because I’ve just done it myself, but I found marketing at least works a bit more closely with development a lot of the time. Yeah. And so it’s easier to say we’ve still got this issue of marketing.

We still need to fix it.

Right. Very true. Very true. Yes.

Especially if you outsource your customer service team or or even if they’re just in a different office, which is the case in a lot of big companies. Those conversations just don’t happen. They it’s difficult for them to happen. And it’s also easy to kind of brush off.

Definitely. Definitely. If we’re going to look at this whole kind of customer experience kind of niche, I guess you could say, or customer experience category on a particular website for an e-commerce business. What are the, I guess, main elements that you see that comprised really the customers on site experience because they can really kind of be broken down to different categories?

I guess this is kind of the big key thing is that it’s clear and easy to use. That’s got to be someone has got to be able to really understand easily what this product or service is going to do for them, how it’s going to change their life, and that will convince them to buy it. And then when they actually see you’ve got to work on that kind of touch and lose emotions around kind of anxiety and motivation, you know, scarcity agency, but also social proof and then really focus on that.

You know, why is this product going to fix my life and solve that problem I’m facing? Once I’ve understood that and I’ve made the decision that I want to buy this, you’ve got to make it really easy functionally for me to make that purchase. So make it easy for me to pick a size if it’s in a clothing, make it easy for me to add it to cart, make it easy for me to then add my personal details in my payment details, pick the payment method that I prefer.

And obviously you can’t add every single payment method. It’s just it’s just been a nightmare. But, you know, you can have there’s no excuse not to have a credit card available, really. You should have PayPal because it’s it is a huge amount of payment still. And I’d even suggest to most businesses really stuff like Kloner or I can pay, you know, those buy now, pay later solutions. They’re getting really popular. People want them and they’re proven to improve conversion rates and order values.

No. And if you get so, one of the reasons it improves or values is because people are able to say, I can put a thousand pounds worth my thousand dollars worth in my basket because I know I’m not going to pay for it all. By the time it comes to payment, I can have returned. Eight hundred dollars worth of it. However, if you get the customer experience right on site, you avoid a lot of those problems.

If you can convince people that this is the product for them and deal with any issues, they have an anxiety they have around. Whether it’s correct, you won’t have those returns issues, especially with clothing and shoes, where someone might quite easily be tempted just to say, well, I’ll buy a small, medium and large. I’ll just try more on somebody I don’t like or I’ll buy these three different size of shoes. Because I’m just not too sure which one is going to be the right fit, but if you put the right tools and experiences in place on the website to convince someone that that is the size for them, they only have to buy that one.

You get a better conversion because they still pay 30 days later if you don’t have the returns. I actually don’t have the costs associated with that. And that’s kind of that’s one of the big issues around conversion rate optimization these days, I think. And people focus purely on conversion rates optimization. You can improve conversion rates by offering massive discounts and free shipping, free returns, all these different things which basically just make it an easy decision for the customer to go.

Well, I might as well might as well just buy it, because I can if I like it, get rid of it, whatever. So you’ve got to avoid doing that. You’ve got to make sure that any of these tactics and things you implement to improve conversion rates also are there to actually benefit lifetime value in the future as well. You still want to give the person a good experience. Ideally, you want to pay full price. If the product is right for them, you should be able to convince them of that.

Which would then lead to the purchase because they’ve decided they need that in their life, right. You’ve made it easy for them to buy with a preferred payment method. So they’ve checked out, they’ve got their product. And then you post purchase is good to to kind of just check in on them, make them happy. One thing I did, I phoned up an unhappy customer once. She got in touch by email, I think, really unhappy it was a subscription related.

I think it was one of these complaints where she was unaware that this subscription was going to come out at the same time every month that it had been coming up. But I, you know, apologized, explained it. And instead of canceling, she just stayed with us. And I had to do nothing except just check in on her basically and give it a little bit more, one to one such so. One thing I really dislike that a lot of runs do is you’ve made your purchase a week later, you get an email asking you to write the business on Transparent.

You’re right.

That’s what the business needs. That’s not what I need as a customer. What I need is for you to check in on me, almost like on a one to one basis to make sure that I’m OK and that the products that fit my needs. And if I’ve got any questions or concerns, I can just reply and I have my problem solved. You know, the review should come a bit later. Yeah, I think you should always be thinking what’s in it for the customer with pretty much everything you do.

And then once you’re certain of the customers happy, then you kind of bring in those. What’s the business need at this moment, which is the review because the customer doesn’t need to.

Yeah, exactly. That is so true. And there’s so many businesses that they’re so anxious to try to get that the review. Get the feedback. Yeah, it comes out, like you said, way too soon. You’re not it comes off, like you said, is you’re not concerned about them, the customer. You’re more concerned about the business and the business goals. It’s easy to do that to try to do that, because, of course, businesses these days, especially product businesses, do live and die by the reviews.

We can kind of see why they’re so anxious to get them. But the bottom line is you’re only going to get that unless you satisfy their customers. So you’ve got to meet their needs first. And then, of course, if they’ve you’ve done everything that you can to satisfy them, meet their needs and answer questions, then at that point there would be a little bit more natural for them to to do what you want, provide the review or whatever you’re asking them or testimonial.

Exactly. It costs you nothing to send the email to just check in on them. But even if they don’t reply, as long as they’ve seen it, it just it builds that relationship with the brand, the vet bills that trust. Just kind of one example. I’m working with a client who it does have this e-commerce business, but I do kind of have that one to one relationship with our customers. We sent out a survey asking for feedback from people so that we can help kind of direct where the new website should go and that one of the final questions was, are you happy for the business?

Contact you about your feedback and then drop your email and we’re going to 68 percent. Yes. Response rate on that. 68 percent of people who filled in the survey said, yes, we’re happy to speak to the business. And that only really happens if you’ve built some sort of relationship and trust with them by giving them a better customer experience.

That makes a lot of sense. Now, you mentioned a couple of things as far as the post purchase experience. And it’s you know, that’s something that a lot of times, like you said, is overlooked. And of course, we mentioned one thing is the post person’s experience where you’re you’re asking all of these things of the customer. You’re not really kind of meeting their needs. And so you mention one thing, of course, is the just a simple follow up call asking how things are going.

This could be somebody on your support team. It could be whoever you designate to do it to do these calls. And that’s great. That’s definitely one tactic to try to alleviate any issues before they get worse or to try to resolve any returns. Maybe there is a particular aspect of the product that maybe a lot of people have trouble with. You know, maybe you can contact them directly and try to alleviate any, you know, issues that they’re having utilizing it.

So, yeah, that’s definitely something that you can do. What are some other post purchase experience? I guess you could say the kind of tactics that you can kind of help to smooth out your overall experience that you have with the customer and then ultimately improve their lifetime value.

Yeah, so just back on that previous, but it doesn’t have to be a phone call. It can just be an email that’s up to find there are some pretty cool services you can use like Bundjalung. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve, I’ve actually interviewed on my podcast can send these videos and things and they don’t have to be unique, they just need to be genuine. But yeah, you’ve got to check in on people. That’s enough. Just check in and you have to speak to them.

As long as they know that you’ve made the attempt to contact them, that’s better than nothing.

Yeah, that’s so true.

Post purchase otherwise apart from the email said so powerful. Just sending that review too early, which which is just in it for you. Obviously any other post purchase emails you send, make sure it’s even if you’re asking the customer to do something for you, you’re framing it in a way which is the customer’s going to get the most out of this. So, you know, it’s really tempting. Just push your loyalty scheme and say here’s how you earn points.

Here’s how you can spend points here, your different tiers. But the customer doesn’t really care. You need to tell the customer what they are really going to get out of this. What’s the end result for them out of this loyalty program, which could be a special events, exclusive sales discount codes to use that sort of thing. But that’s clearly got to be in that, you know, you don’t get a discount on your next purchase or something like that.

Right? Right. So just just make sure that, you know, when you are doing this follow up stuff, you are really making it about the customer, even if it’s very clearly something that the business wants and it’s going to be a benefit to the business frame. It is a benefit to the consumer. I’m a big, big fan of the actual unboxing experience and delivery experience, so. One thing I would suggest on the delivery side is make sure you’ve got a really good delivery partner.

Make sure they provide tracking links, a daily pick, one that allows the customer a bit of flexibility with if circumstances change. You know, I’ve everyone here I don’t know. Do you have Hermès?

I’m sorry. What is that?

The delivery, the courier, Hermès there means I’m not familiar with that. There could be you at the end.

Yeah, maybe it’s just over here. But there she got a lot of steak. I got a lot of complaints, and yet my experience has only been good with them. I remember the example of actually for years I bought something off a company recently. I got an email from Hermès a day later, maybe within 24 hours, saying, we’re aware of your order. We haven’t got your products, your order yet. But we know we know that this order has been placed.

This company has tasked us with delivering this to you. So this was like a pre shipping notification from the case. So I’m thinking, OK, Kurian knows what they’re doing. Then I got the email saying, we’ve got the package, we’re just getting it ready, and then we’ll ship it out. Then I got the shipping one. Then I got I think it was the day before our driver is going to be with you within roughly these hours.

But we’ll let you know close to the time. And then I think the next day I got a text message with an hour slot or something like that. So, you know, the communication was so good, I had no concerns about whether I would receive that package.

Yeah, yeah.

You don’t have to go on that extreme, but just one that is going to send out those emails, one that’s going to allow people to change that. The special requests. Sometimes you can say leave it with a neighbor or leave it in the back garden, whatever. Someone a courier that allows that flexibility. Once that package has been shipped, you’re not something that then you’ve got mail on to the actual unboxing experience. Depends what you sell. You know, this isn’t for everyone.

But, you know, there are certain brands who definitely have got an opportunity to make that first purchase really, really special. I come across recently, I bought a sample kit for some basic products, actually, like just general men’s hair and skin care, I think so I bought some moisturizes, I think a beard, oil or something like that. And it was kind of like a combo box, which was clearly designed for those samples, but it didn’t quite feel as premium as that brand was.

So there’s a really good opportunity there for them to put some extra content in there, really explain the benefits of each of these different samples, and then Trump Suomi me to buy the ones I like. So in that situation where the first purchase is kind of a leading purchase. Really work hard to make that experience really good. Probably doesn’t work so well for any fashion brand or something like that where each product could just be, it’s completely independent purchase.

But you could still, depending on your fulfillment, obviously, that’s another issue you could try and make the first delivery a bit special.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And a lot of times it’s like you said, that first experience is very critical, especially if you’re a brand, whether it’s a clothing brand or brand where, you know, you have other products and you want customers to come back, either purchase more of that same product or other products, then that every step of the way is very important. One thing I wanted to kind of go back on that you mentioned that I think is really key when you talked about the delivery partner.

What I see this all the time is I think a lot of times where they fall short and this is something that the ecommerce company can be mindful of is the where the customer aggravation comes into play is when there’s any lapse of communication. You know, every company falls victim to this, even Amazon, you know, which is the behemoth of the e-commerce world. I’ve ordered plenty of products many times, and I’ve gotten those emails saying it’s still on its way, but we’re running late.

And, you know, you try to go in there to get the tracking details. And, you know, it’s a little vague. It says, you know, it reached the shipping facility. It doesn’t necessarily show that it’s in route, but you’re still kind of up in the air as to when you’re going to receive it to alleviate. And that gives frustration. I know in mind and I know people in my shoes do this to get the same thing.

And this is not only with Amazon, this is with other providers. I think the key thing is communicating with them what exactly is going on. So they’re not scrambling, worrying what’s going on. And so, like you said, even if it hasn’t physically left, maybe there is some type of delay. But you’re clearly spelling out, OK, what’s happened, where is it now? So that really gives the customer a little bit of insurance so they don’t go running, try to do a cancelation of it, get a refund.

And so I think the communication is a really big thing there.

Yeah. And I think there’s a reason that suggest getting the Korea who does that communication, because you can’t always you can’t always connect up to that carry. That’s about to show someone the data them yourselves, yourself. But also you don’t have to rely on an API or something working. So. Exactly. Make sure that the carrier communicates well, because at the end of the day, if the delivery is late or lost or whatever, it’s your fault as the e-commerce brand.

People seem to hate on the carriers and stuff, but at the end of the day, if the product is late, you know, they come to you is they actually come up front to ask where their orders.

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Well, we’ll as we get ready to wrap things up, I’m always looking to kind of get some actionable advice that we can kind of pull from other existing businesses. And so in your experience, what are some specific businesses that have really been successful with providing just the kind of an awesome customer experience that we can all look at and learn some things from? And what specifically have they done to have an optimal customer experience?

There’s probably one that’s a bit a bit less well known, I suppose, and it’s games, workshop games, workshop. They they sell Warhammer the models that you can build, paint and play games with. OK, pretty big hobby. There are hundreds and hundreds of million pounds worth of business in the UK. Pretty big company here all over the world that OK, I’m involved in the hobby. I had about ten year gap. I’ve come back into it and what I always loved was the fact that you could go into a store and the staff were hobbyists themselves so they wouldn’t sell to you.

You know, obviously they’d then ask you, what if you’re looking for anything in particular? But they would happily talk to you about the son army that you were collecting or the different patents that you might want to use or paintbrushes or and they would happily say, well, maybe you don’t want this. Maybe maybe this would be better for you. But they just really knew what they were talking about because they kind of lived and breathed that they weren’t just they weren’t just there doing a job.

The majority of them are there, actually, because they like the Hobbit they wanted. So they want to work in it. So that was one really good aspect of it, especially as a kid. When I first started, I was about 11 or 12. So going in there, not having a clue what I was doing and just having someone who I see you, the first thing was let’s play a game. Let me show you the game so you can understand the game, how it works, the two different elements that we’ve got here.

And then he chatted through all the different options and I got to where I am, which is spending way, way, way too much money with the Guardsmen. But the other part of their customer experience, which I loved and I don’t know if I do much anymore because there are various logistical reasons why they’ve changed. I think so I’m not too sure they do this anymore. But you basically used to be able to find them up and say, I’m missing this part or or I’ve lost this part or I’ve broken this part and let you say to them in the process of clipping this someone’s arm off the off the plastic screw, I cut my arm and half they would just send you a new one, OK?


And a lot of the time back then, they couldn’t just send you that one arm. They had to send you the whole spring. No good. It was quite open to abuse. You know, you could just say to them, I’ve broken this one part in order to get like half a squat again, like, you know, half the pieces you need. So they just they would just say, OK, don’t worry about it. We’ll we’ll just send that to you.

So we’re ready to go with that and and I think when your business is so Hobbie and community related, because a big part of the hobby is playing the games and so playing across the table from someone, I think they did a really good job there of just keeping people happy, not making too big a fuss of it. And I think also they realized that, you know, if someone had made a mistake. The options are they send you that one spray, which might might cost them a pound or something to produce.

Right. But the alternative is they tell you you’ve got to spend 20 to 30 pounds on the box that you originally bought just to get that one piece back. So they’re willing to kind of say, well, some people abuse it, it costs us a pound saynow, but. Instead of forcing this person to spend on the same box again, we could keep them happy and they’ll buy a different box next time. Exactly, exactly. I think I think they did a really good job that that community saw.

This is very good. Yeah.

Yeah, that’s a great example. I think the good take away from that is even though, like you said, there’s some people that are going to abuse that, a return where they’re just going to eat the cost for that, even though, you know, maybe including some other pieces there, too, people are going to just abuse it. But they’re willing to kind of bite the bullet and eat those costs because they know it’s going to create a great customer experience that will make that customer happy, other customers happy.

And naturally, the word will spread. You know, it just really kind of essential to to look at the big picture. A lot of times businesses are hesitant to spend any additional cost on a customer because, you know, it costs so much to acquire the customer that, you know, they’re looking at their raw numbers. But sometimes I think you do got to kind of look beyond that, even though it may cost you a little bit more.

That may add to your cost to acquiring the customer and keeping the customer in the long term. It really will, I think, benefit you as the business for sure.

It comes down to customer lifetime value, really, if they knew that when you take out the top end people who are spending probably tens of thousands with them, they’re kind of like average lifetime value for a customer customers, probably 500 pounds, maybe, maybe between 500 to 1000 for someone who just kind of maybe played one army, collected one on me, would buy, you know, a decent collection there. So for the cost of a pound to send that one on piece of plastic out there, keeping someone happy, who is going to spend probably at least a couple of hundred more in their lifetime.

So it’s a no brainer, really.

Yeah, it really is. Yeah. Helping to improve that lifetime customer value, because if they if they’re disgruntled, then they’re not happy that they got to buy a whole new kit. They’re going to they may lose interest. And so you got to be mindful of that and then you’re going to lose them as a lifetime customer. Exactly. Well, well, well. It’s been awesome talking to you. I’ve definitely learned a lot. As I say, the customer experience is something that I know a lot of businesses don’t focus on a lot.

They’re focused on driving traffic. But if you don’t improve it, you’re going to definitely pay the price for it. So I definitely think that you’ve helped us with some actual items on that. But what I’d like to do before we let you go is my final closing question, just to switch gears here and so our audience can get to know you a little bit better if you don’t mind sharing one kind of closing fun fact that you think our audience would be interested to know about you, I suppose it’s not so much a fun fact as an interesting one.

I have three metal plates in my cheek.

Oh, up.

OK, from I broke my cheek playing rugby.

OK, ok.

So yeah I’ve got to run my and one to shake time.

I would never have guessed you. No, no you can’t tell. I keep forgetting. And then every now and again an x ray or something that pops up and right. Is like is there anything you want to tell us.

Right. Right. Interesting. Yeah. That’s the interesting fact there. I know you have an experience going through the airport and metal detectors, I can imagine.

Yeah, I mean, fortunately not it’s not been for quite a while but yeah. A couple of years after it happens, it was actually going through American security that tended to be where it was. Sometimes that little buzz right now, like I had said about that.

Great. Great. Well, thank you for sharing that. I appreciate that. And you know, lastly, of course, before we let you go, if any of our listeners want to get a hold of you and pick your brain any more about improving their customers experience, what is the best way for them to get in contact with you?

The best is probably Lechter, so I just will lorenson, you’ll see I’ve got customers in Klick kind of all over my profile, OK, or Twitter, which is Atwal Lawrenson, nice and easy. Yeah. Try to be more active, do more on Twitter site, go. There is a preference but if my preference but yeah. I liked him would be the best place to put are most active.

Oh yeah. That sounds great. Well thank you for sharing that. We appreciate that Will. And of course thank you again for joining us today on the e-commerce marketing podcast.

Thank you for having me. Absolute pleasure. 

Podcast Guest Info

Will Laurenson
Founder of Customers Who Click