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How Online Has Changed the Customer Experience

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Over the years, we’ve all grown quite attached to our Internet. We can’t help but use it to find info, connect with friends, or to buy more stuff. You know the phrase “shop in your underwear” rings quite true. So while we move away from heading over to the store and move forward to buying it online, online retailers and companies are finding the importance of creating a comfortable online user experience for their consumers.

Online Consumers Shop Differently Now & Forever More

We all know that the web has become an instant gratification hub. We are so used to firing up Google, reading reviews on Yelp, or asking friends on Facebook for their feedback. Everything is at our fingertips, and we’ve become saavy enough to find pretty much anything we want. And while good ol’ word of mouth has always been part of the equation, the research and buying process has become quite snappy. As consumers, we’ve become spoiled rotten. We’ve got these ideas of what our experience should be like: fun, easy, flowing, visually appealing, and even segmented or customized to our direct needs. It’s no longer just about who’s offering the best product, but who’s offering it the easiest.

A Window into Customer Service

It goes beyond that, however. The customer experience is more than just the interactions that happen at checkout. Now we expect our favorite companies to be present online so we have a direct line should something go awry in any portion of the buying or experiential process (think @comcastcares).

It’s more than just just a tweet.

On the flip side, companies need to do more than just have an easy purchase process or a Twitter account for customer service questions. They’ve got to bring it all together and close that loop: integrate everything from their brick and mortar locations, ad messages, online presence, social network engagement, purchase process, and even post-purchase experiences. And as ad folk, we are continually learning the importance of helping these companies bring that brand experience full circle.

The Future of UX

Needless to say, focusing on creating a substantial online experience is the future. Company sites are going to become more personalized to your interests, needs, and desires. Even more so, companies should focus on creating an interactive experience that encourages sharing, reviews, and feedback. Consumers are already apt to share the things they love with friends and family, so making that an easy option will only encourage interaction with a brand message. To boot, consumers are continually inundated with online options, so companies that create a great user experience are going to have the upper hand amidst heavy competition. And frankly, to stay afloat, there is no other option than to create just that.

How have you seen the customer experience change? What about it excites or frightens you?

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