How to Improve the Customer Experience: CX Tips from Amazon’s Darren Krape

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Are you losing potential customers because of bad user experience?

You can have the greatest product ever, but if the user experience is poor, you’ll lose out on sales. 

To help you know how to improve the customer experience on your site, I interviewed an expert on the matter, Darren Krape, Senior UX Designer at Amazon.

I meet Darren when I led a seminar on Digital Diplomacy at the Dept. of State and he was a guest speaker. He had played a critical role in assisting the US Embassy in Cairo with digital communications and is an expert on social media and the Arab Spring.

Darren Krape presenting to senior Foreign Service Officers in my 2-Day Digital Diplomacy Seminar at the Foreign Service Institute just outside DC.

But now, he works on user experience design at Amazon. 

In a world where there’s no data like more data, Amazon is an e-commerce gold standard, having optimized their user experience against terabytes of data about how people use their site.

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

At Amazon, the CX team certainly knows that, in order to pull in more sales, you need not only good marketing, but a rock-solid user interface, and ease-of-use.

As you dig more into your conversion funnel, it becomes clear that UX is the customer journey. It is where branding, design, usability, and function come together or collide.

So, before you launch a product, test. Test different versions of the same page and see which one converts better. Swap out calls to action text, buttons colors, images, and headlines. 

“If you have a user test with 5 or 6 people and 3 of them struggle with it, it’s pretty clear evidence that that particular thing needs to be fixed,” said Darren.

Narrow down what is or is not an issue in the customer journey. 

There are many reasons people will choose one product over another. But if your potential customers are consistently going to the competition, it may be time to learn how to improve the customer experience by decreasing any friction in the buyer journey.

How to improve your customer experience

Creating the least amount of friction as possible at each stage of the marketing funnel is the secret to a seamless customer journey. It’s about breaking the process down into a bunch of micro conversions.

“For example, the less information you collect during the sign-on or purchase process, the better. Any additional bit of information is additional friction to the user,” Darren pointed out.

  • When trying to get sign-ups, make it easy. All they really need is an email address.
  • If you’re offering a free demo or trial, don’t ask for credit card information upfront. Nothing kills a freemium model quicker than requiring a credit card to sign up. You don’t need a credit card to try Zoom or Slack. B2B growth marketing is about getting customer trials. 

“The incredible power of free is a valuable tool for distribution and virality,” writes Reid Hoffman in his book Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies.

Once they’re in your system, you can nurture them through email cadences and work to onboard them. 

In the early stages of Amazon, one friction point was shipping times. 

“I don’t want to have to wait 7 days for my thing when I can just go down to the local store and get it in 20 minutes,” said Darren.

After they realized it was a key purchase consideration factor, Amazon reduced their shipping time to the now-famous two-day and single-day shipping we all know and love.

If you can transform a friction point into a selling point, that’s a digital marketing transformation.

In CX, Friction is the Enemy 

And, when in doubt, verify by asking your customer!

Because what you think could be a friction point may not even be on their mind.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your customers and learn first hand how to improve your customer experience

This is such an important step of successful marketing that one of the first things I do when working with a brand is analyze the data.

Too many digital marketing consultants go to social media before they’ve examined the data. Until you can distinguish between what’s working for you and what’s not, why would you pick a media channel to optimize?

I take an owned media-first approach and optimize all these factors before advancing to shared media.

The goal is to discover and iron out the friction points, creating a digital marketing plan that helps get them closer to their sales objectives. And it’s about optimizing the path to purchase before you focus on driving traffic, so you’re in a position to covert awareness into consideration, evaluation, and transactions.

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