Customer Experience in Sending Flowers Using E-commerce Portals

Lotus Tech Blog - Customer Experience

In recent years, India has seen the rise of many e-commerce portals that promise to deliver flowers in the major cities in India. Some of them are from established stores, and others are aggregators of florists or distributors of orders. Being a staunch supporter of digital, I tried to send flowers through two such portals. I couldn’t. But gained insights into customer experience, or rather the lack of it through the pain points.

Sending or Receiving Flowers: In “Customer Experience” Customer Remains Sans Experience.

When we book a bouquet using a portal, it is mostly because either we want to greet the person in our absence or want to surprise that person. And all the websites I checked were asking for the recipient’s mobile number in their booking forms. This kills the joy of opening the door to find a statement in petals waiting. We can certainly do a lot better to up the user experience, or recipient experience rather.

A few of the e-commerce portals have help desks. I called the help desk of a portal, that also has a string of stores, to check if they could book an order without asking for a mobile number. The desk said ‘not possible’ and asked me to check with the brand’s store close by.

When I asked the help desk why I should provide a phone number when I mentioned the address, the desk said sometimes delivery could be a challenge as they door might be locked. So, the delivery boys always contact the recipient on the phone. Fair enough. But isn’t there a way to work around this challenge? Also, why should I give a mobile number for a midnight delivery? Surely people are home. And how about delivering to a corporate office? They publicize only their landline numbers, rarely their mobile numbers. How should a customer book a bouquet in this case? And how about delivering flowers to someone who is always on the go?

The conversation also taught me that the online portal and the chain of shops of the florist are two different lines of business and don’t work in tandem. I didn’t know whether that was the truth, but I hung up with a feeling of being short-changed. Because I am one of the customers, who see the brand name on the portal and in the neighborhood and assumes them to work seamlessly. Or is the brand leveraging its brand name, built originally with multiple stores, for its online portal while denying the benefits of a chain of shops with an online presence that attracts more conversions? Or are the margins not enough?

My point is simple. No matter who we are, where we live, and what we speak and eat, receiving a bouquet is a beautiful and touching experience. We should not dilute this experience. Everything else is a detail and should be worked through. Period.

Can we use geo-tagging? That helps us locate the person and deliver no matter where she is.

What Kind: Bouquet or an Arrangement?

Some people want to send bouquets, and others want standing arrangements, depending on the occasion and the recipient. Let’s assume that you want to send a bouquet to one of your customers. Will you book a bouquet or a floral arrangement? I feel bouquets are more appropriate for in-person greetings, but arrangements are better when you are sending flowers.

All portals have a huge collection of bouquets but only some arrangements that stand vertically or horizontally. Many photographs are without size. And many pixellate. Or the selection forms don’t show sizes or dimensions. Now, how do I choose?

Colors: What Color is Your Occasion?

Colour of flowers is the most important ingredient of an arrangement. But many websites say that they will replace the flowers if the flowers shown in the photographs are not available. But I haven’t come across a single website that assures that they would take care of the color when replacing seasonal flowers with other flowers.

Also, I didn’t see good color play in the low-end offerings. I believe people with all budgets deserve great floral statements.

Craftsmen: Trained Hand or None?

What elevates a floral arrangement is the interplay of flowers, foliage, colors, space, geometry, and accents.

Not many arrangements show the hand of a trained florist. In fact, a person trained in floral arrangements can create beautiful, graceful, and enigmatic statements without using too many flowers or material. And buyers don’t have to be connoisseurs of flowers to recognize something that is simple yet powerful.

A trained florist can dramatically bring down the cost of an arrangement thereby increasing the conversions on the e-commerce portal.

Any florist listening?

What I See is Not What I Get.

Let’s agree that flowers are a highly visual experience for all of us. Some portal allows me to pick up a vase as an upgrade but doesn’t show me how the arrangement looks like on adding the vase. Isn’t that less than perfect?

If I finally get to book a bouquet, I never get to see how it looks like at the time of delivery. This is the easiest to accomplish. Take a photo, with the recipient if possible, on delivery and send it with the delivery note to the customer. It is that simple, indeed.

What Should We Do?

I remember William Blake, the 18th century poet: “No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”

Let’s meet to how we can together deliver the best customer experience to an e-commerce customer. Call us at +91-7032727333 or write to us at sales@lotustech.online.

— By Surya Prabha Vallae

 

Digital Transformation of SMBs in India – Part I: What is Digital Transformation

Lotus Tech-The Content Lab-Understanding Digital Transformation Part 1

Executive Summary: SMBs in India are poised for an explosive growth through digital transformation. This article, part one of a two part series, discusses digital transformation of SMBs in India.

Reading Time: 3 min.

India’s small and medium enterprises (SMBs), also known as Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), have a great story to tell. Here are some statistics*:

  • 51 million units
  • SMBs command
    • 7 Cr employment
    • 14 L Cr assets
    • 5% CAGR
    • 496,000 Cr exports
    • 5% of GDP (2012-13**)
      • 7% of manufacturing GDP
      • 5% of services GDP

 

* Annual Report 2016-2017, Ministry Micro, Semi, and Medium Enterprises.

** Contribution of MSME in the economy, Press Release by Ministry Micro, Semi, and Medium Enterprises

A KPMG report, based on a study by KPMG in India and Google, titled “Impact of internet and digitization on SMBs in India” (January 2017) reveals a huge gap in technology adoption and a mega opportunity:

  • Number of Indian SMBs that are completely offline: 68%
  • Number of Indian SMBs actively promoting their businesses online: 2%

And it is also a widely published fact that Indian SMBs can add $1 trillion by 2020 to the Indian economy by going digital. While this is a huge opportunity for the SMBs themselves, the service providers who help the SMBs make the transition are set to gain as well. And this blog attempts to understand this opportunity and the role of content in two parts:

  • Part I: What is Digital Transformation
  • Part II: The Role of Content in Digital Transformation

What is Digital Transformation?

What was once bought from a shop near home is now bought from an online vendor. That is, customer behavior has changed. And the whole nation is going through this shift in behavior. And this is what digital transformation is:

The definite shift of customer behavior towards digital and a business’s response to let the customer interact and transact with the business digitally no matter where the customer is or when.

In a digitally transformed enterprise, the business’s ecosystem made up of prospects, customers, partners, vendors, government, and so on interacts and transacts with the business digitally.

Is There a Metric to Measure the Success of Digital Transformation?

Yes. There is. It is Customer Experience.

Examples from the Fitness and Ecommerce Spaces

The other day, I was wondering if one of the most personalized fields such as fitness training could be sold and consumed online. I searched and found some offerings. I promptly clicked a link and watched a short YouTube video about how to use the online fitness training service. Sadly though, I failed to understand how their offering was different from watching a fitness trainer on a 7.00 AM TV show.

That made me recall my earlier experience with a particular yoga posture. The challenge for me was that the trainer would move her limbs in sync with the narration in the background. But since I didn’t know what was coming up next, I had to replay the video several times to understand what the trainer was doing. This experience leads to a frustrating start. And I am sure many would give up.

At another time and place, I tried to buy an address book from an ecommerce portal. It took me to the global shop, and I was asked to upload an ID proof. I don’t quite understand why I should upload an ID proof to purchase a mundane item made of paper. I can understand a cautious approach when the item being bought has many uses and can be a possible security threat. But why this process for a book?

There are two key challenges here:

Teaching fitness or any motor skill online has to be different from the way it is taught in the real world. In a gym or classroom, there are many visual cues and motivating factors. Crafting them into digital learning needs a close look at psychology, user experience, and how people learn in real life.

If a business can’t tell a prospect very quickly how it can make a difference, or makes it difficult to buy online, the customer is lost. In the digital world, the customer comes to the business. The business doesn’t go to him. (This is true even if the business does digital marketing. The prospect clicks a link in the ad to access the business.) So, if you can’t impress him the very first time he is visiting your website, he will be gone, and retargeting may not be easy, or worse still, may not work. (At another level, isn’t it good to spend minimal money on retargeting?)

Now, step back and take a look at these key challenges. They are not specific to that business but are a matter of customer experience offered by any business. Hence my conclusion that customer experience is the litmus test for determining the transformation of a business into a digital business.

We Can Help

To know more about how we can support your digital transformation through content, please write to us at sales@lotustech.online or call us at +91-7032727333.

How to Collect, Organize, and Present Testimonials on Your Website

Lotus Tech - The Content Lab - How to Collect, Organize, and Present Testimonials

Executive Summary: A website has only 2 sections — what the business has to say about itself, and what the customers have to say about the business, that is testimonials. This article attempts to give a perspective into how to present testimonials in step with your service offerings.

Reading Time: 2 Min.

A website is for customers, and the testimonials speak louder than what the entire website has to say about the business. So, if you have a website designed for your business, this is how you may go about collecting, organizing, and presenting testimonials.

Testimonials, Your Service (or Product) Offerings, and Organization

Businesses make many service (or product) offerings but present only the most important services on the website. Therefore, you must first decide what service offerings you would like to present on the website.

For each service offering, choose the marquee clients you would like to showcase on your website. This exercise has to be done with care because, as a business, you would like to be showcased as a business that successfully executes complex projects or cutting-edge projects, or as a business capable of delivering such projects. And if your clients don’t belong to that area of business, or if the testimonial does not state or hint at your capabilities, the testimonial does not help enough.

When your service offerings are specific to industry sectors, make it a point to collect a couple of testimonials from customers belonging to each segment.

Content of a Testimonial

The content can include:

  • Range of services used
  • Differentiators
  • Ease of doing business with you
  • Value added to the customer’s offering
  • The wow factor in the service
  • The reviewer’s name, designation, and company.

Content Format of a Testimonial

The more visual, the better. If it can’t be visual and is only made up of text, help the reader scan and get the gist quickly. More importantly, help the reader decide if reading the review is useful even before she starts reading it.

Collection

The sooner, the better. Collect it soon after the service is rendered or product is purchased. Sometimes, customers may need guidance in writing a testimonial. Help them write the content.

You may even think of setting up a process to collect testimonials.

Presentation

Sliders and testimonial pages are the most common areas to find the testimonials. However, the best use is when you display it at the point where a customer makes a decision. Therefore, using them on the landing pages, above the fold, is crucial for conversion.

To know more about how reviews can help your business, visit PowerReviews.

Our Experience

Sometimes, customers, mostly from the B2C segment, ask us to pick up the customer reviews from the Facebook pages or Google Reviews. Often, this does not work for a couple of reasons. The customers who give a review often are not explicit. They simply award star ratings and write that the services were great. Since such reviews don’t include the specifics mentioned in the Content of a Testimonial section above, visitors to your website may not find the reviews very useful. Sometimes, an outside agency like us cannot view all the testimonials on your Facebook page unless you grant us permissions.

In the B2B segment, often the testimonial collection is the most neglected aspect. As a result, the service renderer often misses what created the wow factor. Also, many business owners need hand-holding in writing the testimonials. We have noticed that both cultural and language proficiency challenges are at play here. If your customer is not comfortable writing a testimonial in English, you may think of doing a video with him in the vernacular language. Even a testimonial shot using a good quality camera phone will do. What matters is your client’s endorsement. Everything else is secondary. If bandwidth is a concern, you can opt for a voice recording. (While recording, ask the customer to state his name, designation, and company. This will improve the credibility factor greatly.)

Need Help with Testimonials?

We routinely help our customers in compiling testimonials that are treasure-worthy. Here is a testimonial from our customer about our skills in drafting testimonials.

If you need help with testimonials, write to us at sales@lotustech.online or talk to us at +91-7032727333.

 

Mindful Editing for Creating a Great Customer Experience

Lotus Tech Blog-Mindful Editing for Customer Experience

Executive Summary: Editing has a great role to play in customer experience. Hence, it should be mindful.

Reading Time: <1 minute.

A few days ago, I was attempting to learn a breathing pattern in yoga from an online video.

As per the video, I was supposed to chant a sound repeatedly while breathing out. However, after voicing the sound, before I could go to the next utterance, the trainer was already into the second utterance. I was perplexed as to how he could breathe in so fast that he could go on to the next utterance.

After some attention to the video and the technique, I reasoned out that probably… probably…the pause between 2 breaths was too long in the original video and was edited out for keeping the video length short and the content sharp.

I understood, first hand, 2 things:

  • The need for retaining all that is relevant rather than all that is voice or image in a video.
  • Silence is content too.

— By Surya Vallae