The good, the bad and the ugly of online customer experience

Author: Michelle Badenhorst, Head of CX

When it comes to shopping, we all want a pleasant experience coupled with value for money. The CX department at EOH recently made use of an international online clothing supplier to test the experience as a potential consumer.

At first glance, this particular UK website was found to be quite easy and user friendly. The order was placed hassle free and the payment process ran smoothly. However, when the delivery destination was selected, the platform required an additional 20 euros to be paid in order to cover shipping costs. In addition to this, once the items had arrived from their original location, there were clearance charges, duties, and taxes that needed to be paid before they were released. This clause was not stated clearly in the initial purchasing stage which proved to be highly inconvenient as the total extra cost amounted to two thirds of the original price for the items bought.

Forester’s 3 E’s is worth noting here in order to rate this experience:


With this particular experience, the CX department rated effectiveness a 6/10.

This due to the research or awareness stage being fairly effective. The initial goal was achieved but what could have been more effective, for example, was for the website to automatically pick up the location of the purchase and include that cost with the cost of the items instead of creating an additional step. 

Lesson – Organisations should make a concerted effort to know their customers and deliberately design experiences based on customer needs and expectations.


Ease was rated an 8/10.

Some aspects of the experience that were made fairly easy was the communication, feedback and delivery of the items, but some of the additional steps could have been excluded to create more value to the consumer.

Lesson – Many articles are also alluding to the fact that customers don’t mind paying more for an experience if they perceived to have received real value for money. As long as these additional costs are made clear at the outset of the purchase.


With this particular experience, a rollercoaster of emotions was felt due to the additional steps that were not required to be there in the first place.

Lesson – Try to eliminate unnecessary processes when they can be incorporated into quicker and more simple steps.

What can companies do better:

A comprehensive customer experience management (CEM) framework which includes customer journey maps, will ensure companies don’t lose sight of these very important factors and will help them to incorporate empathetic listening, while considering multiple dimensions of the customer journey including emotions, expectations, preferences and behaviour. It is vital for organisations to understand the experience their customers encounter across their journey especially the stages that is not usually included in the organisations value chain.

Customer feedback relating to their experiences at each touch point, regardless of whether it is physical or digital, spanning the customers entire journey, should continuously be considered in an agile environment. Organisations must ensure they acquire and funnel all insights across the value chain, especially from customer services (the after-sales experience), back to product development, starting the chain all over again. This is the only way that organisations will be able to really differentiate themselves.


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