The E-Commerce Column

5 Things Your Customer Thinks (That You Never Hear)

5 things your customer thinks (that you never hear)

Whether you do business online, offline, or a combination of both, your customer is always forming an opinion of you. From first impressions to completed orders, your customer’s impression of your company does more to reinforce your brand than any amount of advertising. But what are they really thinking? And how can changing your customer’s perception improve your bottom line? Let’s take a closer look:

What Do I Do If I Have Questions?

Live Chat: How can we help you?

Most businesses employ a contact form at the very least to receive inquiries. Some even go so far as to have customers submit a support ticket or call a toll-free number. But oftentimes, especially in the pre-sales stage, customers are very reluctant to give out their personal information. Essentially, you haven’t demonstrated the kind of attention, service and value to them that enable them to trust you.

Even if they’re a repeat purchaser, being able to ask a simple question via live chat or being assigned a personal representative on the phone (whose extension they can call at any time) can have a measurable effect on proving that you value their business and will go beyond the stale, bland contact form or all-encompassing toll-free number to ensure they have the solutions they need.

Is This Mailing List Really Worth It?

Email Newsletter

For many web-based businesses, or retail stores with an online counterpart, the money is in the list. But many potential customers and returning customers alike are already subscribed to countless lists and bombarded with innumerable offers as it is.

Yours is not the first to offer them coupons, trends or news – so go beyond the typical mailing list call-to-action by showing value first. Put up a sample of your newsletter, get customers to talk about the deals they’ve gotten from it or how much they love the personalized advice or the recommendations. Prove that your mailing list is worth subscribing and paying attention to – and not just for the deals and sales announcements.

Concerns about Service After the Sale

If your customer has just purchased from you, it’s likely that they’ve arrived at a “thank you” page, or that you’ve just handed them their receipt and told them to have a nice day. This is the kind of after-sales service we all expect. But if something goes wrong, what’s the next step? That kind of anticipation leads to many abandoned shopping carts.

Thank you message

Here again, you’re not anticipating any problems, but should they happen, the customer knows exactly where to go and what actions to take on their end to resolve things. One example of this is stating your refund / return / exchange policy directly on your site or by your checkout. This makes it clear and convenient to the customer to take the next step – backed by the confidence that your business is true to its word.

Your Call is Very Important to Us

Hello. My name is Peggy.

It’s the age-old “greeting” when calling for support. It’s also highly likely that your customer is thinking “if my call were truly important, you’d answer it much quicker and not direct me halfway around the world in the process.” This is often followed by “Please hold for the next available representative”. Of course, when faced with a potentially high call volume despite your best efforts, show the customer that their time is just as valuable, by letting them know what number they are in line, or by letting them leave a voicemail or call-back number.

More insult is added to injury in this typical customer service fail when an automated service recommends visiting the website (which recommends that you call the support number) creating a never ending loop.

Less Technology, More Convenience

And right up there with voice mail hell is the use of too much technology – particularly technology that takes over the things that people used to do. How many times have you called a customer service number and been forced to download an app or walk through a “self service” system, when all you really want is to talk to a human being?

The Bottom Line on Customers and Your Bottom Line

Your customer wants what any rational person wants when doing business – to be valued, understood and welcomed. They want to know that a business sees them as a person rather than an account number (or a wallet) and is taking measurable steps to remedy their issues to their complete satisfaction. Technology and call-routing should be used as a vehicle toward achieving this – not as a replacement for it.

Think of it this way – your customer has already done a great deal of decision-making and comparison shopping to arrive at this point. Would you throw all of that away for the sake of a more streamlined resolution process that just presents more hoops for them to jump through? No serious business would, which is why those that do, often get the lion’s share of complaints.

By knowing what your customers truly think, you’ll be able to meet service challenges head-on, further proving that your own company is pro-active about doing the job right, no matter what you sell.

About the Author

Will StrohlWill Strohl

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