You really can’t please all the people all the time … and you’ll go crazy if you try. But if you can avoid some of the most common customer relations mistakes, you’ll be 95% ahead of the competition. Here are eight common things that could be keeping your customer from completing a purchase.
1. Cluttered and Confusing Website
In business, you obviously can’t control everything, but you can control the content on your website. Don’t clutter up your pages with unnecessary information or links that really aren’t important. Keep it simple and streamlined. Offer a search option if you can; it’s especially important if you offer many products. A good rule of thumb – it shouldn’t take more than three clicks for a customer to find what they’re looking for.
2. Checkout Takes Too Long
Whether in-store or online, strive to make the checkout process as quick and distraction-free as possible. People just don’t like to wait. The longer it takes to complete checkout, the more likely you are to lose your customer. Buyer’s remorse can settle in during the checkout phase, so your goal is to get the sale completed quickly.
3. Fear of Fraud
We’ve all heard horror stories of identity theft. Many people are reluctant to purchase items online because they don’t want to be taken advantage of, or they fear having their personal information compromised. Whether your business is strictly e-commerce or a traditional storefront, go that extra mile to assure your customers that you respect their privacy. Do everything possible to keep their personal information secure.
4. Additional Costs and Fees
Taxes, shipping, handling fees … they can add up and make the purchase prohibitively expensive for the customer. We know that taxes are unavoidable. However, do your best to keep all other costs reasonable. If your added costs are larger than usual, take the time to explain it to your customer (example: large items like bikes & TV’s requiring higher shipping costs). Think twice before adding in other fees, like extended-mileage delivery fees or haul-away fees.
Distractions are everywhere. It could be a link on your website that sends your buyers off-site, or it could be poor lighting or loud music in your store. Taking a good look around and making notes of any possible distractions should be high on your priority list. You want to keep your customer focused on your product.
6. Poor Customer Service
Unanswered emails, confusing automated phone menus … we’ve all experienced them. How many of us have wandered aimlessly around a store trying to find a sales clerk? How about waiting hours for the repair technician who never shows? Poor customer service has become so commonplace that customers almost expect some sort of customer service problem. Make your customer service as excellent as possible, and you’ll stand out – in a good way.
7. Uncertain Policies
Nobody wants to get ripped off. Like it or not, the thought is probably on your customer’s mind, especially if they’ve never purchased from you before. Your customers want to know the intimate details of your return policies. Do you offer exchanges, and if so, will you charge a restocking fee? Spell everything out for your customer before they buy. The best way to keep them happy and coming back for more is to offer a guarantee that completely puts their mind at ease.
We live in a fast paced, instant gratification society. If you fail to recognize this, you may see your profits walk right out the door and straight into your competitor’s pocket. Like it or not, the convenience factor does play a role in attracting and keeping your customers. What makes shopping with you more convenient than shopping with the competition? Does your store hold reasonable operating hours? Do you have a basic website where customers can find information after hours? Can you be easily contacted if there is a problem?
Little extras such as keeping shelves stocked neatly can make a big difference. Having your store nicely organized and making items easier to find are small things you can do to help your customers make the most of their time in your store. Think about those “little things” that help add up bigger profits.
We know that hindsight is always 20-20. The trick is getting it as close to perfect, right from the beginning. Keep these potential pitfalls in mind, and you’re well on your way to eliminating frustrated customers.