Any store’s success can be attributed to their customers. Which is why the saying ‘the customer is always right’ is so integral to the running of any business. Working with your customers rather than against them can mean going above and beyond and fulfilling requests that are outside your usual boundaries. But by making these exceptions and taking the extra time and effort will go a long way to ensure customer satisfaction and return.
Just because your store operates online, or have an additional online platform, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have the same level of customer care and interaction.
Every store should have an online presence, even if it’s just on social media. And an ecommerce store can be hugely advantageous to your sales. People want things to be convenient and at their fingertips whenever they want. Going shopping is great, but when you decide that you need an inflatable shark at 3am, where else would you go to order that than Amazon?
Create A Welcoming Website
Just as you would with a physical store, you want your customers to feel welcome on your online site. And where in a physical store you would do this with a welcoming atmosphere and helpful staff, you need to mimic those things in a way that translates to a website. An easy to navigate site allows visitors to use the site with ease, the same way they would browse a well laid out store. Keep the site design similar and cohesive with any other online and physical presences you have, that way things feel familiar, and your customers feel at home. An up to date site can also help your customers to feel comfortable, as they will be less buffering time and a relevance to other modern sites that they visit.
Including a frequently asked questions page allows your customer to get help whenever they need. It might not cover everything, but it will cut out the middleman for a lot of situations. If someone is having a problem then they want to get it sorted straight away, and that normally doesn’t include being on hold to customer services.
You can make this page as extensive as you want, but hitting the main points while keeping things simple is key. Try a layered process, where topics lead to particular questions. That way you can address a host of questions without creating giant lists for people to comb through. Check out these examples of the most common FAQs to give you a head start; http://fustany.com/en/lifestyle/living/the-most-common-online-shopping-faqs-to-make-your-life-easier.
Customer Service People
On top of your FAQs you do need to have real humans behind the site to deal with inquiries. It’s up to you whether you stick with a phone number, or you offer an additional instant message service.
The same applies for whether you want to have a 24 hour line or not. Sometimes dealing with a computer isn’t good enough and the situation calls for human interaction. And a lot of people feel better talking to someone about an issue or complaint, as it feels like the problem isn’t going to just get lost in hyperspace.
Making Checkout Secure
When you shop in a physical store, you have full control over your credit card details. Where when you buy online you are typing in vital information. So, as the store owner, you need to do everything you can to make the checkout process safe and secure and to relate that to your customers. You can use a customer identification software from jumio.com/trusted-identity/netverify to make sure that the person who owns the card is the person entering in the details. You can also link to banks to create a firewall checking system, which alerts the bank to unusual spending activity on the card.
When you send out those important email blasts, make sure that they are personalized to the customer. It’s not much, but reading “Dear Sharon” over ”Dear Customer” is going to be a lot nicer, and more intriguing.
You can also utilize cookies and market research to pinpoint which customers are going to be more interested in a sale on walking boots and who really wouldn’t care less.
Personalizing your interaction creates that familiar feeling again, although it might be a subconscious reaction, people are more likely to feel friendly towards seeing their own name being used over a general term.
In conclusion, just because your customers are behind a computer screen rather than in a physical store doesn’t mean that you can ignore their needs or assume that they will be able to complete their purchase without issue. Always put your customer first and you’ll see loyalty to your website and repeat sales.