Online Business A-Z

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How to Offer Great Customer Service October 27, 2009

Filed under: customer service,online business — Business Consultant @ 3:54 am
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How can I help you?You’ve sweated blood to get your sales site up and running, you’ve got a prospect at their computer who’s just started your checkout process … and all of a sudden – they’re gone.

What happened?

It could be any number of reasons, so let’s look at some of them here and figure out what we can do to help your visitors complete your checkout and become happy, long-term customers.

For example:

How fast is your checkout process? We’ve got three main factors to consider: your visitor’s patience level, your page-load time and the capacity of your website to provide quality customer service. It’s safest to assume nobody has any patience these days, so cut out as many slow-loading graphics as you can from your checkout pages, and make sure your server’s powerful enough not to crash when a surge of orders comes in. And if it does, make sure you have competent customer service support available on hand. Customer’s needs should be treated with utmost urgency and so considering outsourcing customer support to companies like is highly encourage so as to allow you to focus on the other aspects of your business.

How simple is your checkout? Is the process straightforward, or are your visitors faced with multiple options to choose from … and if so, how can you make it simpler for them? How easy is it to navigate backwards and forwards through your checkout pages? If your visitors want to change the answer to a previous question, can they just skip back a page or two … or do they have to start the whole process over again?

Do you require visitors to register and/or log in before the sale? If so, why? How frustrating do you think they find it to have to input screens and screens of information when all they want to do is hit the “Confirm Purchase” button and start using your product?

And continuing along those lines, how much personal information do you require anyway? If you’re asking for more than the absolute minimum to get the transaction completed, you’re wasting your time – and that of your visitors. And they’ll resent it. Yes, it’s fine to ask for more information once the deal is done and you have their contact details … and if they’re happy with their purchase, they’ll be more inclined to give you more of their personal information, especially if it’s to open an account with you and so speed up future checkouts.

And are you asking for any other information like, say, a marketing survey? Again, this is not the time. Asking before the purchase is completed is asking for trouble, because people want what they’re buying NOW.

And asking immediately after they’ve downloaded your product isn’t going to get you very far, either: your customers have got what they want, they want to check it out right away … and they don’t want any distractions.

However, it’s a great method of re-establishing contact if, after a suitable period of time, you ask your customers if they’re happy with their purchase and then follow up with a marketing survey. In short, speed and simplicity is what your customers are looking for, and so speed and simplicity is what you should be offering. Oh, and a great product too, of course.