Well it may seem simple, however if you’ve been shopping online or anywhere else, you’d think that it’s actually impossible. But whether you want to win customers online, or in-person there is only one thing you need to do.
MEET THEIR EXPECTATIONS!
That’s it, that’s all you have to do… Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. But seriously, that’s it.
You’re probably thinking to yourself, that’s dumb, anyone can do that. However, if you think a little bit deeper you might start to ask yourself what all that means… For one, you have to know what your customers expectations are, and then you have to determine if you can meet those expectations or figure out if you need to give them more information so they can refine their expectation.
Set expectations up front.
When you’re writing copy for your website you may be describing a product or a service, but you’re also setting an expectation. You actually start setting the expectation from the SERP. For instance if the SERP title doesn’t match the page title and topic, then that page likely isn’t performing very well because your potential customer expected one thing, then landed on another. Another example is if you’re showing a product image, your customers have an expectation that if they order it, that it would look like the image and that it’s details would match, right?! Same goes if you say your product “ships in 2 weeks”, if it’s two-weeks and one day and your customer hasn’t received a tracking number rest assured you’re going to have a disappointed customer. It’s better to not get the sale, then get the sale and make an angry customer. Let me repeat that, it’s better to not get the sale, than to get the sale and make an angry customer. An upset customer is not good marketing especially now that we live in the world of social media.
Under promise, over deliver
If you’re product has a lead-time or processing time. Express is clearly and ALWAYS give the worst case scenario. Yes, by promising it’ll take a month to deliver you might not get every sale, but if every one of them gets to the customer in 3-weeks, guess how many happy customers you’ll have talking about what a great experience they had, rather twice as many angry customers telling the world how disappointed they are in your company. Wouldn’t you rather have your customers referring new business rather than dissuading potential customers? Not only that, but the cost of customer service for upset customers adds up quickly, someone has to answer those emails and phone calls and get back to the customers, wouldn’t it be best to avoid that in the first place?
The worst thing you can do as a business owner is get defensive when customers express their disappointment. Considering it was up to you to set and manage their expectation if for some reason they’re upset then you’ve failed. Don’t get mad and shoot the messenger though, reflect and see what you can improve on whether that’s changing the messaging on your site, product or service or if it’s smoothing processes or adding communications steps so your customers are aware the moment a problem arises. The minute you start blaming your customers is probably the moment you ask yourself if this is the right job for you.
I often get the impression that I’m a terrible customer, but that’s only when I’m letting their representatives know that the expectations that were set are not being met. Especially now more than ever with shipping delays, supply-chain issues that it’s easy to say “It’s not my fault”, but if you haven’t kept your customer up-to-date and set their expectations appropriately, then it is your fault.
eCommerce Usability Optimization Expert
PNW Native, Outdoor Enthusiast and Overlander.