We’ve all experienced this: trying to make a purchase on a website or in a store and being forced to jump through a seemingly endless series of hoops. It’s frustrating and the normal (unspoken) response is something like “I’m trying to give you my money! Will you please take it and let me get on with my way?!”
Often the frustration becomes too much and you give up on the purchase. Or sometimes, you stick with it, eventually make the purchase but almost certainly resolve to never shop at that store or website again. Regardless of whether you make the purchase or not, it is bad business on the part of the seller. As a consumer, we’ve all been frustrated by this scenario. As a business owner, it’s critical that we’re not putting our customers through anything similar. A primary goal should be to make things as simple as possible for your customers and clients, not just when they’re making a purchase, but for the duration of your relationship. Below are several areas to examine.
1. Your website. Is your site easy to navigate and to use? Does your shopping cart software work properly? Or do you make customers jump through a bunch of extra hoops? Take a good look at your site and make sure it’s convenient, easily understood, and easy to use.
2. Your marketing materials. Do your advertisements and marketing pieces look like a solid wall of text? If so, consider reworking with a goal of making the piece easy to read and easy to understand. Don’t give more information than you need to – stick to the point of your message and don’t over complicate. Don’t make the customer think more than they need to.
3. Your customer service. How long does it take for your customers to get the support they need? If it’s web based support, is it easy to find? And if it’s over the phone, do they have to battle an automated menu and sit on hold for what seems like hours? Customer service is often neglected, in many cases because the mindset is “we already have your money.” I don’t need to tell you how disastrous that attitude is. Whether you’re talking about repeat business or building a positive reputation, your customer service goes a long way. So make it an easy and pleasant experience.
This isn’t a hard concept to grasp, but it is an easy concept to forget about. You’re busy. Running your business is difficult and can be chaotic. But keeping it simple for your customers is a goal you cannot afford to lose sight of, so make it a priority in every element of your operation.