Tag Archives: Potential Customer

Considering the Customer’s Perspective

One of the most difficult things in the world to do is take a look at yourself through a different lens. When we look at ourselves or our businesses, we see the full context of our experience, from startup to present day. We know exactly why everything is the way it is, why certain decisions were made, and are often heavily invested in the method we’ve used to build what we have.

It’s tough to take a step back and look at things from another perspective. Sometimes we’re too close to the company not to take criticism personally. It’s often a business owner’s first instinct to go on the defensive and try to over-explain, or worse, get obviously upset with a customer.

New Perspective

Try looking at things from another angle… like the customer’s point of view.

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

Unfortunately, we must remember that other people are only seeing things from the outside. We’ve had many clients get ruffled over a negative Yelp review, explaining how the reviewer had a skewed experience or is just flat-out wrong. There are a few things to keep in mind in these instances.

An outside perspective can give you new insight. You may immediately bristle at criticism of your business, but it’s vital to pay attention and seriously consider what your customers are saying. Even if you ultimately disagree, remember that they’re seeing things from a different angle, and that angle can be invaluable. They may uncover something that you never see because you’re too close.

Remember that customers have a limited view. Many businesses respond to negative sentiment with explanations, but when you’re online, these exchanges have a very different tone for your customers. Regardless of how polite you are, explanations come off as excuses and any implication that the customer may be wrong will be met with offense. Worse yet, uninvolved parties may feel you’re being confrontational and defensive, and wonder what you’re hiding.

Negative sentiment is a catalyst for change. Instead of trying to explain issues away, always thank customers for their feedback and verbalize the steps you’re taking toward ensuring their negative experience isn’t repeated. Then consider their feedback critically and decide what changes really do need to occur, if any.

Learn which battles are worth fighting. We all know that there are customers that will never be happy no matter what you do. They come into a complaint looking for a fight with their teeth bared. The reasons why this happens are unimportant. What’s important is to remember that when you’re dealing with customers like this publicly or online, you have a silent audience watching in the wings. Keep your head, stay classy, and show that you’re making a true effort to rectify the situation. Even if the initial customer can’t be appeased, other customers will take note of your behavior.

These are some of the many ways you can turn potentially negative criticism into something that makes your business stronger. In addition to customer insights, you may want to ask another outside agency or knowledgeable individual to give their thoughts on how to improve your business. When you hear suggestions, try to consider them with an open mind, even if your first impulse is to reject them. It may be just what you need to reinvent your business!

Stephanie Wargin is the Social Media Strategist at Zenergy Works, a web design and SEO company located in Santa Rosa, California. Her friends like to brush her hair into her eyes whenever she talks about Facebook.

Contact Us Page – Make Customer Contact Easy to Increase Website Conversion

Your Contact Us Page is one of the most important pages on your website. Your Contact Us Page should offer multiple contact options and show that assistance is only a click, phone call, email, chat or personal visit to your store or office away. I know that this is contrary to the conventional wisdom of having a website to avoid having every potential customer contact your team, but a departure from conventional thinking can often be a difference that separates you from your online competition.  Most of the clients that I work with realize increased profits from creating easy access to team members than can answer questions. Most sites place their phone number in the header and have the contact us page linked to the main navigation of the website.  Here are some additional tips on making contact from your website easy.

Contact Us Page

  1.  Add contact us buttons throughout the site.
  2. Create contact us for more information on pricing and other call to action hyperlinks within internal site navigation.
  3. Use different call to action requests on buttons and internal hyperlinks like “Can We Help?”, “Talk to A Representative”, or “Email for a Quick Quote”.
  4. Offer Online Chat on your website.  There are services that man the chat and send leads to you via email or skype.
  5. Include a map and driving directions on your contact us page if you are a local business.  If you are a national firm, consider providing a search for the retailer or office nearest you. Be sure to include your hours of operation for each store and office if you are encouraging in person visits.
  6. Keep your online contact form as brief as possible. The easier it is to give you the information, the more likely that the form will be completed.
  7. Respond as quickly as possible to every online lead and inquiry, Immediate is best, but the quicker the response to an inquiry, the more likely that you will have the first shot at earning that business of the potential customer.

The point is everyone is different. If you don’t have a contact option that works for them, they may skip it, and the sale, too. Sometimes, a contact option is nothing more than security. Having a phone number visible provides the security that someone will be able help them, which makes them feel confident that you’ll also answer your email promptly. To these types, the phone number provides confidence and security.

The more options you provide, the more secure the shopper becomes about your ability to assist them in a time of need.

Bottom Line:  When a website shows a strong commitment to creating customer contact in the method that the customer prefers, the likelihood of starting a conversation with a customer that may lead to a sale is greatly enhanced. Most companies do not have websites that can sell for them, but do not minimize the opportunity to have your website give you the first shot at filling a client’s needs.

Eric Van Cleave is a Partner in Zenergy Works, a Santa Rosa, California based Website Development, SEO and Online Marketing Firm.

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