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The Easiest way to Keep a Customer

May 8, 2006

When we get our feet wet in the Internet Marketing process, we typically seek out traffic to our site. After some time we realize that traffic that does not convert is worse than no traffic at all, because we know that we missed opportunities to make sales. After we realize how difficult and time-consuming it is to convert a customer, we then discover the hidden gem of internet marketing.<code style=’display: none;’><!–more–></code><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–>I came across an interesting survey from Tim Cohn that showed top reasons why customers leave our business:<!–mep-nl–><ul><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-tab–><li>Move or Die 4% </li><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-tab–><li>Other Company Friendship 5% </li><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-tab–><li>Competition 9% </li><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-tab–><li>Product Dissatisfaction 15% </li><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-tab–><li><strong>No Customer Contact Strategy 67%</strong> </li><!–mep-nl–></ul><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–>There we are… even with the insane volume of competition over the Internet, the primary reason customers leave us is that we do not have a successful customer contact strategy (ensuring customer satisfaction and communication).<!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–>Customer satisfaction gets people talking about our brand in a positive manner. Some Search Engine Marketers get waylaid by algorithms that they forget that we are running a business. If we are to have long-term success instead of one-off sales that chase rainbows we need to respond to the customer by being:<!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–><ul><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-tab–><li>Prompt</li><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-tab–><li>Respectful</li><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-tab–><li>Helpful</li><!–mep-nl–></ul><!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–><h3>Prompt Response to the Customer</h3><!–mep-nl–>The Internet spoils us with immediate gratification. The upside is that we have information at our fingertips from around the globe. The downside for the business owner is that there is an information glut – the user may think our site is the best thing since sliced bread, but if we do not find a way to extend the conversation with them past the few seconds or minutes on our site, we will likely never see them again.<!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–>I try returning correspondence within 24 hours. If we find ourselves answering the same questions repeatedly, set up a FAQ section on our site, and link to it from the contact form. You could even list the top few questions directly above the contact form to catch the potential customer’s eyes.<!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–>If we can not get to our customers in at least 48 hours, then it is time to consider hiring help. If we can’t afford help, we can utilize our spouse ; ) or figure out why we are that busy but aren’t making any money.<!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–><h3>Respect the Customer</h3><!–mep-nl–><em>”Even if they’re an idiot?”</em> Especially if they are an idiot! Idiots tend to be louder when talking about a dissatisfying experience – just watch Rikki Lake. If I read someone’s comments over the Internet, I am missing all the nonverbal communication that may prove them to be a liar or a complete boob. Unless they write “crazy,” I may think their comments about “X” company are justified.<!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–>If you want to see an excellent example of a true test of patience with a difficult “customer”, check out Search Engine Optimization Consultant <a href=””>Aaron Wall’s blog</a> where he posts the transcription of a live chat with a visitor to his site.<!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–><h3>Help the Customer</h3><!–mep-nl–>We are all looking for something on the Internet. If you can help me find the correct information in a timely manner, I’ll be back – I guarantee it. Most of the websites on the Internet have mediocre content arranged in a haphazard fashion. If part of our USP is that we provide timely, respectful, useful help to our customer we will eventually build a groundswell of support.<!–mep-nl–><!–mep-nl–>We can then apply our knowledge of conversion and traffic building to take our business to the next level.

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