Your online process can cost you customers, if it ignores our natural emotions.

Here are 5 tips to help you improve your processes and keep your customers.

After what I can only imagine was hundreds of hours in the planning and thousands of pounds spent marketing, I abandoned the basket at the checkout – because the process ignored my needs, wants and most importantly my emotions.

My most recent abandoned basket began when I accepted an invitation to review my bank accounts at my local branch – “it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes” – it took almost an hour, involved me watching an online video, signing to say I’d watched it and being offered endless complimentary associated services. The majority I didn’t need want or already had, but I did leave with a better interest rate and a discount diner’s card (which is still unused).

Tip #1 – make sure 15 minutes is 15 minutes, and remember it’s not all about you.

Three weeks later my welcome pack, account activation code and discount diner’s card landed on my door mat along with a cash voucher off a case of wine, complements of the diner’s card.

Now I enjoy wine, I’m even a life member of a wine club, though rather lapsed – they keep contacting me to see if I’m alive; but the thought of a case of glug-gable red meant the voucher avoided the bin and was added to the nice-to-do pile. It resurfaced sometime later and with a fast approaching expiry date and a few minutes to spare, I was soon shopping.

Tip #2 – if you are trying to attract new customers to your site, avoid making it appear a cliquey club, with member only offers, explained in member terminology and a confusing site map.

All I wanted was a pick, pay and away experience but was struggling to simply mix a case of my preferred reds… and boredom was setting in. So I picked an offer case, which less my voucher was a steal … or should have been. Completed all the forms: name, address, email, delivery instructions if I’m out, voucher code, credit card details, tick boxes on shipping options, other product and service offers etcetera, etcetera, AND was only then allowed to checkout, where my screen told me that it was out of stock!

Tip #3 – if it’s not in stock, take it down, do not show it and certainly do not continue to promote it.

At this point live chat caught my eye and this was becoming a bit of a crusade. I received an apology from James my service support assistant, assurances that this type of thing was very rare and that he could help me find what I was looking for. I was offered an alternative case at a higher price, then wines that were too heavy (to glug), then another case if I joined the club, then a case that I’d have to register and wait for etcetera etcetera.

Tip #4 – live chat is to help customers find what they want – not an opportunity to sell them some they don’t want.

During our cyber chat, I began the whole process again for a second once in a life time case offer, only to find that it too was out of stock. At which point I typed my thanks to James, informed him that the voucher was now in the bin, and having wasted over half an hour, that I would not be returning.

The following morning, I received an automated email from the wine company telling me that I still had two cases in my basket and if I clicked the link they would be despatch immediately – in fact both were still out of stock (I said it was a crusade). I continued to receive emails about my abandoned cases and offers to return, for weeks before I bothered to open one, scroll to the small print and unsubscribe, and I’m still receiving them !

Tip #5 – ensure your communication content reflects the actual status of the transaction, I wasn’t just another abandoned basket, I had left never to return!

Since 2013 I have been helping ambitious SMEs with their Strategic and Leadership challenges.

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Posted in communication, Digital Marketing, Engagement, Marketing, process improvement, Social Media
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