As I mentioned before, most
of the people who visit your store will
still find the idea of buying online a little strange. You have
to reassure them. The most powerful confidence builder is a
top-quality site: high production values go to work directly on
the visitor's subconscious. But it's also important to reassure
For example, if you are determined to provide great customer service,
tell your visitors so, right on your site.
Guarantee that they
will be satisfied with what they buy from you, or you will refund
their money with no questions asked.
Your site should offer secure online ordering, and
you should say so to visitors.
But If you try ordering online yourself, you'll find the biggest concern
that you have is not security. I bet what
you'll find yourself thinking is, who are these guys?
Did they actually get my order?
Are they going to send me the products? When?
When someone places an order from a Yahoo! store, we always generate
a confirmation page thanking them for their order, and telling them
their order number. That is a good first start, but you as the
merchant should also send them an email thanking them for their
order and telling them when it will arrive.
And make sure that you ship orders quickly. Web users want fast
results. They don't want to hear that they should expect to wait
4-6 weeks for delivery. This is not 1910. Tell them they will
get their order in 3 days.
And make sure they do. The consumers ordering on the Web now
are like the scouts of an oncoming army. They will determine your
reputation for service for years to come. If you do a great job,
they will tell all their friends about you.
Ordering online is still an unusual thing to do, so people who do
it are proud of how adventurous they are. Have you ever listened
to someone talk about ordering online? "It was no big deal," they
say, swelling visibly. "I just went to their Web site, found what
I wanted, and gave them my credit card number. Three days later
the stuff arrived. No problem."
People love to be able to tell such stories to their friends. It's
the most valuable kind of free advertising for you. So make sure
that your customers have good stories to tell. If you do a bad
job, your customers will also tell all their friends, and you will
be in big trouble. Word spreads very quickly on the Internet.
Especially this year, treat your Web customers as if each one were
as important as ten customers. Because if you treat them well,
each one will turn into ten customers.
Do you want to hear what your customers have to say about your Web
site or your products? You should. Tell them that you want to
hear from them, and put a prominent email link and/or phone number
in your site. Try including a link that will let visitors send
email directly to the president of your company. Few will bother
to send mail, but everyone who sees it will be impressed by your
attention to customer service.
When a customer does send you mail, respond promptly! Customers
who have taken the trouble to send you email are like gold. Talk
about qualified prospects. So treat them like gold. If you can,
make it a corporate policy to respond to email within an hour or
two at most. You have to reply eventually, so why not do it right
away? Customers will be delighted to see that you care about them.
Text copyright © 1999 Paul Graham. Feel free to reproduce any of this text on your own Web site, so long as you reproduce it verbatim, and include this message. For any other use, please contact the author. Yahoo! and Yahoo! Store are trademarks of Yahoo! Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.