Achieving Loyalty Online
Originally featured in 'Customer Experience' on LinkedIn Pulse
If you rely on your website to provide sales revenue or lead generation then you need to remember this;
Achieving customer loyalty online is like maintaining a series of one-night-stands and calling it a relationship. The measure of success is based solely on how good your last performance was. If the customer becomes unsatisfied they move on, no bad feelings.
There’s little opportunity for redemption if your customer’s last visit to your website wasn’t a productive one. The messaging, technological and operational aspects of your business need to work together to ensure your sales goals are met.
There are three hurdles that need to be cleared if you want a customer to complete a transaction with you. Loyalty simply means they return to repeat the process.
Getting their Interest, guiding them through Technology and Delivering on their requirement, or what I call the ITD Principle™ for short is the simple concept you need to apply.
The ITD Principle™
1. "I" Getting Their Interest
Your first priority is to create enough interest through the correct application of messaging and marketing. This is only the first hurdle though, so you have to be mindful that your framework and subsequent content and design strategies have identified exactly who your buyers are, and the tasks they want to perform.
2. "T" Guiding Them Through Technology
Getting people to your website is a major achievement as it means your messaging and marketing strategy has done its job. From this point you need to ensure there are as few barriers as possible to complete their transaction.
Technological barriers are varied and range from hard to access contact details, long winded enquiry forms that ask for their mothers maiden name, to expecting people to ‘register’ and login first before they can either communicate with your or make a purchase.
Another annoyance that is overlooked is listing contact email addresses as plain text and with no link e.g. support ‘at’ mycompany.com.au
I can assure you that your prospective customer is not interested in helping you with junk mail management. Get a decent spam filter and make life easy for your customer, not yourself.
3. "D" Ensuring Delivery
Delivery has nothing to do with the website itself, unless the product or service is web based or requires the customer to download files. Readily available and knowledgeable tech or customer support via email and phone is mandatory.
Delivering goods on time or sooner is an expectation. This means getting your operations in order such as being properly staffed, having sufficient stock inventory and outsourcing a reliable delivery partner if required (couriers etc), to having uncomplicated returns procedures.
If you don’t get these right then the effort and budget required to achieve the first two hurdles are wasted. A good portion of the ‘tech bubble’ failures were a result of a fixation on technology to the detriment of marketing and generating enough interest to completely underestimating the required delivery requirements.
If what happens after a customer clicks the ‘submit’ button is underwhelming, you’ll be leaving money on the table.
© Hamish Chadwick 2015