It may sound bizarre to suggest that you need to make your online business feel “human”, but there are many reasons for this. It is all good and well trawling the Internet late at night for the best deals and the best offers, but without help pages, contact details and reviews, how do you know who you are dealing with?
Some people may be happy dealing with an automated online website but what happens if something goes wrong? What happens if you need assistance? Do you know who you are dealing with?
Make your business stand out
Many potential customers prefer an automated service with no human contact which is available 24 hours a day seven days a week. These are customers who know what they want, have experience with purchasing online and know their way around the Internet. However, there is also an array of other potential customers who are not as confident online and may need you to “hold their hand”.
There are many online businesses which boast significant automated purchase numbers but also offer that human touch for those perhaps less confident in the online arena. This approach is not applicable to all businesses due to cost constraints but if you are looking to stand out from the crowd, offer a more personal service and have the time, skills and motivation, this could prove to be extremely beneficial.
About us page
You will see that the vast majority of websites have an “About Us” page which typically gives some background on the company, members of the team and the hopes and aspirations of the business going forward. Immediately this allows you to relate to the business, plans for the future, who may be handling your order and what you can expect to receive. How many times do you look at an “About Us” page to see who you are dealing with? Well, your online customers are likely to feel the same as well.
How many times have you found a website offering a product/service that you like and then looked to see where the business is located before you complete your purchase? It is okay having a faceless, emotionless online business but if you have no physical address and no physical location this can lead to suspicion in the mind of a potential customer. Any doubt may lead to them delaying their purchase and if you benefit from “impulse buys” what are the chances they will come back?
It is, therefore, imperative that you offer a physical address as well as an array of contact opportunities including email, telephone and postal address. If none of this information is available, it does not exactly instil trust into your potential customer?
Opinion seems to be split with regards to online support facilities which allow potential customers to chat online with company representatives. On the whole, these options are extremely useful as long as the response time is relatively quick and clients are not left hanging on. If you do not have the resources to provide a relatively quick online help facility, there is an argument as to whether you should even have one at all. If you offer this “fast” service, but customers are left in a queue, there is every chance you could lose them.
Even if you offer the best products in the world, there will be times when customers need to return items for refunds or replacement. If you have a clear and concise returns policy, with a returns address, this can very often instil trust and confidence in your business. Customers can see you are open to your location; you have a returns policy, and as long as you can deliver on the service it can be extremely positive for your business.
While the majority of us enjoy automated no fuss purchase systems, there is also need to show a human side to your business. This allows customers and would-be customers to relate to you, see that you have a physical location and there is somebody there to help when required. Many people will trawl the Internet at unsociable hours to find the best deals and then contact businesses before a purchase to confirm details. Those who believe that all businesses trading online should be faceless and automated, with no direct interaction between the company and customer, could be missing out on significant additional revenues.
If you put in the time and effort to make a potential customer feel at ease and confident about your business they will likely come back to you time and time again.