Return to: GROK Dot Com 1/15/2001

Loyalty is Priceless 

Customer satisfaction is a nice theory, a good “warm fuzzy” word. But it’s a whole lot more. You want customers who are more than merely satisfied with a single purchase, don't you? You want customers satisfied enough to come back and buy again. And again. And you want customers so delighted they’ll tell their friends. What you really want are customers so delighted they become loyal customers.

To create loyal customers you have to get away from what you want to give them. In the customer-empowered world of e-commerce, your customers aren’t interested in what you want to push. In fact, they’re not interested in being pushed at all. They’re interested in finding what they want to buy, and in finding vendors who will help them. So learn to give them what they want, and you are a heck of a lot more likely to get what you want: more sales, more repeat business, and more referrals!

The truth about satisfaction and loyalty out there on the Internet isn't nearly as fuzzy as the concept. Of the people who visit your site, only 1.75% will buy. Of those who actually buy, fewer than 10% will actually return to buy again. Do the math: out of 1000 people, 18 (I'll be generous) will make a purchase. Two will visit again for a second purchase.

Sounds dismal, huh? But you can think of these figures as Scrooge's Ghost of Christmas to Come. Because the fact is, folks like to shop and they like to buy. It's just that when they do it online, many of them can't buy because they can't figure it out. They can't be bothered to wait for slow pages. They can't read the tiny type. They can't cope with getting stranded in opaque processes they don't understand. They can't find help. They can’t deal with the help that they do find being written in techno-speak.

Your prospects are out there on a huge ocean, bobbing and threatening to go under. They'll take you with them unless you help them! Toss them a life preserver!

Make it simple and easy to find information and navigate your site.

Every page should tell them where they are, show them where to go next, how to get back, offer a resource for helpful help, and have obvious and logical links.

Give helpful and descriptive information about your product or services.

In text. There is power in the word. And the word is out that the word is in. Research and sales results are both proving that fancy images and slow multimedia are out - at least as far as your customer is concerned, when what he or she wants to do is buy. Make your information persuasive … just remember to make it clear, concise and complete as well. And not pushy. Use graphics only when words are insufficient. And then, keep them simple and the file sizes small.

Make it clear and easy to buy from you.

Cover all your bases at the point of purchase by offering every order option available: not only an online order form, but e-mail, fax, and toll-free phone, too.

Give the customer a reason to place his or her confidence in you.

The cornerstone of loyalty is trust. Do everything you can to inspire this in your client, and you will earn repeat business. Think about all the things that go into trust, from prominent, plain-spoken and strong privacy policies, to basic grammatical correctness, to clear pricing, to a professional look and feel in your design.

When web surfers head out to buy, they want to buy. The last thing they want to do is tread water, much less sink. Make your website that friendly face, that helping hand that not only keeps them afloat but keeps them happily sailing along. Give your visitors lots of good reasons to remember you, and you are likely to inspire more than satisfaction … you might just land yourself a loyal customer!

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Return to: GROK Dot Com 1/15/2001

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