I subscribe to a great (free!) newsletter from Harvard Business School called the Management Tip of the Day. The issue that arrived today was headed “Win the Sale by Winning Your Customer’s Heart”. Because it’s such a good message I quote it exactly, then comment on what this means on the Web.
An earlier issue of this Newsletter talks about how to establish credibility over the Web, an essential part of marketing. This is another basic marketing idea that we apply all the time in face-to-face business that we must apply on the Web.
What They Said
“Customers are far more likely to purchase a product or service if they feel valued by the person selling it. Underappreciated customers will look elsewhere to make their purchase. Reach out to your customers and make sure they know how important they are to you. Give them the opportunity to meet as many of your staff as possible, all the way up to the CEO. Thank them for their business and ask them to tell you about their company. When you create an emotional connection with them, they are more open to hearing what you have to offer, and much more inclined to purchase. This needs to be a genuine connection, however; your overtures shouldn’t be phony or insincere.“
What This Means on the Web
It’s easy to see that this is general wisdom for face-to-face business. And a moment’s reflection lets us realize that it’s also a good idea for the Web. So how do we carry it out?
First, be sure that your Web site makes you look customer-friendly. Have your street address and your phone number on every page of your site. Real businesses that take care of customers are open for customers to contact them.
Second, this shows the importance–and even the purpose–of your “about us” page. Talk about the history of your business, emphasizing how you connect with customers and care about customer problems. And be sure to let the visitor meet the staff. Or meet the inventor. Or meet the CEO. And portray not just the business dimension of these people, but something personal as well.
Third, don’t neglect how you behave toward customers! Dealing with people through the Web makes them seem remote, but remember that there are lots of feedback mechanisms on the Web, so if you don’t take care of a customer that word can spread and can be hard for you to overcome. So don’t leave anyone unhappy, when there’s an issue go the extra mile for your customer.
Use every opportunity to show that you genuinely care about your customers. Show it on your Web site and show it in the behavior of every one of your employees. Make your customers king so that they can make you wealthy.