Posted April 26, 2012 4:27 pm by with 0 comments

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A happy customer is a loyal customer. You probably already know that, but did you know that 89% of consumers who had a negative experience with a company switched to a competitor? What that means is you can’t afford to make any mistakes when you’re dealing with customers online.

Look at this section from a new Monetate infographic:

These numbers show that the online customer experience is supremely important when it comes to shopper loyalty and word of mouth. Customers are now looking for the same kind of service they expect from an offline store and I believe that’s a new thing.

During the dawn of the online shopping era, we didn’t expect top notch service. Online was a novelty. It allowed us to shop at 3 am while wearing our pajamas and for that we gave up the niceties like personalized service and a selection of quality merchandise. Think about it. Remember when an online store was nothing more than a grid with a tiny picture, a short description and a buy button? You know, back when Amazon was just a bookstore and the orders were getting filled by a couple of people working in Jeff Bezos’ garage.

At that time, our expectations were low but not anymore. Now, customers expect timely answers to questions, competitive pricing, fast shipping, and all the information they need to make a decision in one place. That’s the minimum. If you want to impress a customer, you have to go beyond that. You need to make the shopping process more personal.

How do you do that? Start by making sure everything works as it should. Then look at loyalty bonuses for repeat shoppers or for customer referrals. Find ways to personalize email messages. Talk to your customers and listen to what they have to say. Could be that your sales would climb 10% if you carried red widgets instead of green widgets and all you had to do was ask.

Customers shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything, except a little exercise, when they choose to shop online instead of offline. Don’t make the decision hard for them. Make the online experience so simple and enjoyable that they don’t even think about getting in the car. Online isn’t the red-headed stepchild anymore. Online should be leading the way.