Things Your Customers Really Want (But Will Never Tell You)

Female vet using mobile phone while standing by horse in stable

This article was written by Michelle Weger.

Are you making it hard for your customers to get what they want?

You don’t do it intentionally, but sometimes the things you do – or don’t do – are preventing your customers from making a purchase. 

It’s like the age-old argument two hungry people have when they are trying to decide what takeout to order.

“What do you want for dinner?”

“I dunno… what do you want?”

And one hour later you’re still sitting on the couch because there are too many options to choose from.

Nabil and I could have found ourselves in a similar situation on a trip we took to Lake Louise, if it wasn’t for the hotel staff.

We stayed at the Chateau Laurier, which is a beautiful hotel that sits on the shore of a lake that exists because of a melting glacier. While the picturesque views were memorable, it was the customer service that really stood out. 

When we arrived, we were hungry. Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we asked the concierge if there were any restaurants nearby. They could have told us about the four restaurants nearby, but they took it a step further.

First, they asked us if we were looking for a large meal or a quick lunch. 

Once we determined how hungry we were, they recommended a restaurant to us. 

That on its own would have been immensely helpful.

But it didn’t end there…

They raised the customer service level another notch when they asked us if we wanted them to make a reservation for us. 

Then, to cap off a truly extraordinary level of service, they walked us to the restaurant and personally handed us off to the waiting hostess. 

Every single step of the decision making process was made exceptionally easy for us. Our decisions were limited to two choices at a time, and often the choice was simply between “yes” or “no”.

If you want to be truly successful in providing an exceptional customer experience, you have to make sure that every step in your customer’s journey has as few roadblocks as possible.

Roadblock #1: Your website is difficult to navigate

Contentsquare reports that people are on your website for an average of 54 seconds. 

If they can’t easily find what they’re looking for in the blink of an eye, they’ll leave.

How can you stop that from happening?

It’s all in the way your website is laid out. 

A well-organized, simple menu is a great place to start.

Let’s say you own a business that sells horse supplies. How would you lay out your menu? You know that you sell harnesses, leads, saddles, blankets, and helmets.

Having a menu that clearly lists those items makes it easier for your customers to find exactly what they’re looking for. If someone is looking for a barrel saddle, they’re not going to have to search through pages and pages of products to find what they need. 

Imagine if the hotel concierge at the Chateau Laurier handed us a list of every restaurant in a two hour radius organized alphabetically. It may have answered our question, but it would have made our experience even more overwhelming. Alphabetical organization might make sense for a phone book, but for customers looking for a type of food, not the name of a restaurant, it would have been a disaster. 

Once you’ve set up your menu and you know your customers can easily find what they’re looking for, you have to make it easy for them to make a purchase. 

Clear calls to action (CTA’s) are the best way to do that. 

Don’t try to be clever or cute with these. Something simple like “add to cart” is all you need. Anything more than that can confuse your customer. And a confused customer doesn’t make a purchase.

Roadblock #2: Your customers are overwhelmed

Giving your customers a choice in products is crucial.

Giving them too many is a surefire way to turn those same customers over to your competitors.

According to Ulf Bockenholt, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University, offering too many decisions can cause your customers to panic and not buy anything at all. 

But that doesn’t necessary mean you have to sell fewer things. 

It means displaying your products strategically. 

You may have hundreds of products that you think should be front and centre because they’re all amazing and you know your customers will love them. 

But here’s the thing: you only have one front and centre. 

So how do you decide what to put in that coveted spot? You rely on the nail polish principle.

Roadblock #3: The entire shopping experience is too decision heavy

People like being told what to do and when to do it – even if they don’t want to admit it. 

You just have to do it in a way that doesn’t seem obvious. But how can you do that?

Simple. You rely on automation. 

It takes very little effort on your part. 

Consider automating your cross-sells and upsells. By suggesting items that complement what your customers are already looking for and strongly considering purchasing, you can increase your average order value and give your customer an easy “yes”.

I know it’s definitely worked on me. 

I’ll be online shopping for yet another plant to add to my collection and the website will recommend pots that fit said plant. I can’t not put my newest purchase in a pot, and I’m grateful not to have to scroll through pages and pages of pots to find a cute one in the right size. I’m happy to click “add to cart”, because it was an easy yes/no decision to make. 

When automation is used in these ways it isn’t sales-y. It’s helpful and strategic.

It prevents your customers from having to make the decisions themselves.  

When it comes to making sure your customers’ journey is as smooth as possible, you have to remove all of the roadblocks that could make them turn to your competition. Unfortunately there’s not a guidebook that gives step-by-step instructions on how to prevent that from happening. There is a team of website development and ecommerce experts waiting for you to book your call to start seeing your sales increase.

Are you ready to remove the roadblocks that are stopping your customers from becoming raving fans?

From how to build a website that makes you more money than it costs to leveraging automation to make your business life easier, our posts feature real stories from our lives and business.

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Michelle Weger - RBC Women of Influence Nominee