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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Creating Value for Your Online Customers

By Andrew Jones

Customers are the lifeblood of any business (whether it's online or offline). So it makes sense to look after your hard-earned customers and give them excellent value for the cash that they hand over to you. It's not about you. It's about the customer and their wants and needs. Giving value will increase the conversion rate of leads to sales, number of transactions and average $ sale. This results in greater profits for you for less work.

You should provide products and services that you can be absolutely proud of and that you would have no hesitation in selling to family or friends. This leads to happy customers. Happy customers will buy more from you, more often. Happy customers will recommend you to other people. On the other hand, unhappy customers won't buy from you any more and they will tell everyone of their bad experience with you... not so good for your business.

A business transaction is a simple exchange... cash is exchanged for your product or service. The customer needs what you have (the product or service) MORE than the money that they give you. It stands to reason then that the product must be of EQUAL or GREATER VALUE than the dollars that are given to you. Greater value is always better because this adds the WOW factor to their purchase. The product should be loaded with benefits... not just "so-called" benefits in the sales copy but real benefits that the customer will really appreciate from you.

With every customer, you should endeavour to "go the extra mile" for them. A lot of people will be questioning whether it's really worth going to "all of this trouble". But just consider that going the extra mile for your customers will turn most of them into profitable "lifetime customers". This is actually a lot "less trouble" than continually looking for new customers. So consider some really easy methods like "thanking" your customers, staying regularly in touch with them, giving them free tips and help (rather than just selling to them all time), and giving away free items of value (such as good e-books) for being such a great customer.

What if you get complaints from a customer? Even in this situation, you can turn this around and convert them into a loyal customer... if you handle it properly. If you get a difficult customer or someone with a complaint, stay calm, breathe (I'm not kidding), don't take it personally or attach emotion to the situation. Do your best to listen to what the customer has to say. If you treat them with respect and show that you are trying to help them, this should go a long way to resolving the problem... and keeping them as a customer. Obviously, some people are never happy no matter what you do, so you may have to just "move on" in this particular instance.

It's always easier and cheaper to sell to existing customers than to find new ones... that's common knowledge. Bottom line is: if you don't give your customers good value, they will simply return the product which isn't good for your profits or reputation.

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