Think about one company you love doing business with.
Now think about one you don’t.
What’s the difference?
Chances are, one made your life easier or better and the other somehow complicated things or frustrated you.
One major key to building a company that people love, is to make things easy for your customers. From the way you communicate to the way you sell, if you simplify things for the customer today, you will win customers over for years to come.
Below is a simple example of what I mean. I’ve also included five areas every business owner can improve to get more business.
Recently I was on a flight with my wife from Philadelphia to Phoenix when someone asked the stewardess how much longer we had until we arrived.
She replied “the total flight is 4 hours 4 minutes and we left at 7:30. It’s now 9:35.
Take a second and read that response again.
Doesn’t your brain just start to sweat trying to figure out the actual answer to his question? I’m confident we can all figure it out but as soon as my wife and I heard her response, we both said “why make it difficult?”.
What would be a better answer?
If she had said “about 2 hours”, things would have been WAY easier. Instead, it now requires that guy to do some clock math to get the answer he’s looking for.
This kind of communication creates frustration and it impacts people’s perception of you and your business. Think about each interaction as either a (+1) or (-1) rating. The total equals the customer’s current perception of you or your product.
Each time they have to “think” (like the stewardess/time example), it’s a (-1) experience. Likewise, every time things are “easy”, it’s a (+1) experience – and many times these ratings happen on a subconscious level.
Therefore our goal as business owners is to grow the positive score in the minds of those we interact with.
5 Ways to Boost Your (+1) Rating
1) Have A Clear Offer
Make your offer simple to understand and limit the number of options.
The other day I came across a great software solution but the offer made my head hurt just trying to figure out how much it would cost each month.
It used a complex “credits/points” system that you had to purchase upfront and then these credits would be deducted from your account based on a huge list of things you would do using the software.
I was genuinely interested in purchasing but spent so much time trying to figure out how many credits I should buy that I ultimately bailed. The offer was too complex.
2) Make Your Order Button Obvious
How many times have you been to a website wanting to buy but didn’t know what to do next?
It happens a lot and that’s because the order button is buried or it’s not clear what they want people to do.
Don’t make that mistake. It should be very obvious what you want people to do next. Whether it’s order your product, subscribe to your email list or leave a comment, make it obvious (and yes I’d like you to contribute to this post – see the “Your Turn” section at the bottom of this post).
Zero friction – that’s the goal. Make it obvious how much your product is and where to buy.
3) Streamline Your Sales Process
A few days ago I bought a product online and got trapped in “upsell hell”. I was hit with no less than 5 different upsells, each one having a (-1) impact on my overall impression.
Don’t get me wrong, all upsells aren’t bad (I love buying from Amazon and they offer upsells all the time).
But five, “in your face”, “buy before the world collapses” upsells?
That’s not a good buying experience. On average, I’m sure that company is making more per transaction – but at what cost?
HINT: They had a (-5) score in my mind before I even started using the product… that’s a lot of ground to make up.
The first sale is just that, a beginning. It’s the first real moment of “transactional trust”. Don’t blow it by trying to “squeeze” as much as you can out of each person. It actually screams fear that you don’t believe I’ll be back again – and what does that say about your product?
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying; an upsell is not evil. Five, hard pressure upsells however is. That’s an experience that destroys the excitement of buying the initial product.
Long term, you’ll have more loyal customers and a higher return on your efforts.
4) Simplify Your Product
One of the reasons people love Basecamp from 37Signals (myself included) is that the product is so easy to use and it’s like they anticipated every question a customer might have, and then designed the answers right into the product.
Bottom line; it’s very clear for a new user how to get started (no thinking involved!).
We took the same approach when we designed our new online help desk called Rhino Support. Our goal was to design it in such a way that a new user would know exactly how to get started using the product without looking at any support documentation.
It initially takes more time on your end to think everything through, but it creates a far better user experience (and the feedback we’ve received so far has been incredible).
So here’s a question for you…
If the answer is “no” (and be honest), then that’s an area of opportunity to increase your (+1) ratings.
5) Improve Your Customer Support
When a customer reaches out with a question, answer it and in your response give them the answer to their anticipated follow up.
Here’s a simple example:
Question: How do I login to the members area?
Answer: By clicking the login link in the top right of this page (URL.com) and entering your login info.
Normally that response would be a sufficient but what do you think a likely follow up question might be?
“What’s my login info?”
So here’s a better response that makes things easy for the customer…
Question: How do I login to the members area?
Answer: By clicking the login link in the top right of this page (URL.com) and entering your login info. To make things easy, here is your username and password:
See the difference?
You’ll reduce the back and forth support needed and you’ll increase your (+1) ratings because you made things easy for them to move forward.
Earning customer loyalty and trust is hard enough but you can stack the odds in your favor if you focus on making things easy. Remember, don’t make customers think!
If you simplify your offer, your order button, your sales process, your product and your support, people will like doing business with you a whole lot more and you’ll get more business today and into the future as well.
Where else could we increase our (+1) ratings?
Let me know the first thing that pops into your head by adding your comments below.