Do You Answer Questions Before Your Customers Ask Them?

Written by  June 11, 2007

Do you ever notice that you have very little sales from your web store, but always seem to be answering questions from your customers asking you “how they can buy”, or asking questions about your store policies, or maybe it’s a question about a single product?

Customers Online will naturally have questions.Your answer is probably “No, I don’t?”

Do you know why you aren’t answering those questions?

Because your potential customers are leaving. Now, I here you. You are probably thinking “ah, yeah, that’s not hard to see, tell me something I don’t already know”. Well, I just did. Let me say it again, but in a different way.

“Your customers are leaving because you are not answering their questions!”

Now, does it make more sense?

Every potential customer has questions they need answered before they feel comfortable buying. These questions are not always “heard”, but are most often “silent” in nature. They reside in the customers head, and are one of the many barriers you face when convincing them “why to buy from you” instead of another seller. They may be silent, but they are real, and they are there.

They live within every visitor that wants to become a customer. If you don’t answer them, they will leave and you will lose the sale.

So how do you answer someone that hasn’t actually “asked” a question yet?

Simple, you answer them BEFORE they ask it!

You answer by placing the proper information in front of them at precisely the right time for where they are in their buying cycle. By doing this, any questions they have will be answered (before they ask them), and rather than leaving the site, you’ll increase your chances of them not only staying, but buying from you.

It’s called “building customer confidence”. It includes things like:

  • Customer points of assurance
  • Proper calls to action
  • Providing store policies
  • Secure logos in the right spots
  • and more…

“Customer confidence” goes a long way toward increasing sales.

So, how do you answer them if you don’t know what they are asking?

One way is to put yourself into their position — become a customer yourself (I’ll give you some actual examples in another article, but this article is to get your mind thinking like a “customer” — one of the first steps to increasing sales).

Think about what you look for, and at what times you look for it when you are attempting to make a purchase from the internet. What makes you feel comfortable enough to buy from an online store? Really think about it, and pay close attention the next time you shop online to what you ask, when you ask it, what you look for, and when you look for it.

This forces you to think of things from a “visitor’s / customer’s” perspective (which is how you should be looking at it if you want to increase conversion anyhow). If you are asking it, your visitors are probably asking it too! So, the next time you shop online, pay close attention to your thoughts and movements. Then go back and check your own web site for the same things you looked for (in the same locations) which helped make you feel comfortable in deciding to buy.

If you are missing those items, you’re missing sales.

In my next post I’ll actually go into a number of “best practice” items you should make sure you include on your site, and the general location of where would be best to include them (although this may differ based on your site, target market, and visitor demographic).

Until then, think like a customer and find out where your site needs to start answering their questions.

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2 Responses to “Do You Answer Questions Before Your Customers Ask Them?”

  1. PK on June 12th, 2007 5:12 pm

    Great post…this is clearly a gap in our current site that we are shoring up and I see this on many others. Time-definite shipping information seems to be lacking on many if not most sites and it is such a critical piece of info for the purchaser.

  2. econcepts on June 12th, 2007 10:01 pm

    Great post…this is clearly a gap in our current site that we are shoring up and I see this on many others. Time-definite shipping information seems to be lacking on many if not most sites and it is such a critical piece of info for the purchaser.

    Yes, this is in fact a gap on a large number of sites that think like a “seller” and not a “buyer”.

    This does not just include the shipping details, but is an across the board problem that relates directly to the entire “online customer experience”. The answering of questions should begin immediately upon a visitor entering your web site. It should be all encompassing and approach them from the perspective they view things.

    All too often sites are built that only look at things from the “technical / design” perspective and forget about the most important parts. Those that involve the customer. Furthermore, the designs are more often based upon what the site owner thinks “looks nice” and not upon what their ideal customer thinks is nice (which can be quite different).

    Overlooking that one piece is a flaw that will “sink” a site before it is ever launched.

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