A small business owner receives 1,000 page views in a month, but only makes two sales. She wouldn’t sit idly by waiting for sales to increase while she rakes in tons of interest. She would seek ways to discover why her visitors aren’t making purchases and put into action a plan for converting them.
Conversions are the core of analyzing if all other aspects of your business are working, including marketing, customer service and product development. When conversions, either in terms of sales or late-sales cycle interest, meet industry standards or exceed company goals, it means your company is on the right track to continuing success. On the other hand, if conversions are stagnating or declining, you can proactively take steps to jumpstart conversions and help rates steadily rise.
One of the most effective and personal ways to increase conversions is through conversation with your customers. While data and analytics are important to business operations, actually engaging with customers one-on-one will improve your relationship with them and provide greater context and understanding of their needs and interests.
When communicating with customers, you should consider three critical tactics. The following approaches to increasing conversions will also improve your reputation with customers and gain more loyal brand advocates.
Talk to Customers on Their Terms
Since communication comes in many formats in this digital age, brands should be able to create conversations to match. Giving customer options for seeking support or asking a question allows them to ask more freely and willingly. According to a Forrester Report on live chat effectiveness, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. Live chat is one of the strongest forms of creating conversions because of its instantaneous nature. Customers appreciate being able to receive an answer immediately; 79% even cite this as their preferred reason for choosing live chat.
Conversely, phone calls are still a primary form of customer contact with 68% of all contact center communication taking place on the phone. Consumers still want the ability to hear the voice of someone who can help them. It’s why providing call and callback conversation options are critical to your website. There should be a phone number a customer can dial, a call-from-site function or a form for a customer to leave her number for you to call her back at your convenience. Providing a way for your customers to reach you by phone in a clear and obvious way shows you aren’t afraid of your customers, establishing trust and making a conversion more likely.
The other forms of conversation—email, social media or text messaging—are quickly growing to be more pervasive ways of communicating with your customers. The variety and the capability to carry a single thread across multiple channels gives you and your customers the flexibility and reliability to complete a sale, address a concern or rectify an issue.
Ask for Feedback
Marketing expert Sujan Patel says from his experience he increased conversion rates by 250% by asking for feedback in his conversations with customers. While it might seem intuitive, many brands dismiss or are unaware of the opportunity to take in criticisms and praise from customers. The only surefire way to know how customers are reacting to a product, service or new feature is to ask them directly.
Patel says the best script is a conversational one, not one that sounds like a recording. So instead of: “A short survey will follow this interaction. Please let us know how you felt about the experience.” Your customer service reps or the person conducting the survey should lead with: “Thanks for talking with me today. The conversations I’ve been having with our customers have been extremely useful in helping shape our plans for the future. I’m excited to get your feedback. My goal is to get a feel for how you use our product, what you like, don’t like and what could be better.”
That type of conversation puts your customer at ease, and gets him thinking more organically about the company. Often, customers freeze up from a stiff request. But adding something as simple as, “Tell me what you didn’t like about the product,” automatically asks for something specific and identifiable in the customer’s mind. With the insights gained from these interactions, you can fix anything that is causing abandoned purchases and implement improvements to the customer experience.
Nurture through Conversation
To obtain more conversions, many companies practice the balanced art of lead nurturing. Fostering a customer relationship with a gentle encouragement toward a sale takes a cautious approach. Facilitated through conversation, this process appears more delicate and natural to the customer. If they can reach their point of contact at a company with a single click from a landing page, customers are going to be more likely to move down the sales funnel at faster and increased rates.
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at 33% lower cost. In general, lead nurturing is a worthwhile endeavor in lifting conversions, engagement and sales. However, when nurture-oriented emails don’t exceed a 20% open rate, companies need to find more effective ways of guiding a customer through their buying journey toward a sale. Communication in all forms expands your opportunity for nurturing a lead and gives customers additional outlets for gaining more information. The more ways you can provide the material and facts necessary to complete a sale, the more likely you’ll see a sale occur.
Don’t Just Convert, Converse
Conversions are important. There’s no way around that fact of business. They indicate the success of a company’s overall efforts and contribute to higher sales. But to gain the conversions ideal to your company, it’s more important to look beyond metrics and actually engage with customers through multi-channel conversations to receive feedback and support the lead nurturing process. With these tactics, you will discover the key factors for improving your customer experience and growing your conversion rates.