The same rules apply, to a great extent, to both online and offline sales and customer service. One of the most central issues in sales and customer service, online or not, is understanding the needs of the customer. The more you know about why the customer is interacting with you, the more effectively you will be able to assist them. In addition, knowing the customer needs will help you to set realistic goals to yourself as a professional in each customer session. Online customers can be divided into three groups based on the search process they have gone through prior to arriving on your web site.
1. The researchers
The most common reason why a customer is browsing your web site is that they are searching for information. About 80 percent of all the online information searches are generic, meaning that the aim of the search is to increase the knowledge and expertise of the person doing the search. A practical example of the researcher type of a customer is a person, who has been invited to a party with a smart casual dress code, and who is now searching the web in order to find out what kind of shoes meet the standards of the code. The best way to assist the researcher customer is to let them know what kind of shoes match their need. But, do not expect this customer to buy anything from you as the conversion rate among this customer group is very low.
2. The experts
This customer has already looked into their area of interest, and is now navigating it in more detail. While the previous customer was concentrating on finding out what kind of shoes can be considered smart casual, this customer, in turn, is looking at the smart casual shoe options at your web shop. So, serve this customer by showing them the best options on the site. Only a 10-percent minority of all the online customers arrive on your web page with such a clear target. These customers are, however, worth noticing as they are relatively interested also in making a purchase.
3. The shoppers
The last 10 percent of the information searches online are made by customers who are willing to buy. These are the shopper searches that are usually well-thought-out: The customer might, for example, be looking for a specific smart casual shoe model by a specific manufacturer at your web shop. When you meet a customer like this, conversion is likely to take place in case you play your part as a sales person well enough.
Finding out the customer motives saves both you and your customer from a lot of extra hustle: When you are able to go straight to the point with the customer, you will not, for example, bother a researcher with unnecessary sales talk or present your whole offering to a customer who has already made their choice. So, always start a customer session by hearing the hopes and fears of the customer, and, by doing so, guarantee a positive experience to both you and the customer.