Why do companies make it so hard for us to give them our money? Whether they only accept certain payment methods, or require all of your billing information and then your first born child to verify payment, a company that doesn’t make it easy to checkout will lose customers.

New research shows that 37% of major customer experience failures can happen even before the sale occurs. How will this affect your bottom line? 4 out of 5 customers with a poor experience won’t come back to do business with you again. 60% of customers have even stopped before completing a sale due to poor customer service.

The good news is that customer support doesn’t need to start after the sale. By incorporating better customer support across the entire buyer’s journey, you can prevent negative customer service experiences before they happen. Being truly proactive means that your customers don’t experience any of those surprises later in the journey that may make them think twice about becoming a repeat customer.

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Here’s 5 ways better checkout and billing support can keep your customers coming back for more:

Jump in proactively with live chat

Even in the most streamlined of checkout experiences, customers are bound to have questions. By proactively opening a live chat window, you’re able to answer any questions the customer might have, then and there. You can pop up the window if a visitor spends over the recommended time on a checkout step to avoid interrupting them too early. It’s the ultimate checkout growth hack that can help increase conversion (by 30% in some cases!).

This also reduces cognitive dissonance (also known as buyer’s remorse) later in the buyer’s journey. Addressing any concerns early on sets realistic expectations and smoothes the path to a sale. The customer has all of the information they need and no surprises will crop up after the purchase is made. By providing proactive support and engaging customers through live chat, you’ll avoid issues later on, making the customer happy and your support team running smoothly.

Give me options on your billing screen

Most modern eCommerce platforms (Lemonstand included!) support a variety of payment options, so you don’t need to limit the types of cards you accept. Allow your customers to pay how they want to pay, not the way they are forced to.

When setting up the billing information form, make sure it is clear what options you support, and make it easy for the customer to enter details. For example, on mobile forms, switch the input to numerical instead of alphabetical to reduce errors in data entry.

This is also a good place to note any security precautions you’ve taken to keep sensitive data safe. If you’ve implemented verified by Visa or have passed your PCI compliance test, make sure to display it loud and proud to assure the customer you have their best interests at heart.

Don’t hold customers hostage with difficult cancellations

Why do companies insist on making it so difficult to cancel? Maybe they think holding their customers hostage leads to a Stockholm syndrome loyalty effect. In any case, it’s not doing them any favors.

Check out this interaction where a customer who just wanted to pause a beer-of-the-month subscription while on holiday, was deterred from coming back entirely due to an unwieldy cancellation process. When customers need to phone support and jump through hoops to cancel a subscription, it’s unlikely to make them stay.

“Oh, you tricked me. Guess I’ll just keep paying you $9.99 for that service I don’t use.” – no customer, ever.

Instead, make it easy for customers to leave when they need to, and even easier to come back. When they require your product again, or a feature update lures them back, they won’t have the disappointment of the cancellation process keeping them away. Their business will be all yours.

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Better receipts with more information

Too many businesses think of receipts as an afterthought. In reality, this is another important touchpoint in the customer journey. Transactional emails (such as automatically emailed receipts) have a higher open rate than a typical marketing email.

In fact, order confirmations have an average open rate of 114%, with customers coming back to them to confirm details or for expense purposes later on. It’s easy to take advantage of this high open rate to pass on information the customer might need in the future. By answering FAQs on a receipt, you lower the chance customers need to call in for assistance later. Smart!

[Side Note: A study by Receiptful found that their open rates were 4x higher than rates for regular email, and engagement rates were 3x higher. Here’s a graphic to put that into perspective.]

checkout and billing receipt

Important items to include on a receipt:

  • Expected delivery date – this prevents questions about when an order is due to arrive, and puts a customer’s mind at ease.
  • Order details – it seems like a no-brainer, but including an itemized order list on the receipt will help customers with things like expense reports or tax returns.
  • Refund policy – if a customer isn’t happy with the product, the first place they look is at the receipt to see if they can return it. By having your cancellation or refund policy stated clearly, you’ll encourage customers to get in touch. This will help you resolve any issues!
  • Next steps or Product Information – by linking to tutorials or set-up instructions, you can help customers be successful with your product right out of the box.
  • Contact Information – if customers have feedback, you definitely want to hear it. After all, you can only solve the problems you know about.

Bonus tip: Receipts and order confirmations are a great target for growing your customer’s lifetime value. If you feature another item they might find helpful with an exclusive coupon code, it’s easy for them to jump back in and make a purchase. Especially if you keep their payment information on file!

Empowered Support Team

Inevitably, some customers will still need to contact support. When this happens, make sure your agents are empowered with the right information and tools to resolve bad situations.

Often information about purchase history and transaction data is siloed by tools. By unifying customer data and financial information with incoming support cases, you make it easy for customer support to give the right answer to the right customer.

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Secondly, support agents need to be empowered to correct the mistakes that were made, through refunds, exchanges or other means. One of the primary drivers of disloyalty is customer service agents who are not able to do their job effectively. By creating an environment where common sense is valued over policies and scripts, your employees will be able to do what they really want: help your customers.

By using the above strategies, you can greatly reduce the number of poor experiences customers have with your brand, and easily resolve any issues that do crop up. Incorporate customer support throughout the buyers journey to proactively engage your customer and make them loyal for life.

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