It’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? What do your customers want? No matter what business you’re in, that’s your business. Supplying your customers with exactly what they need, when they need it and in a way that makes your life easier while putting a little coin in your pocket.

So what exactly does your customer want?

In their white paper “What Sales Winners Do Differently,” (click here to download it for free) the Rain Group outlined a few key differentiation factors that made customers to choose one vendor over another. The review of 700 business-to-business purchases might focus pretty narrowly on the decision-making part of the process, but from it we can glean some pretty clear insights.

For starters, solutions sell. If your customer could solve a problem on their own, they would. By showing how it’s a smarter choice for them to come to you, and to position yourself as a partner in solving that problem, increases the chances that they will choose you over another vendor. That partnership is becoming more crucial to landing sales, and it’s achieved through careful listening and understanding. Don’t be afraid to point out pitfalls in your customer’s way and how you can help mitigate them. That personal connection is how you create value and separate yourself from the rest of the pack.

Beyond the communication aspect of the sale, there’s plenty you can do in terms of your online presence to give your customers what they want. And what they want is a seamless purchasing experience that they can take from impulse to shipping in the span of one bathroom break (yes, your customers are doing most of their shopping on the toilet).

Navigationally, your site should be organized and easy to use.

And that organization will ideally be engineered around data from customer search queries and purchases. Everything you need to know about how your customers use your site is out there; it’s up to you to use that data for a smoother sales experience.

Your website should also be sized correctly for any number of browsers and devices.

And finally, when it comes to the checkout experience, be as transparent and simplified as possible. If you can swing free shipping, do it. It’s become almost standard operating procedure for online retailers in recent years, and can be the last straw for a customer who’s looking to possibly go with someone else. Also, the more payment options you can accept, the better. Whether it’s Visa checkout, PayPal or Apple Pay, you never want to make it more difficult for your customer to give you money.

And what about after the sale?

What do your customers want that will keep them coming back as loyal customers? It’s worth finding out, since according to Forbes, of almost 1,000 consumers polled, 92% say they would stop purchasing from a company after three or fewer poor customer service experiences. Providing that positive experience is key to creating return customers, positive reviews, and priceless word-of-mouth.

If there is a problem, make sure your customer only has to spell it out once. Whether it’s a live agent, a chatbot, or their personal sales representative, your customer wants to explain their experience once and only once before working on a solution. And that solution had better be consistent –

76% of customers polled said they received different answers to the same questions from different sources within a company.

That is insane, and can cause your customer’s confidence in you to plummet. It’s worth noting that this isn’t necessarily because your customers are in a hurry – it’s because they want to feel like their solutions have been personalized. Indeed, that same study by Forbes found –

59% of customers said being treated as an individual was more important than how fast the issue was resolved.

And as one last bit of advice we can glean from Forbes, it’s to ditch the interactive voice response system. They’re annoying, and your customer has already figured out they can just say the word “agent” until they get to talk to a person.

From the initial consultation to the final sale and beyond, your customer has a suite of needs that it’s your job to fill. Fill that need and you’ll have a loyal customer who comes back time and time again, singing your company’s praises to any and all who will listen.

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