Buyer’s remorse is a salesperson’s worst nightmare. What exactly is it, though?
In simple terms, buyer’s remorse is the feeling of regret that a customer experiences after making a purchase, usually a major or expensive one. Buyer’s remorse can strike the customer at any time: right after the purchase is made, a few days later or even long after the purchase has been made.
For a second, imagine a scenario. You’ve just closed a big deal. Possibly you’re basking in the glory of your achievement. Then the customer calls and cancels the order. The customer has had second thoughts. All your efforts now seem to have gone to waste. You’re left racking your brains as to what you did wrong and how you’re going to salvage the situation.
We’ll tell you how to avoid such a scenario in just a moment, but first, let’s learn a bit more about buyer’s remorse.
A study of regretted purchases in Great Britain found that 82% of those surveyed regretted a purchase in the past. So, frankly, it’s a very common phenomenon.
Causes of buyer’s remorse
According to some psychologists, buyer’s remorse is the result of cognitive dissonance, a psychological phenomenon where you are in conflict with your thoughts, and it causes you distress.
After a purchase or transaction, you go through a period where you weigh the pros and cons of your decision and try to justify it to yourself. If you fail to do so and instead end up doubting your decision, you suffer from buyer’s remorse.
Another theory, propounded by Arthur B. Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, suggests that buyer’s remorse is the result of a conflict between the approach motivational system and avoidance motivational system. The latter provides you with reasons to avoid your purchase. The former nudges you towards instant gratification without concerning itself with the long-term ramifications of your actions.
Some of the most important triggers of buyer’s remorse are expensive purchases, impulse purchases, and succumbing to marketing cues like marketing scarcity, discounts, targeted advertisements, remarketing, etc.
Yet another theory suggests buyer’s remorse is the result of too much choice. This is a problem that afflicts modern buyers. We live in an age of plenty, and consumers are overwhelmed by the choices they are surrounded by. This makes returns very common, with customers choosing what they feel is a better product than yours or even giving up the purchase entirely.
In order to solve the problem of buyer’s remorse and improve customer retention, it is important to first understand the concept of customer advocacy.
What is customer advocacy?
Customer advocacy is a special approach to customer service where companies focus on what is best for the customer. The company’s culture is oriented towards customer-focussed marketing techniques and customer service. It’s all about making the customer the centre of your universe.
Customer advocacy includes all aspects of customer interaction, from products and services to sales and after-sales service. For example, in a customer advocacy approach, you would suggest the product that is best for the customer even if it reduces your profit margin. You would set up service calls at the customer’s convenience, not yours.
You might even recommend a competing product to the customer because it is a better fit for them.
Customer advocacy eventually creates loyal customers who keep returning to you. Not only that, but they also informally promote your company and products because they believe in you. It’s free marketing! However, customer advocacy requires a tectonic shift in a company’s approach to its business.
So how do you bring about such a sea change and improve customer retention?
1. Improving customer retention
Customer retention is the process of turning one-time clients into regular and repeat customers. Marketing studies have revealed that it is much easier to sell to an existing client than to a new one or a prospect.
Here are some strategies you can use to reduce buyer’s remorse, improve customer retention and incorporate the principles of customer advocacy into your company ethos:
2. Provide a better customer experience
When customers spend money on a service or product, they expect a great customer experience.
If you analyse your customer’s journey with you, you will understand them better and your call centre agents will be able to provide them with a better experience. Keep the tenets of customer advocacy in mind and try to see things from the customer’s point of view and tailor your strategy to benefit them. You will sell them a better product and there is less chance they will be afflicted with buyer’s remorse.
Cloud telephony has many tools at its disposal to help you do this. Some of these are CRM integration and analytics, number masking to develop customer trust, using the wonders of IVR to create a seamless experience, enhanced AI, etc.
3. A key principle of customer advocacy: empower the customer with knowledge
Never hide any information from your customers. In fact, you should try and educate them and empower them with knowledge about your products and processes. That’s how your company can come across as trustworthy.
Any content on your website that improves your customer’s knowledge base is also instrumental in making you a thought leader in your field. Therefore, you must always invest in educational content like blogs. You must also use social media to spread the message.
4. Provide superlative customer service
Increasingly, large purchases are happening online, whether it be a premium product or a service. Part of the customer advocacy story is getting the virtual experience right since sales are increasingly online.
In today’s digital wilderness customers can feel a bit lost and disoriented, so don’t forget the human touch and remain accessible to your clients. Invest in agent training to build trust with the customer. And who doesn’t love a good loyalty programme?
5. CRM can help with customer retention
A good CRM system can equip you with the tools necessary to retain your customers. Firstly, the CRM platform provides you with a lot of information on your customers and their relationship with your company. This includes detailed records of their purchase history, your conversations with them and their profile.
- Use this data to create effective marketing campaigns.
- Do customer segmentation for more focussed outreach.
- Carry out customer satisfaction surveys.
- Let customers know when a new product launches
- Start a customer loyalty programme based on the customer’s purchase history
6. Train agents for customer retention
Call centre agents need to be trained specifically for customer advocacy. It is a skill that can be taught, and they need to be sensitised to the principles and ethos of customer advocacy. [Text Wrapping Break]
A cloud-based phone system can help you train your agents virtually, especially if they are working remotely. A good cloud telephony system also records call data for future training and analysis purposes. It also makes important customer information accessible to agents on a single screen.
Cloud telephony can help you provide extremely personalised service to your customers, and that’s one of the most successful customer retention strategies.
7. A lenient return policy works wonders for customer retention
Customers want convenience. If a product doesn’t work for them, they want to be able to return it effortlessly. Some sellers feel that if the return window is short, it can improve the chances of the customer not returning the product. In fact, this can actually trigger anxiety and buyer’s remorse.
You should apply a lenient return and cancellation policy. This may sound counterintuitive but actually helps you to retain customers. The longer the return window, the less likely your customers are to return the product.
This is actually tapping into the endowment effect, an emotional bias that makes us value an object more once we own it. And the longer the buyer keeps your product, the higher are the chances of developing an emotional attachment to the product, lowering the chances of a return.
8. Don’t ignore abandoned carts
Often, customers abandon a full cart of products. It can be quite frustrating. There’s one way you can salvage the situation: by sending an abandoned cart email; of course, worded nicely. You have nothing to lose and it’s better than not following up at all.
According to Moosend, abandoned cart emails have an average open rate of 45 per cent. 21 per cent of these users with click on the email, and 11 per cent will end up buying the product.
Why would you want to lose out on such an opportunity? After all, you can easily automate the process with cloud technology.
9. Set up customer user groups or communities as part of customer advocacy
If you have happy customers, don’t hesitate to tell the world about it. Social proof is a time-tested marketing tactic. If buyers see positive reviews of your products or services online, they are more likely to buy from you. Invest in user-generated content (UGC) and customer reviews by setting up online communities.
Word-of-mouth publicity is also an effective strategy for customer retention, so consider introducing some referral programmes.
10. Customer advocacy requires you to be contactable
Provide all relevant contact information to your customer within 24 hours of closing a deal. This will show the customer that you care about them and that they are not just a source of revenue for you. Adopt the best onboarding practices so the customer is reassured and knows you are there for them even after a sale is closed.
If it’s a service you’re selling, consider sending them a welcome email with all relevant team contacts on it for easy access. This should include direct phone numbers and email addresses. If clients feel like you’ve got their back, they are less likely to cancel a deal.
11. For customer retention, resolve customer queries faster
Using cloud telephony solutions, you can make your customer support processes efficient indeed.
This leads to a better customer experience, loyal customers and fewer returns and cancellations. Especially when making big-ticket purchases, customers can have a lot of questions. Your call centre agents should be able to handle these queries seamlessly as well as quickly, or the customer may get jittery and change their mind.
With cloud telephony, you also become more accessible to the customers, which reassures them, especially after a purchase. You can add a call-to-action button on your website, say a ‘call-back request’. Just make sure that you call back quickly once you receive a request. This is the sort of customer experience clients expect these days.
Good customer support is good, but it isn’t enough. To be excellent, you must be able to offer omnichannel interactions. That’s how you can be truly responsive and avert a case of buyer’s remorse.
12. Improve customer retention by focussing on advantages, not attributes
Customers don’t just buy products for their features. They buy them for their benefits, and what they can do for them. For example, you don’t buy a diet plan because you’re interested in dieting. You are interested in a slimmer version of yourself. Features are the characteristics of your product. Advantages of the product are the qualities that make it matter to the customer. That is what you need to focus on in your marketing write-ups and campaigns. This is a sure-shot way to improve customer retention.
To sum up, the importance of customer advocacy cannot be overemphasised. To stand apart from the competition, you have to be able to convey to your customer that you care the most about them, that you have their best interest at heart and are not out to fleece them.
So embrace customer advocacy whole-heartedly, and make buyer’s remorse a thing of the past. Believe in your customer and they will believe in you. And, that way, they are likelier to stick with you. As always, tap into the power of cloud telephony to help you out.
Prevent buyer’s remorse by providing excellent customer service. Try Servetel’s cloud telephony solutions today. Contact 1800-120-4132.