How you accept orders and communicate with your potential clients is an area of your business that can either be friction-less and efficient, or a time sucking, mentally burdening black hole. In this episode I share a few important things to keep in mind so your life’s so much easier, and your customer’s purchasing experience is super smooth.
This is the second part of a miniseries about Keeping Your Customers Delighted, While Also Maintaining Your Sanity and Joy. Here are the important points covered in the episode:
- Being clear and upfront with relevant information
- Reducing the number of steps involved in the ordering process
- Using freely available tools for seamless booking of services and events
- Having different (non-Meta) options to communicate with your customers
- How being paid in advance makes everyone’s life more pleasant
- Why you shouldn’t be afraid to insist on your systems and boundaries
Listen on the embedded player below, or on your preferred podcast platform. If reading is your jam, then scroll down for the transcript. Enjoy! 🙂
“So don’t be so afraid of losing business, losing opportunities, because when you waste time trying to deal with people who don’t respect your boundaries, you’re also, you know, not creating space to attract the people who will actually be respecting your boundaries, and following processes, and being polite, and all of that. You deserve that.”Susmitha Veganosaurus – The Feel Good Factor Podcast
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Transcript of Joyful Customer Delight Part Two – Peace of mind and time saving with a smooth and efficient ordering process
(edited for a better reading experience)
Hello my Feel Good Tribe! I’m back again this week and we’re continuing with part two of the miniseries “keeping your customers delighted while also maintaining your own sanity and joy“.
Last week we discussed pricing. How to price your products while also not undervaluing yourself. Attracting and retaining the right, ideal customers for yourself. So today’s topic is about the ordering process. This is again something that’s so important, the ordering process. The smoother it is, the more friction-less it is, the chances are higher of that conversion, that sale happening for you.
The first step in this is clarity.
Make sure that wherever you post information about your product or your service, wherever it is, make very sure that all the relevant information – and please note I say relevant because there’s a lot of irrelevant rubbish. Even if it may not feel like rubbish to you, it may be irrelevant to the client. So keep that in mind and don’t add too much stuff and go on and on. But the very key, relevant things have to be the right upfront. Be very, very upfront with your customers.
I’ll tell you, as a customer from my point of view, when I see a product, or service, an event, information about something that catches my eye, and I’m interested in it, but if it doesn’t have the pricing written right there, right there at the beginning, or even on that page where the details of the product are mentioned, if the pricing isn’t there, if it says something like, “drop us a message to enquire about pricing”, I would rather just drop the product or the service, than actually drop a message. Haha Because it’s painful!
Everybody doesn’t have the time or the inclination to go back and forth, exchange messages, find out more details.
And think of it from the customer’s point of view. They’d feel like once they showed interest, they might feel obligated to make the purchase, or be put in that awkward position because they have enquired already. And it makes it awkward for them.
As for you, why do you want to spend your time replying to that? Like, “oh, this is the price.” For what? Just so you can get somebody’s contact or email? Or just so you can gauge the interest that exists? Even if a person doesn’t buy, but if they’re interested, you know, that is considered a data point. But it’s really not a solid or valid data point for you because a lot of people will not even enquire, will not even message you. So potential sales will be lost if you don’t have your details upfront.
And yes, pricing is of course the most important detail, but there are other very important things too. For example, if it’s a food product you’re selling, it’s key to mention all the ingredients upfront, very, very easy to find, right there. Because people have food preferences, allergies, ethical stances… There are so many reasons a person would want to know what goes into a particular food product before they buy it, so it’s quite important that it’s put out there right at the beginning.
This whole thing will save you a lot of time. It’s not just about what a customer will feel when they look at all this information clearly upfront. It’s also about how you save your time. Because really, like I said, you don’t want to be spending your time going back and forth responding to questions.
Your precious time can be spent in much better ways, on many other areas of your business. Whether it’s creating a product or building a better team or marketing, whatever, like, I can think of a hundred different things that are way more important than unnecessary, repetitive a back and forth chatting with potential buyers. So the clarity is, number one to keep in mind and being upfront is so, so important.
Closely related to that of course, is the number of steps involved in the purchasing process.
If somebody has to message you, then register for something once they get more details, then maybe think about it… you know all these things just lengthen the process, right? The number of steps are a lot longer.
Where possible, if you can afford to, have something like an e-commerce system in place. I’m talking about online products and services, if you go to a physical restaurant or store, then of course there are systems put in place right quite easily, but if it’s an online thing, then make sure there’s a way for a person to make that purchase as easily as possible.
If you can’t afford to have a shopping cart facility on your website, then that’s okay. I do understand not everybody will be able to do that. Or if you have regularly changing items, you know, products or services, then of course you can’t have that shopping cart facility set up very easily.
So in that case, let the ordering process have minimal steps by having the list, the price everything ready. So all a person needs to do is send you a list of what they want to order. And then there should be an easy payment link that they can pay through. That’s it. So that is a minimal number of steps. Minimal steps saves you time. That will give you so much more peace of mind.
The more systematised things are, the easier it will be for you in the long run as you grow.
In the short run too, but much more as your sales increases. The smooth ordering process is just going to serve you and really free up your mind, your bandwidth and everything.
Now how does a person contact you? This is the third thing. If you don’t have an e-commerce site set up, or even if you do and somebody needs to contact you. These days I see a lot of businesses integrate WhatsApp to their website and they’re like, you know, “you message us through WhatsApp”. That is the only way to contact the business… Which sucks! I mean, think about it, there are plenty people who do not like Meta. Who do not like to use WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram – any of these Meta services.
If WhatsApp is the only way for a person to get in touch with you to place the order, then assume you’ve lost them.
I am speaking about myself here, but I do know plenty other people. And you might not think that’s the case because everybody you know, or in your sphere, they might be used to WhatsApp and they may be using that. So you assume that yes, this is all that exists. But there are also plenty people outside that sphere. And only when you step out would you realise how many there are who would prefer otherwise. Though it is a smaller percentage than the WhatsApp crowd, you don’t want to lose your customers right?
So have alternate options available.
Now if it’s not something that is time sensitive, say a coaching service like the kind I offer, then people can drop you an email. Email is a good alternative way for people to get in touch with you when it’s not very time sensitive. You don’t need it immediately, so you can get an email, register, back and forth, that can happen.
But if it is time sensitive, then yes, you know, messaging is easy. Messaging does save everybody’s time, yours as well as the customer’s. So apart from WhatsApp, you have something additional available. A non-Meta product available. Say your Telegram or a Signal, something like that. So that way people have alternate ways of getting in touch with you to place their order or ask any questions that they have.
Oh, and when I was telling you about my coaching services and I was talking about placing the order quickly, I forgot to mention, if it is particularly a service where somebody books a time slot with you, then it’s very, very easy to have things set up automatically using freely available tools and resources out there. I for example have a Calendly account and I have it embedded on my website on my coaching page. You know, I do vegan business coaching and also food consultation, and these pages, they have the Calendly right there.
There’s a calendar, and a payment link also right there. So all a person needs to do is make the payment and then go to the calendar and book a time slot. That’s it.
There is absolutely no requirement of up and down email exchange. So once the person books the slot, I just drop them an email with the call link, because I don’t like to share my phone number publicly, which I suggest you don’t either. Haha So a good way to do it is use a free service like Zoom. I use Jitsi. Anything, you know, an easy video conferencing service or an audio conferencing service depending on what you like use that. It can be so easy!
I was recently talking to a friend of mine who runs a wellness centre and they have some really nice services like massage and Reiki healing and those kinds of things. And I was saying that they could easily you know, once they have their calendar and the payment, somebody can book the slot on the calendar, make the payment, and then just land up at that location on that particular day and time, and that’s it.
You can set it up in such a way that you know well in advance. How much ahead of time a person can book the appointment, you can set all those limits and everything and the person comes in for their service. Make use of these tools, you know, that really makes your life just so much easier and smoother.
And finally, a very, very important thing that I wanted to mention, and a lot of new businesses, particularly in the conscious business circles make this mistake where – they accept orders, they deliver the goods, the products and then they have to follow up for the payment receiving. And that is just not okay.
To be very honest, it’s good for you, as well as for your client, your customer, if payment is taken in advance.
You can make exceptions in very rare cases, but as far as possible, I suggest you take your payment in advance. And upon payment receipt the order gets confirmed. This is very key.
See sometimes people may forget. People may place an order, get the product, be very happy, and then forget that they haven’t paid. It could be a very genuine mistake. Then, you know, you have to follow up with them, but you feel hesitant to ask… which is again a big thing, right? Like yes, all of us feel hesitant to ask for what we are owed, which is not okay to begin with. But you you may still feel awkward, especially if you’re new in the business, new in this field, new doing whatever it is you’re doing. You’re still trying to build a particular brand for yourself. You want people to get to know you, and then you feel awkward. “Oh no! They haven’t paid me, how do I ask?”
First of all if that happens, you ask. That’s it. You obviously deserve to be paid for your service, your product, so ask. Don’t feel hesitant.
You can word it very nicely, very politely and say, “hey, this is the payment link, this is the amount you owe me”. That’s it, as simple as that. You don’t even have to go too much into details, or make it awkward. But let’s avoid the step entirely, right? Why even do that? Instead, if you have the payment upfront, then it becomes super easy.
As a customer honestly I prefer to pay upfront, because it’s out of my head, you know. Then later there’s no ill will, awkwardness, forgetfulness, and then me thinking, “oh, did I really not pay?” None of that, right? It saves me a lot of time if I’m able to pay up front.
And as a business owner, of course I don’t want to follow up with anybody. So it makes so much sense if I’m paid upfront. Because I’m paid, I’m prepared. And then I’m like, “Okay, ready! Here’s your service. Here’s your workshop. Here’s…” whatever it is, right? Because I’ve already been paid for it. So adapt this practice early on in your business, as early as possible, where you get paid upfront.
I’m not saying this must be the case in a restaurant or something, haha that of course doesn’t work. People come, sit, eat and pay, that’s a different matter. So obviously I’m not talking about that. But in most of the products or services, especially online ordering and things like that, it’s so important.
You know when I when I was talking about the very clear details? This should be a clear detail right at the beginning saying, “upon payment your order will get confirmed”. Once you do that, it becomes very, very smooth for both of you, both the parties. This is a key, key, key, thing. Very important.
I have been in the position where I’ve had to follow up for payments.
Like I said, some people may genuinely forget, but there are some people who want to just take you for a ride. I’ve had to follow up and ask again and again, and it’s so frustrating! It just adds a lot of mental and emotional burden. Why do you even want to deal with that? This is not even a topic worth a second thought, or time. It doesn’t deserve that kind of attention at all, having to ask to be paid. Nope. So don’t even let it be a big deal. Just make very sure that you’re paid in advance and then that solves everything, makes everything much, much smoother.
My own clients are entrepreneurs in the vegan sector. I’ve spoken about this before too, when you’re a conscious entrepreneur, you know, where your business is for more than just profits (like, profits are important, of course, but for more), for something bigger, a cause that is greater, to help a movement grow, you know, to be a part of that, when that is the case, often entrepreneurs want to make things a bit too customer oriented. They’re not that worried about their own peace of mind, which is not healthy in the long run at all.
I’m asked, “if I have too many systems in place, if I have processes in place, and I’m very strict about being paid upfront, won’t I lose customers?”
“Won’t people just not come to me because they would rather pay later, or they would rather chat with me and ask me a hundred questions rather than reading something, and following the steps to book a calendar link, or purchase online, and things like that?”
Yes in some cases, you could make a few exceptions. If you think it’s really needed, you need to take a call. You can do this with a lot of discretion. But most cases, if somebody will not follow the systems you’ve set in place, if somebody will not respect the boundary where they need to pay in advance – this is what it is, and this is how something is done – if they’re not able to respect that, or follow that, then honestly, they aren’t even your ideal client. They’re not your ideal customer.
Most of the time when somebody refuses to pay in advance, or if they haggle about that, then most of the time they are taking you on a ride. They want to take advantage of you. That’s what it is. Because if somebody wants a particular product or service, then what’s the hassle in paying in advance, right? Like what is their reason not to?
Unless of course, they’ve not had a good experience with you or something like that, you know. We’re not even going there. We are assuming that you are providing top notch service you know. Very, very good service, okay? So assuming that, then let your potential customers, clients also pay you in advance. That is very important.
So don’t be so afraid of losing business, losing opportunities, because when you waste time trying to deal with people who don’t respect your boundaries, you’re also, you know, not creating space to attract the people who will actually be respecting your boundaries, and following processes, and being polite, and all of that. You deserve that.
You are a great entrepreneur, service provider, you know, top notch products, great quality stuff, you are doing that. So that is of course very important. That is the basic thing, right? You have integrity, all of that. So when you have all that then you also deserve to have clients who have that equal amount of respect and integrity, for the processes, the systems and everything. So don’t be hesitant, don’t be afraid that you may lose business just by having these systems in place.
This is what I wanted to share about the smooth ordering process. I’ll be back next week. Continuing on with this series about keeping your customers delighted while also maintaining your own sanity and joy.
It’s very important that your customers are happy and you’re happy. Equally, equally important. Always keep that at the forefront of your mind.
Whenever you plan anything with your business. Whenever you take any decisions. Ask yourself, “are they going to be happy? Am I going to be happy?” Only then will your business grow, and succeed, and thrive. And you will continue to keep on finding joy in doing what you do.
All right, talk to you again really soon.
Transcribed using Otter
“I’m a Spiritual Vegan Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur. I read voraciously, find humour in most things, and believe kindness and authenticity can make this world a happier, loving place.
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Vegan cuisine and holistic business building are my two biggest passions. If you’re looking for guidance with vegan cooking, or want to grow your conscious business with joy and fulfilment explore ways we can work togetherhere.”