Customer satisfaction is essential if you hope to build long-term relationships with people. Although a quick sale is terrific, you never want to pressure a customer into making a purchase, just to pad your revenue numbers on the front end.
You should be doing everything you can to prevent buyer’s remorse in your customers so as to develop sustained relationships that expand value in your bottom line over the longer haul.
What is Buyer’s Remorse?
We’ve all experienced the excitement of shopping for something we really want. Whether it’s a new car or a pair of shoes, the notion of owning something that makes you happy produces an array of positive emotions.
But you’re also probably familiar with that sinking feeling that shows up after you’ve made some purchases. “Should I have really done that?” This sensation is known as buyer’s remorse and it has an understandably negative impact on how customers relate to a brand.
In order to comprehend how buyer’s remorse works, you have to dig deep and figure out what’s happening beneath the surface. According to Art Markham, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas, buyer’s remorse is rooted in two different processing systems: the avoidance motivational system and the approach system.
The avoidance motivational system is what produces the regret and guilt that are so often features of buyer’s remorse. This behavioral function is intended to keep you from making poor choices. The problems come when it takes a back seat to the approach system.
“When you shop, you’re often overwhelmed by the approach system,” Markham explains. “A new pair of shoes, a great dress, or a fantastic top make you think about how much you would like to own them. When you’re governed by approach motivation, your avoidance concerns play little role in the decision-making process.”
But once you’ve made the purchase, the approach system shuts down and, in some cases, avoidance concerns replace it. This is how buyer’s remorse emerges.
Five Ways to Prevent Buyer’s Remorse
From a business perspective, seeking to prevent buyer’s remorse among your customers is not only an ethical move, but it can also pay off in terms of a healthier brand reputation and long-term sales. Here are five effective strategies:
1. Understand the Triggers
Helping customers avoid buyer’s remorse requires you to understand what causes it. Though every individual is different, buyer’s remorse usually results from one of two key causes: (1) a lack of information, or (2) misleading information.
The key to preventing buyer’s remorse is to make sure the information you supply to shoppers is accurate and complete. If you can do this, then you dramatically reduce the risk of leading potential buyers astray.
2. Be Responsive
“Your prospects want to make fully informed purchase decisions with the least investment of their time,” says Andy Paul, a leading sales process expert.
“To make decisions, they need information. Commit to always being the first seller with the answer to their questions. (Remember, being responsive is not the same as being the first to respond. Incomplete answers are the same as not responding at all.)”
If you don’t have someone on your staff who’s fully dedicated to online customer service, you might want to think about creating such a position. Between social media, emails, and all the other digital touch points between your brand and customers, having someone on staff who can respond to questions quickly and accurately can make a huge difference in your branding image and sales.
3. Educate Customers
You obviously don’t want to discourage customers from making purchases. But at the same time, you have a responsibility to provide key information that will help them make a decision.
This is where the idea of creating educational content comes into play. You can see an example of good educational content that helps potential buyers understand the purchase process better by studying this article from Diamondere, a leader in online jewelry sales.
This company does an outstanding job of being up front and honest with customers throughout the process -- even if it means losing a sale here and there. Diamondere figures that long-term, satisfied customers are preferable to quick sales that result in dissatisfied clients and negative word of mouth.
Your company blog is a great place to educate potential customers, as is your social media feed. Another benefit of a consistent investment in educational content is that you’ll gradually become recognized as a thought leader in your niche.
4. Get Rid of Fine Print
Everyone is familiar with those drug commercials that run on TV in which the fine print fills up half the screen and a spokesperson spends quite a bit of the ad time hastily listing all the possible negative side effects. This is a perfect example of what not to do.
Fine print is almost always designed to hide some less-than-satisfactory item of information, so it’s usually not a great idea. If you truly want to help customers avoid buyer’s remorse, get rid of the fine print and explain everything in regular terms.
5. Under-promise and Over-deliver
As the old saying goes, you should under-promise and over-deliver. If you do this, you’ll rarely encounter a customer who’s plagued by buyer’s remorse. The person may even end up being more satisfied with the purchase than he or she originally anticipated, which is obviously great for your future relationship.
Prioritize Customer Satisfaction Above All Else
These tips and suggestions may seem like a lot to remember, but at the end of the day, all you really need to do is prioritize customer satisfaction above all else. If you’re committed to ensuring your customers are happy, you’ll find yourself naturally doing the things it takes to prevent buyer’s remorse from ever rearing its unwelcome head.