Buyer Behavior has changed for 2021

Buyer behavior changed in 2020 and there is no going back.

Everyone had to do a lot of shifting in 2020, and it changed our buyer behavior. It altered our expectations and values. 

That means it’s time for businesses, and marketers need to accommodate the changes to stay competitive.

We’ve changed how we buy

Our world has shifted, and we’ve had to change with it.  Even now, countries are again in lockdown across the globe, and the virus with its variants rages. The cycle continues. 

The pandemic has made us value health and safety like never before.

In areas where the cases are dropping and vaccinations completed, people are ready to go back inside more businesses. But they want to do it safely. 

If they see a business slacking on their cleaning protocols or not protecting their staff, they are highly likely to go elsewhere next time. They’ll probably tell others to avoid the place too.  

We’re not going back into businesses physically just because we can.  We’ve missed interacting with products as well as people outside our household. 

However, our expectations have changed.  If we don’t have a positive customer experience, we won’t return.  

Our expectations for convenience have increased. Curbside pickup, delivery, and virtual shopping assistance. You can get online help via AI chat, or a live style expert, or virtually try on cosmetics. 

No more wasted time in a doctor’s office when a virtual visit will do. We’ll do it online, thank you very much.  

Forbes Study on Buyer Behavior

In December of 2020, Forbes surveyed 1000 consumers.  They asked questions to determine how things had changed and if they were positive or negative.  The study looked at both online and offline experiences.  In January, they published their findings.

Every business needs to accommodate and embrace what buyers want, need, and expect in 2021 to stay competitive.  A big part of this will be rebuilding brand loyalty.  

Something to keep in mind

While the statistical findings are intriguing, one jumped at me. Brand loyalty took a massive shot in the foot last year.  People might not have been able to order their favorite brands, so they substituted.  Supply chain shortages have compounded this problem.  

Even more important than looking at the trend statistics is implementing proactive techniques to be the solution your target audience wants.  

Three techniques to capitalize on 2021 buyer behavior

There are three things buyers are wanting. Provide all of them, and you’ll go a long way to building brand loyalty. The loyalty that keeps customers returning and staying with you during whatever the next crisis might be.

Three keys to getting them and keeping them are health and safety, positive experiences, and convenience.

Health and safety

If there is one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that we each have to watch out for our health.  As we go back inside stores, shoppers are observing and critiquing health and safety standards.

While plastic dividers felt a bit awkward in the beginning, they are now the norm.  A business working without them would make most people uncomfortable—the same for staff not wearing masks.

Consumers want to see you are looking out for both them—and the employees that are taking care of them.  

People expect sanitation stations. Disinfecting counter services or any areas where the customer might touch between customers is crucial.

Buyers want positive experiences

From the moment they enter a business or visit an online store, they are subliminally noting the experience. They pay attention to the ambiance, friendliness, efficiency, and a way to get questions answered.

We’ve become a lot less patient with poor service however it manifests.

We’re also more socially conscious, and we want to see your staff well taken care of too.  

Online buyers have the same standards, and there is a lot of room for improvement. Evaluate everything from virtual aids to help buyers make a selection to improved customer service response. 

Key to online success will be fresh, relevant quality content. Everything: blog posts, articles, emails, social posts. The big boys like Pepsi and American Express and Apple are making massive investments in new content. Even Facebook is getting into content with the ability to post newsletters.

Both strictly e-commerce and brick and mortar capitalizing via the increase in online purchasing need to ramp up their content.

Solicit feedback from buyers. Implement short, easy-to-do “how did we do” surveys. 

A positive experience is without friction. Sometimes friction can be hard to see from the inside. Let your buyers help you smooth them out. 

Brick and mortar businesses need to move to touchless checkout. That could be self-checkout or contact-free payment processing.    

Shoppers notice things like clean pens, a sanitized payment device, and the check-out area wiped down between customers. 

Convenience is the new normal.

We’ve become accustomed to more customer service in the form of curbside pickup and virtual doctor appointments. These are things that probably should have been offered long ago. 

Those with physical challenges and or who don’t drive wish they had been.  

Inclusivity is now having things convenient for all.   

If convenience factors were a temporary add-on, look for ways to embrace them and improve them, so they become permanent. 

Look for new ways to enhance convenience, so you stand out from the competition. Buyers will reward you for it where it counts…in your cash register.


The leap has happened. Online purchasing has already blasted past 2021 forecasts. Your quality online content is critical to stay competitive. Ready to attract new buyers, increase lifetime buyer value, build sales, and more engagement? You need quality content. Let’s have a quick chat. You can message me: Judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

Personalization Versus Customer Experience

We used to want personalization. Now we need more. We need positive customer experiences.

Personalization is something companies like Amazon, Sephora, and Nike have trained us to expect.  It’s no longer enough to be customer-centric. We want experiences— a positive customer experience. That goes beyond personalization. 

In this time of massive upheaval and uncertainty, we’re looking for easy. Things that simplify our lives. People want easier, healthier, safer, more rewarding, and help us get things done. 

While we’re happy with our experiences in some areas, we continue to feel neglected and frustrated in others.

Follow the trend that’s working

We don’t need to reinvent or recreate the wheel in our marketing. Just look at what’s already earning companies like Amazon and Sophora millions.

These companies and many more are investing and involving more AI and analytic data to improve the customer experience. Amazon has been a leader in this. 

When you look for something, Amazon includes what other people who searched for the same item also considered. They show you what people who bought this item also purchased.  Subtle, helpful, and boosting the value of your order with add-ons. 

Sephora hasn’t become the worlds leading specialty beauty retailer by accident.  They started incorporating AI in the early 2000s.  Using various tech tools, they personalize everything from their choices for you to their 1:1 loyalty rewards.

The long-term goal for Sephora is to continue to enhance the virtual and in-store customer experiences. Not only will they help you shop virtually, but you can also try the makeup on virtually. 

Nike has innovated, so you can now design your own sneaker. They have a 3D platform that allows you to create a sneaker that fits perfectly and matches your unique style. Fans love the option.  

They also love the experience in the personalized NikePlus loyalty program. Fans get personalized benefits, product recommendations, and the ability to check and see if their favorite styles, colors, and sizes are available.    

The clock is ticking.

Customers used to make buying decisions based on loyalty or price. Those things are changing. More and more make those decisions based on the experience you offer them.  

In a recent survey by SuperOffice, they asked 1920 business professionals what their number one business priority is for the next five years.  By a distinct margin over product or product, customer experience came in at 45.9%.

Thought leaders say businesses who have unsatisfactory experiences are headed for trouble. They will start to see their client base erode if they don’t make the technical changes to improve it.

What you need to keep in mind

The level of stress doesn’t look to be dropping anytime soon.  Stressed shoppers are less friction tolerant.  If your buying experience is complicated, if your customer support is lackluster—you have challenges to solve.  

More than ever before, buyers don’t want transactions that are company sales-centric. It makes them feel like you’re just after their money.

Now I know you need their purchases to run your business, but the experience shouldn’t feel that way.  Feelings are pure emotion. You want to keep those feelings positive if you want to earn their trust, purchases, and loyalty.

Three ways to enhance customer experience

Companies with the most significant growth and success embrace the customer experience from the top down.  Everyone on the team needs to understand and have the power to improve it. For some businesses, it may be outside-the-box thinking. It may involve more work and initial expense. But if you look at the potential future revenues, it’s well worth the effort.

Think from the customer point of view

Start by thinking from the customer’s point of view.  Sometimes we are so close to the process that we can’t see the problems an outsider sees.  

Ask your customers, “what could we do better?”  “How could we make shopping easier?” In essence, how can you help them?  

If you have a customer service team, ask them.  The marketing and management teams need to know what customer service is hearing.  What the customers need and want that they aren’t getting.  

Customers’ questions and their problems provide the answers to improving your sales.   

Enhance customer service

Lousy customer service is a pet peeve of mine when I’m shopping online or in-person.  I understand company limitations but I also handle customer service for one of my clients. I get the challenges, but I know the value. I’ve gotten those evening and weekend calls where I’ve rescued a customer and solved their issue.

We recently went to Best Buy to find a laptop.  The store was busy. The staff was few and far between.  We found something suitable, but without the ability to get questions answered, they lost the sale.  

When we checked out, we mentioned the lack of staff to our checker. His reply, Best Buy just let another 500 people go. Team members are going to be in short supply for the foreseeable future.  In the end, Best Buy will lose its status as a provider of excellent customer care, and they will lose money.

Both brick and mortar and eCommerce businesses need to step up their customer service.  With all the options out there, companies need to find a way to expand the routes and time frame where people can get help.  

Look for ways to provide support beyond a few business hours.  Many times companies on the east and west coast ignore the three-hour time difference.  So if I’m on the west coast, I’d better not need anything after 2 PM local time.  

Expand your FAQ. Add an AI help option. Outsource or give someone a part-time job, so you are more accessible.  Make sure your website is easily searchable so I can find what I need. If your competition is more available, it will cost you money.

Analytics and AI

The most successful businesses are making use of technology to track shopping patterns and offer recommendations.  Per 2020 research by Gartner, we conduct about 85% of all purchases without assistance.  

That means there is a significant 15% opportunity to increase revenues by helping shoppers solve those issues.

Companies have many new ways to allow their customer support team to automate repetitive or straightforward tasks using artificial intelligence. Automation enables them to reduce costs and empower shoppers to solve their issues. Learn about your options and employ them. 

It is essential to do this in a transparent way to maintain trust and credibility.

Chatbots or voice-enabled chatbots are a top choice for businesses. Their effectiveness ties directly to the quality and comprehensiveness of the dialogue provided to the bot.

My final tip is to make sure your system works on all channels across all types of devices. More and more people are switching back and forth from phones to tablets to laptops and computers. Your system needs to deliver in all.


Looking to increase lifetime buyer value, build sales, and more engagement? Let’s have a quick chat. You can message me: Judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

How to Use Videos to Get More Sales and Leads

video marketing uses videos to increase sales and leads by sharing value

Video has steadily grown in popularity with both marketers and consumers. The pandemic boosted video watching even more. Videos are used in multiple ways—all of which lead to growing your bottom line.

Wyzowl Reported

Wyzowl recently released the results of their annual State of Video Marketing survey. They’ve been putting these out every year since 2015. They interview both marketers and consumers to get the full picture.

Here are their top findings this year: 

  • Video is a top priority for marketers, and they plan on spending more money and using more video this year.
  • Marketers and consumers agreed on the value of videos. But the budget wasn’t always there in 2020. Projects were delayed or canceled.
  • In large part, due to the pandemic, people are watching even more videos.
  • 86% of businesses now use some form of video.
  • 87% of video marketers feel that it gave them a positive ROI. This is more than double the number that felt that way back in 2015.
  • More than 80% of the marketers who responded felt video has a direct positive impact on sales.
  • 84% reported videos were an effective tool for lead generation.
  • A striking 94% found videos helped consumers better understand their product.

The pandemic isolation heavily impacted consumers and they turned to online channels for information, and video was their top choice to learn about products or services.

Marketers found It helped their businesses gain brand awareness, educate consumers and increase sales. 

The trend to market with more videos is predicted to continue for the foreseeable future.  

The trend to video is important for every brand.

I’ve watched and sometimes resisted the video trend as it wasn’t my personal favorite way to gain information. However, I have seen its power and effectiveness. It’s something I definitely bring up in client discussions.  

What I’ve observed is that videos don’t need to be even 30 thirty minutes long. People like to learn in short quick to digest snippets. Length needs to be long enough to achieve the goal—but short enough to maintain interest. Inspirations are less than a minute. Showing how to do something may take several minutes. It depends on what you need the individual video to do.

One thing all videos need is the right person sharing the right message to the right audience.  

Here’s a key tip

Your website might be where you think you want to showcase your videos, but it’s important to post them where your prospect spends their time. The two most popular social channels are Facebook and YouTube. The key difference is the search capability of YouTube. 

And like all other social marketing, keep them fresh and relevant. Something four years old as the most recent video may still be relevant, but it certainly isn’t fresh.

Three types of effective videos

There are multiple ways to put the power of videos to work for your brand. Each type has its own specific goals, and all are effective.

Explainer videos

This type of video helps the prospect understand how a product works, how to use it, or make a complex topic easier to understand. They are information-focused—content versus sales copy. 

Need to know the best way to build, repair or use something? There are videos for that. Just like everything else, some do a better job than others.  

Because of the visual component, videos are easier to learn from than a set of instructions…especially if the instructions are not well written.

Check out Martha Stewart’s video on how to fold a fitted sheet. Real people showing how to do something that frustrates many. Cooking videos abound. Whether the topic is fashion, beauty, home tasks, or marketing, the value is the same.

Explainer people that feature people should come across as live and natural, not tightly scripted or stilted. 

Sales videos

These videos tend to run longer to achieve their goal. Keep in mind that the longer it runs, the higher the drop-off can be. 

It is a challenge to keep them watching for 20, 30 minutes, or longer. 

While there are some highly successful longer videos, they require a level of commitment by the viewer. They also are enhanced with a well-trained copywriter.

Sales videos, like their predecessor long-form sales copy, help the viewer along the buyer’s journey. They explain a problem and show how to solve it. 

We enjoy the act of buying. We hate to be sold to. That makes the selling process longer and be somewhat complex. 

Want to sell something in a video? I recommend you work with a professional persuasion-trained copywriter to get the maximum results.

Webinars

The popularity of webinars as a form of video marketing emerged during the pandemic. We couldn’t get together, so we went online. Marketers reported them a huge success. At the same time, 46% of marketers used them in 2020; now, 62% plan on incorporating them.   

Live they engage well with the audience. Recorded, they allow people to watch again or at a more convenient time.  

Webinars are useful for online training, individually or as a course. Often there are multiple parts to the course. They can teach something new or act as support training, answering questions, and interaction with students. 

A research content webinar offers the viewers value while they interact with the presenter. Make use of the webinar platform tools, and you can gather data on new trends or insights. Be interactive and ask questions. What you learn from the audience you can use to create new content or products. The things they want or need.

Most webinars aren’t difficult to create. Follow best practices in topic selection. Then determine your format and prepare your content. Then you’re ready to practice, schedule, and promote the webinar. Afterward, evaluate your data and follow up with your audience.

Full report available here: https://www.wyzowl.com/video-marketing-statistics/


Looking to increase lifetime buyer value, build sales, and more engagement? Let’s have a quick chat. You can message me: Judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

Revenge Spending

In 2021 consumers are ready to take revenge on the pandemic and spend pent up savings.

Vaccines and stimulus checks have people thinking of moving toward what we used to think of as normal. Vaccinated seniors are setting the trend to get even with the pandemic by spending money and getting out. They call it revenge spending.

Attending events, going shopping, and travel are rising to the top of consciousness.  People want liberation. 

Revenge spending will typify 2021

Last week an article came across my desk about “revenge shopping” as a rebound from the pandemic. At first, I laughed, then realized I had participated.

It turns out that in China, one of the first places to reopen their malls, sales spiked through the roof. Not only were they buying basics, but they also went for luxury items like Louis Vuitton bags.

After the January stimulus checks started going out, department store sales increased 21% in the US. 

Tired of wearing sweatpants, chasing kids, and working from home, women want to go out. They want to dress up and wear something new.  Even the trip into a store is starting to sound exciting.  

Depending on location, online shopping is still the norm. I ordered something last week and actually went into the store to pick the item up and try it on.  It was just the sales staff and me, which felt a little odd. Changing room signs proclaimed: Freshly Sanitized. It felt so decadent and liberating even with social distancing and wearing masks.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Bloomberg reports that during 2020 many people saved money. No trips, events, or outings. Lots less discretionary purchases. They estimate there is $1.7 trillion waiting to be spent.  

It’s time for businesses to get on board in the right ways for the coming surge.

Consumers are ready for revenge.

I dove through every report I could find on this topic, and there are many reports and articles out there.  It won’t happen all at once, and the timing will be different based on location. But based on conversations with clients, colleagues, and friends, people are ready for change. 

Businesses in the hardest-hit sectors, like restaurants, hospitality, and apparel, are ready too. It was a very long, tough 2020.  

I also researched how our buying patterns have changed and what we expect from businesses moving forward.  There are some shifts that effective marketers are already implementing, and it can help your business too. 

One thing to keep in mind

Consumers are tired of the sea of useless information. Regardless of where your content is, it must have value if you want to keep their attention.  Value equals helpful information.  

I replied to an email a company sent me complimenting them on its content.  It provided useful information on an alternative way to deal with seasonal allergies. Something they don’t even sell!   Unheard of— but very refreshing.

Today’s buyer is looking for authenticity and value.  We also are craving connection. For most of us, it’s been too long since we’ve visited with family and friends.  Without social media and virtual visiting, the year would have been much worse.  

Ramp up sales with these three techniques

To maximize sales, we need to engage and connect with customers where they are looking for information. That means now, and we need to make sure and have the right presence the right way on social media.  

We need to have conversations with prospects. We need to respect what they are looking for, including the increased focus on social consciousness.

Social media

Dependence on social media grew in 2020, and we started using it in new ways. Pre-pandemic social focused on status updates—things like sharing selfies, where we’d been, and what we’d done. 

Today that’s shifted to social being a key place to find solutions. Have a question? Someone has an answer, just post it. Need a solution? Social is where we go.

We want those solutions to reflect our increased need and desire for value and wellbeing. Users need simple ways to cope and manage stress, working from home, parenting issues, or managing a flex work schedule.  They want to know how to take a vacation in the COVID environment.

If you or your product is a solution, you need to be on social media and help them find you. That means more than having a Facebook business page with periodic product posts. It means having conversations.  It even has a new title…

Conversational Commerce

When we were forced to shift to online buying, we lost something. We lost connection with people, and we lost the ability to ask questions or get advice.  When you go into a store, there is usually someone you can ask.  Online? Not so much. 

Conversation Commerce, also called C-Commerce, (CC), is working to fill that need.  It’s considered any way you connect with your buyers using conversation.  

Your CC could be an AI-driven chatbot, a person you can chat with online or via phone, or another messaging program like WhatsApp. Even Alexa is included because of the way you use words to tell her what to do.

The process puts the customer in control. They reach out and initiate the conversation. They hope you will guide them to the right purchase. If no one is there or doesn’t respond promptly to messages, they’ll look elsewhere.

As the quality of these interfaces increase, the process will become even more valuable.  If you’re stuck with a poor-quality chatbot, replace it or go back to a person.  

IT Cosmetics uses live chat. Their phone lines and chat lines are open 9-5 Eastern, six days a week.  If you’re on the opposite side of the country, it’s not a perfect answer, but it’s better than a chatbot that has limited capabilities. 

If your chatbot can only respond to specifically limited choices, the shopper is left stuck and frustrated. It feels like going into a department store with no salespeople. If you can’t get the help you need, you leave with a negative feeling.

Globally, 84% of people surveyed said customer support is equally essential to what is sold. That makes it critical to get conversations going and help your shoppers.  

Revenge shopping will embrace social consciousness

2020 brought lots of changes, including the trend for social consciousness. From mental health to equality, social justice, caring for the planet, and inclusivity, it’s all part of the package. Awareness is accelerating even more in 2021.

Social consciousness isn’t something a business can afford to ignore. It’s not going to go away, and it’s part of the new normal. Hiding your values isn’t a path to success.

Sharing your position is also a way to connect more emotionally with buyers. When you develop and share a mission-driven campaign to help people or the planet, you build connections. They become your avid fan because your message resonates with them.   

Getting prepared with social media, enhancing conversational commerce, and embracing social consciousness will position you to tap into the coming spend.


Looking to increase lifetime buyer value, build sales, and more engagement? Let’s have a quick chat. You can message me: Judith@jculpcreativecopy.com

Quality Content Grows Sales 300% Faster

Quality content drives sales when it extends across all your marketing.

The quickest way to increase sales is to focus on quality content. It’s a technique marketers know but many businesses don’t quite get right.  

People visit your website looking for something. They come in during different stages of their buying journey.   They may be trying to see if there is a solution for a problem they have.  For those in the second stage, they are trying to decide which solution is best. When they move to the third stage – they are making the decision to buy.

Help them find the information they need—easily

Since we’re all spending a lot more time at home, one of the most popular past-times has become home improvement projects.  

I was recently looking for landscaping plants to fill in some major changes we’d made.  I had a list of criteria. Easy to grow, tolerant of my sun exposure, and color.  I knew the size specifications and style theme I was looking for—an English garden type of feel.

Oregon can be a bit grey during the winter.  So I needed year-round color with different plant varieties. 

Once I narrowed my list down, I started looking to see who carried them. 

That step proved to be a bigger challenge than I expected.  All the locals seem to carry a narrow selection of the same popular varieties.  They carried current bloomers, but not what I’d need to complete the goal.

I finally found a website that shipped plants. I could tell by the home page tabs they carried a wide selection. The problem was you couldn’t search by a specific plant or plant type. There wasn’t a search engine, only dropdowns with general categories. 

“Shrubs” was as close as I could get to heather. I had to search through dozens of pages.  If my middle name wasn’t “Persistent”, I’d have just closed the tab. It certainly wasn’t user-friendly. I thought of calling them, but there was no one available. 

A huge complicated website, no search tools, limited customer support. Lots of content, but the quality suffered.

What marketing strategists know

As the one in my family who does most of the shopping, content really matters to me.  The websites that get me back, (unless I have no alternative,) make the experience easy.  

In my copywriter marketer work for clients, I keep that shopper’s desire in the back of my mind.

The information and content need to be useful and user-friendly.  

Here’s a secret about “content”

The word content has two meanings.  We think of content as the article or blog. But the other meaning is an emotion—happiness or satisfaction.

Ideally, the article will give the reader both. It will provide quality useful information and happiness with what you shared and how you presented it.

You’ll lose sales if they can’t find necessary information – they won’t be content. If they can’t easily access the information they want…they won’t like you and if they don’t like you – forget the purchase.

3 tips for value content

To maximize your marketing investment, you need quality useful content that focuses on your customer’s needs.  You need the right content in the places they will find it. And you need to make sure it’s not undermining you.

Focus on your customer

All sales go back to the customer.  Everything you put on your website, every message you put out there should focus on your ideal customer—the person who wants and needs your product.

Start with questions they might have. Answer them with the right content.  Think about what they need to know, what validation they need, and how it’s going to benefit them. 

People need to see benefits first to trigger the thought to buy. Then they subliminally need that thought validated with support information.  

What content do you need?

Content is made up of various parts. Keep in mind you’re trying to give them more than a product—you’re trying to trigger happiness and satisfaction.  

That means they want information about your business. In a recent survey, the number one thing consumers said they want is your contact information! A whopping 62% put it at the top of their list.

The second most important item was the “About You” page.  Rounding out the top three were social media icons so they could check out what others were saying about you.  They are looking for transparency and why you should be their choice.

You can’t neglect product information, educational articles, and success stories. All are important to help them along the buyers’ path.  

A blog is one of your best avenues to share high-quality information that’s tied to the products or services you offer. The blog can help you expand your audience, increase conversions and enhance brand awareness.

Consumers are becoming leery of promises that sound too good.  If you sell them hype, you’ll only get a one-time sale.

Where does content need to be?

You need content beyond your website to build the know, like, and trust factors that trigger sales.  You need to put it in places your ideal customers hang out. That goes back to really knowing your customer.  

Depending on their demographics it might be Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  If you’re making use of video content, you’ll include a YouTube channel. You can also offer shopping right on your Facebook and Instagram pages.  

Share posts with graphics and snippets of a blog or article located on your website. Include a link to drive traffic so they can read the full article.

Get rid of placeholder words

If you’ve run out of time and your website still has WordPress filler words like Lorem ipsum, it’s time to get help. Many people don’t realize these placeholders in Latin are visible to the public. They destroy your credibility.

If you don’t have the time or the skills, you need a good copywriter who can share messages to increase your sales and make your readers “content.” Need to improve your ROI with quality content? https://www.jculpcreativecopy.com/

Transactional is so 2019

The business-centric transactional approach is dated. Customers want a better experience.

Are you at risk of becoming a dinosaur? Customers are tired of the transactional approach.

A transaction focus is business-centric.  Spending more time online in 2020 buyers started getting more picky. They want their shopping experience to be easy and feel good. In 2021 and moving forward, every business needs to become more customer-centric.

Internet catastrophe

When my internet quit working recently, it felt like a catastrophe.  I’m internet-dependent. E-commerce, social marketing, emails. Many of my resource files live on a cloud.  

The projects I needed to complete had most of their data stored on Google Drive or One Drive.

I tried to resolve the issue by re-setting up my router. It took me about an hour, and I got Wi-Fi restored. Yay!  Then, less than two hours later, while I was on a zoom call—it went out again. My feeling of success disappeared.

I called the cable company and got an automated Virtual Assistant. In her rather irritating AI voice, she asked for my identification so she could bring up my account.

I provided the proper identification, and the Virtual Assistant said, “I see your internet is offline. Please unplug the router and then plug it back in to make it restart. I’ll text you 10 minutes to see if the issue is resolved. If not, I’ll connect you with support. Is that okay?”

I agreed, and she disconnected.

Ten minutes later, I got a text: “It looks like there are still some issues with your Services. We’ll text you soon to schedule a tech visit at a time that works for you.”

I checked the router. All the lights were blinking. I restarted the computer. No internet. 

Another text popped up: “x/29 is the earliest date for an appointment in your area.   

“Reply with a number below (1-4) to pick a time:

“1 for 1-3 PM

“2 for 2-4 PM

“3 for 3-5 PM

“4 for more options or to be waitlisted.

“Or reply with a later date (MM/DD)

“Thank you, your scheduled appointment is confirmed.

“Txt Help or Stop

“Msg & Data Rates may apply.”

Zero option to talk to a person or enter anything else that wasn’t a listed choice. Whatever happened to friendly customer service?

Consumers try to avoid transactional companies.

Based on every research study I can find on the topic, consumers are frustrated with a business-centric approach.  

As consumers, we feel frustrated when we can’t get answers. Unfortunately, for things like the internet and cable, they are all pretty much alike and they are very business-centric. Transactional. 

(I see a huge opportunity here waiting for someone to take advantage of it.)

As a copywriter marketer, I know a transactional approach flies directly into the face of the user experience.  It may be straightforward, but it doesn’t make you feel good.

I’m continually reviewing different company websites both in my copywriting work and for personal shopping.  If I see a poor user experience still hanging around, I look elsewhere. I go shopping for a friendlier option. Like most people, how I’m treated is more important than the price for the same item.  

I’m not alone.  A 2019 report by SalesForce shared that $62 Billion is  lost annually from poor customer experiences. Half of all Americans will take their business elsewhere, 91% without ever complaining.

When I see a business  entrenched in a transactional approach, and determined to stay business-centric, I can do little to help them. If they are ready for change, we can ramp up their sales and keep more customers.

Here’s a secret.

Becoming customer-centric isn’t difficult or hugely expensive.  

Implement changes to help shoppers engage with your brand.

Focus on making shopping easier.  Eliminate roadblocks that make the consumer go “What?” Clarity and simplicity. Make customers feel you care about them.

Three techniques to ditching transactional.

Here are three ways to enhance the customer experience. You can have your team handle them or do it yourself. 

The caution there is you need to know what a good user experience looks, and reads, like to make sure your message does the job.  To maximize your success, put this task in the hands of someone who understands UX.

Customize email automation

Most businesses use email automation to let customers know they received their order, when it shipped, etc.  Platforms typically have generic emails in place for easy use.  The problem is these emails are purely transactional.  

Revise these and personalize them.  Adding the purchaser’s first name is essential.  You recognize them as human beings.  We humans put a lot of value in being recognized and appreciated.

Make sure the wording thanks them for their purchase and let them know what future emails to expect. 

Ever place an order, and you get the confirmation and then silence?  

Add an email following the confirmation. Have it provide answers to frequently asked questions. Share more details on how  to get the best results.

Nurture new buyers with knowledge that empowers them.  By sharing in an email sequence, you can reduce calls or emails to customer service and reduce returns.

Personalize shipping notices. Include a tracking number so buyers can follow the purchase to delivery.  It’s helpful if you include the name of the shipping company.  Many businesses use USPS Priority Mail, UPS, or Federal Express, but they often just provide a tracking number. Since early in 2020, I’ve noticed increased lesser-known delivery services.  Let them know how it is arriving. 

A few days after the package delivery, send an email to ask if there are any questions. Let them know the best way to get those questions answered.  This is also the ideal time to ask for a testimonial or review.

Make customers feel good.

If something looks good, tastes good, or feels good, our brain drives us to repeat it. Repeat sales are golden.

Go conversational and be readable.

Take a serious look at the copy on your website, blogs, and social. Content needs to be scannable and friendly in tone. It needs to be respectful. Avoid any wording that hints at talking down to the reader. 

Look for ways to make your copy easier and quicker to read.

White space allows the brain to take a breath. The lack of it requires more concentration to read it – brain drain.  That’s what makes people click away from your page or website.

Both B2B and B2C need white space. Purchasing agents may not be engineers. They want to scan your submission and share it with the right people.

It’s all about making things easy for the person viewing your page.

Ramp up customer service

Quality customer service is high on the list of buyers’ wants. In the last 12 months, it has become more important than ever before.  Many consider it essential if you want to keep their business. 

Every business needs to view customer service as an opportunity to build long-term relationships with loyal customers.  View them as an imposition, and you won’t have to worry about them again.  They’ll be gone to your competition. 

What shoppers want.

Location. After several negative experiences, I want to know a business’s geographical location.  It gives me clues on how I’ll interact with the company and how quickly my product will arrive.

Do you offer chat? If so, what hours?  In the US, there is a six-hour time difference between the east coast and Hawaii.  That’s huge when you’re trying to connect with someone who is only available for limited hours. Providing your geographical location at least gives clues.

If you have a customer service phone line, showcase it. Make it easily found on every page—not hidden in the tiny print at the bottom. A contact page is okay, but the more clicks the shopper has to do, the more it slows them down.  Keep it easy.  

If you only accept email questions, be sure to give them an idea of how quickly you’ll get back to them.  

I’ve waited a month to get a response. How long do you want to wait?

When I work with clients

I start with customer service and learn why shoppers reach out. Then we work to customize emails and answer questions before the customer knows they have them. If you need help improving your customer experience, you can reach me via www.jculpcreativecopy.com.