It’s hard to ask for help, isn’t it? We hate to admit we need help. It hurts our pride. We hate to let go of our independence and control. All of that is scary.
If it’s hard for you to ask for help, imagine how hard it is for your customers.
That makes it your job to make it easier for them to ask, or to help themselves. Here are a few ways to do that.
1. Provide self-service help
Don’t make them ask at all. Just let them help themselves.
- Post detailed descriptions of products online.
- Post descriptions of products in your store.
- Add more answers to your FAQ (frequently asked questions).
2. Make it easier to ask
Even if you think you’re easy to approach with questions, you can make it more user-friendly.
- Ask customers, “what questions can I help you with today?”
- Add a large, obvious link to your website: “Questions?? Ask them here.”
- With everything you sell, throw in 30 minutes of free question and answer time.
3. Help customers to help each other
Your customers are the real experts. They come up with ides you’ll never think of. By helping them to connect, you’ll benefit with more smart ideas.
- Be a social media mirror, and reflect customer stories back to your community.
- Open up comments on your website, and promote this opportunity to interact to your customers.
- Ask questions of your customers, and pass along questions others have asked you.
Keep in mind that customers have the same worries and feeling as you and me. They hate to admit they don’t know something. They don’t like to look ignorant. Just changing a few words in your approach can make it much easier for them. We found at our store that if we asked, “What can I help you find?” people would deflect that question. But when we say, “What can I help you locate?” customers seem to respond better. It feels less threatening. It’s not that you can’t find it, just that you can’t locate it right now.
If I simple word change like that can help in our store, what words can you change to help your customers?
Thanks to Susan T. Blake, @susantblake, for her tweet that inspired this post:
“And if it’s hard for us to ask for help, think how hard it is for our customers.”
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.