These days it’s vital to Make It Easy For Customers To Buy From You. But here’s an example of where a global payment processing company got it badly wrong:
In today’s snippet, I would like to tell you a story about something that happened to me last week, which I hope will resonate with you and help you to do something different to what happened.
So the story goes something like this. A client asked us to investigate payment gateways for his new e-commerce venture. There’s a whole load out there such as PayPal, and Sage Pay, and others. So we started doing some research into the types of payment gateways he could use, trying to find the best one, the most economical one etc. Obviously the one that’s easiest to use and that’s going to be good for his website and also good for him as a business owner.
So we thought that shouldn’t necessarily be a problem. So we started digging. We got a handful of websites together with different options. We looked at their costs. We looked at the ease of setting it up and the ease of managing the software.
No problem at all until we came to a world leader in online payments. We looked on their website, and we couldn’t find any pricing information. Couldn’t find any information about how the software is managed from the back end. Literally, their website didn’t tell us anything at all.
I thought, okay, well, I’ll get onto the online chat system and see if I could find out what it’s going to cost, and how straightforward it is going to be to set up and manage. So I got onto the online chat and told them what we were looking for, asked them for a price, and they said, “I’m sorry, you won’t be able to get a price like this. You’ll have to speak to our sales department.” I thought, okay. So I said, “Fine. Get them to give me a call.”
About half an hour later, somebody phones me up, and in our discussions, I said, “Well, this is what the situation is, this is the type of company, this is what they’re going to be selling. This is roughly the estimated turnover for the first year or so, number of transactions, average price per transaction.” And they said, “I’m sorry, I can’t give you a price over the phone. The customer is going to have to phone our sales department direct.” My next question was, “Well, what the heck is the point of you phoning me if you can’t actually help me? I told your customer service representative over the online chat what I wanted, and now you’re phoning me and telling me you can’t help at all.” So he said, “I’m sorry. That’s just the way we do things.” Okay. That’s great. “How about some of the technical aspects of it? Can you help me with that?” “No, sir. You’ll have to phone our technical support department.”
So at this point, I was getting just a little bit hacked off. My next question was, “So, actually, you’ve phoned me up, wasted about 20 minutes of my time, and you’ve been no help whatsoever, and the research that my client wants me to do on his behalf, he’s going to have to do himself, is that what you’re saying?” And he said, “That’s the way it is, sir. That’s our company policy.”
So I took down the necessary details of this company’s sales department, and their technical support number, and passed it onto my client, who, as you can imagine, was thrilled at the prospect of wasting time doing something which he should have been able to delegate.
But the point I’m going to make is this: This online payment gateway is a world leader, a huge name in online payments and they made it incredibly difficult for us just to make an inquiry. They are, actually, making it more difficult for their customers to do business with them than they could possibly realise. Because of this, I’m going to now be reluctant to recommend this company to other potential clients because they’re a pain in the rump to deal with.
Unfortunately, their systems are designed to help them and not their customers. They’re not designed to make the sales process nice and easy. They’re not designed to enable the flow of money into their direction. They’re, actually, putting up barriers for the sake of their own benefit, which make it more difficult for people to do business with them.
Now, I understand why they’re doing it — because they want to maximise the value from each potential client. But I also know that their pricing structure is quite straightforward, and they could have given me a guide price over the phone, which I could have passed onto the client. And, if they had done that, I probably would have recommended them as the supplier of choice. As it happens now, I’m reluctant to do that.
So to some extent, this company shot themselves in the foot because we’re doing more and more e-commerce sites in our web design business, and guess what? This company is not going to be a front-runner as a payment gateway anymore. Why? Because they’re a pain in the rump to deal with, and they’ve taken a very arrogant position that this is our company policy, and you will tow the line because we’ve got a dominant position in the market, and you know what?
What they’re effectively saying is that “We’re more important than you”.
To be honest, that’s a sad state of affairs, but it just made me wonder how many times we’ve been up against this kind of stupid system whereby their company policies prevent you from doing business with them. I think, more importantly, it made us look a little bit more inward and think, well, are there ways that we make it more difficult than it needs to be for our customers and potential customers to do business with us?
Now, websites are a complex product. It’s not just as straightforward as picking one off the shelf or just going online and buying it because of the way we work and because of the nature of the work, the stuff that we do. So I understand that it’s not, necessarily, a simple, straightforward transactional process in our business. But we’ve, actually, begun the process of analysis of thinking, well, at what point can we make it easier for people to do business with us?
That’s my urge for you. At what point can you Make It Easy For Customers To Buy From You? Are there things in your sales process, in your customer service process, that make it difficult for people to get in touch, find out information, get a price, actually give you some money? Don’t be like this other company and set up systems which make it hard for people to do business with you.
It was a very frustrating task because I wasted quite a bit of time. I had to write this information in the report I was writing to the client and, of course, no one was impressed. And if you want to know the name of the company, I can’t name them, but let’s just say it sounds like “Curled Pay.” You can probably work it out from there. Don’t be like them. Make it easy for your customers, your potential customers, to do business with you. I promise you, if you do that, word will get around, and people will talk, and your sales and marketing will improve.
I really hope that’s been useful. A bit of a rant, but a moral behind it. Don’t be like “Curled Pay,” but Make It Easy For Customers To Buy From You.
If you have similar experiences like this then it’d be great to hear from you in the comments below: