Reduce Customer Anxiety to Increase Sales Conversions

In an Internet world surrounded by phishing scams, identity theft, and viruses, everyone is concerned about the risks associated with placing an order or signing up for a newsletter or product information. Even customers of large companies with well known brands have anxiety issues. If you fail to deal with anxiety on your site, you’ll leave money on the table.

Start from the point of view that people have no idea who you are. Then do all you can to establish credibility and remove fears be they product fears, transaction fears or fears about your company’s credibility.

What reduces anxiety?

  • A professional site and user experience. Clear messages, using navigation categories people expect, where they expect them, at the same time complying with usability guidelines and web conventions.
  • A clear privacy policy statement which outlines in simple terms how information will be used.
  • Logos and links that demonstrate your adherence to industry, security, business and privacy standards.
  • Timely and relevant testimonials calm fears about unknown products and companies.
  • Free trials, clear guarantees/warranties and return policies.
  • Support tools which make buying easy, accessibility to policies, and kind error messages.
  • Claims that are substantiated.
  • Full information disclosure about product, company and transaction tools. If it breaks up the sales path, hyperlink out to pages with more detailed information.
  • Contact information with names, phone numbers, and preferably photos.
  • Delivery and availability information for products. For information, newsletter, or lead generation sites provide sample newsletters, delivery schedule and “what will happen next” statements as well as simple and clear policy statements on how information will be used and of course what the total cost of the purchase will be including shipping.

Anxiety increasers

  • No “contact us” link on the home page.
  • Unexpected redirects to sites outside of the initial domain.
  • Poor spelling, grammar, information hierarchy, usability.
  • Lengthy, complex forms asking for unnecessary information.
  • Lack of a secure transaction server.
  • Omitted information that is essential to product selection.
  • Shipping price policies that seem hidden or deceptive.

Anxiety is one of the largest reasons why people fail to convert. As you start to reduce anxiety on your site, sales will increase. Identifying anxiety issues on your site is best done with direct user testing however it can be a challenge for the beginning tester to recognize anxiety on people you are paying as test subjects . When looking at anxiety, we question people extensively about their feelings about the site.  It helps that my partner has a PhD in psychology. Body language is one of the best indicators. We “index” feelings about anxiety or frustration by artificially increasing it and watching to see when and where they give up. One simple technique is to ask them to do something on the site which is impossible. How do they express their frustation and what behavioral signs appear before they give up? Understanding these clues help you to better understand your test results. While we do want to empower you to do your own testing, if you feel that you have significant anxiety issues, often (though not always) indicated by high cart abandonment rates, please consider working with a consultant specifically experienced in understanding these issues. Traffic reports rarely identify anxiety issues other then on very general terms while direct user testing (done well) can show exactly where the problems lie, and if you ask the right questions, what can be done to correct these issues. This is one area where the ROI on consulting advice is overwhelmingly positive.

Reduce Customer Anxiety to Increase Sales Conversions first appeared in Web Marketing Today in a shorter and much higher level form.

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