By: Leo Dirr
Sometimes it’s the small things that keep life interesting. Like my friend’s 3-year-old daughter. She’s gone from slobbering Spaghettios to babbling at Buddha statues to saying some surprisingly intelligent stuff for such a tender, young humanoid.
“Kidnapping kids is bad manners, huh mom?” she commented the other day.
As funny as that observation is coming from a toddler, I’m interested in it for its business value. That’s right, I’m the kinda guy who would monetize my own mom.
“Hey, ma, I just slapped your photo onto a bottle of salsa!”
When a 3-year-old girl says something like that — “Kidnapping kids is bad manners, huh mom?” — what she’s really doing is seeking validation. She’s asking for confirmation that she’s not the only one who sees things a certain way: huh mom?
And therein lies the lesson for anybody who’s trying to do business online. Our customers, who were once toddlers, still need and crave validation. They want confirmation that they are making good decisions with their money. If you give it to them, they will love you forever.
Validation Techniques of the Rich and Famous
Some people want to validate your parking. We just want you to validate your customers’ decisions in a way that builds loyalty.
Picture this: You and your date dress to the nines and make your way to a fancy restaurant. You order the Peking duck with the cranberry-marmalade glaze. Your waiter grimaces and grumbles, “That’s the nastiest thing on the menu. Are you sure you don’t want to try something else?”
This waiter has failed to validate your menu selection. How likely would you be to return to this joint?
Not as likely, I reckon, as if the waiter had said, “Excellent choice. Our cranberry-marmalade glaze is painstakingly prepared twice daily by classically trained chefs who hail from the South of France.”
Now that’s validation!
How to Validate Customer Decisions Online
The Internet is a social place. So, it’s only natural that your website and social media accounts offer a ton of awesome ways to validate your customers’ buying decisions.
Social Proof: This technique capitalizes on people’s tendency to trust somebody who a lot of other people already like and trust. Place badges on your website that show how many Twitter followers, Facebook fans and email newsletter subscribers you have.
Customer Reviews: Including customer reviews on your website is an effective way to show your prospects what other users think of your products. About 70 percent of Americans look at product reviews before they buy, according to Google’s online marketing ebook, “Winning the Zero Moment of Truth.”
Recommendations: Amazon has made a fortune by telling its visitors that customers who bought stealth video glasses also seemed keen on lie detector kits. Amazon is really good at providing product recommendations based on proven patterns in consumer behavior. Could you do something similar on your site? Sure you could.
Thank-You Pages: Most ecommerce sites use thank-you pages that confirm the customer’s order and thank her for her purchase. Make good use of this online real estate by adding some validation. Say something like, “Thank you for choosing the Wart-B-Gone Chemical Peel. We’re sure you’ll love it as much as the other 150,000 Americans who have already turned to us for quick and painless wart removal.”
Email: Set up an email that automatically goes out to all new customers thanking them and validating their choices. “When you purchased one of our diamond necklaces, you joined a select group of sophisticated women who live life with style and grace.”
That’s enough from me. Now, it’s time for you to go and do. Find ways to validate your customers’ decisions. They’ll be glad you did. And so will you. Because it will make them more loyal.
What did I miss? Can you think of some good ways to validate customer choices? Include your thoughts and questions in the comments.