No matter how hard you try or how good your website is many people still need to have a human interaction when purchasing online.
I'm a director of a business, www.stickytickets.com.au, that will be launched in early July. It's an online business that allows people to post their events online, market them and sell tickets to the event.
To gain some experience from our customer's point of view, we are organising an event this weekend to watch the FA Cup Soccer Final on the huge screen at the IMAX, and selling the tickets to this event online. The overall outcome is a success as we have sold out all the tickets….and learned a lot!
Despite having very clear instructions on the website and a FAQ page we literally got hundreds of phone calls an emails asking the same questions. We really weren't expecting or ready for this, and it drove our office mad for about 2 weeks and diverted us from our core business.
Why did so many people call and email?
It could be that the website wasn't as clear as we thought it was, or that the user wasn't actually reading the website, but I think it's a matter of trust.
People like to know who is behind what they are buying. They like to ask questions to real people, and judge the answers they get back as a measure of the legitimacy of what they are buying.
If you are selling anything online you need to have a way for people to contact you and communicate with a human. You also need to work out how you are going to deal with this from a resourcing point of view.
The key is to balance is to limit the disruption to your business while providing the highest level of customer experience.