One of the really cool things about selling online is that the pool of prospects is so huge. Pretty much anyone anywhere in the world could potentially purchase what you have to sell. That’s the beauty of the world we live in today, and it opens up tons of opportunities to small-business owners. But it can complicate your business, too.
It used to be much simpler: Customers would walk into your store, purchase a product and you would chat with them (hopefully building a long-lasting relationship). If there was a problem processing the payment, you were there face-to-face to resolve the issue.
Now, strangers visit your website at all hours and scoop up your stuff. You get the order and send it out to them, never connecting with them on a deeper level. When something goes wrong with payment processing—and there are plenty of places along the technology path where something can go wrong—you lose the sale. There’s nothing more disappointing than getting a notice that someone tried to buy your stuff and the order was declined.
But there are ways you can recover that sale by making a bit of effort.
First, you want to make sure that the transaction decline code doesn’t raise any red flags that might indicate fraud. You should have a list of codes and what each means so you can make an educated decision about your next step. (Here’s a handy online reference guide.)
Typically, if the decline is due to an incorrect address, card number, expiration date or CVV card code, there’s a good possibility that the customer just hit a few incorrect keys when he or she was entering the order. There's also the chance that there was some kind of technical glitch during processing.
If this is your situation, taking the time to contact the customer personally can often save the sale. (I’ve sure saved a bunch over time, and it does a world of good for your bottom line.) Pick up the phone and call the person who placed the order. You can use the script below.
Hello, my name is (your name,) and I’m calling about your recent order from my business, (your business name). I’m sorry, but for some reason, your order didn’t complete and I’d like to help you do that if you’re still interested in (the product).
I’ve never had a person say no when using this approach. It can work for you, too. While you’re working on getting the order to process, spend a bit of “chit chat” time developing a quick relationship with the customer.
Once the order has processed successfully, you need to take two additional steps:
- Send a quick email thanking them once again for doing business with you.
- Write a simple thank you note and send it to them via snail mail.
These simple steps not only get that cash in your business, it also helps you create a relationship with whom you hope to be a loyal customer for years to come. Following these three steps can definitely make you memorable and provide opportunities for future business.
Whatever options you use to recover declined sales, you can be sure that it will add extra cash to your bottom line. Make sure you are doing everything you can to get a successful sale each and every time.
Do you have a special process for handling online sales declines? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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