Customers can be the undoing of your business, more so in today’s world where information travels faster than the speed of sound. This is even worse for businesses with an online presence. At times, all it takes is one bad mention on a review site or a social media channel or perhaps a handful of signatories on an online petition and your business will be history.
If you own an online business (or any kind of business), you do not need much convincing that one of the most important aspects of your business is to keep your customers happy and satisfied.
Well, here are a few ways to achieve satisfactory online customer experience for your customers.
1. Build an efficient and user-friendly online presence
Think of your site as the façade of your company and do your best to make it cursorily pleasing. People generally like to have a second look at something that is good to look at. Businesses have certainly gotten some customers this way.
Beyond aesthetics though, is the equally important issue of functionality. If your site visitors feel they need a manual to be able to navigate and operate your website, chances are they will not be coming back a second time.
Design and develop a user-friendly and mobile-friendly (this is very important) platform that prioritizes website efficiency and website speed and response to ensure that your customers have a satisfactory experience. There are a plethora of easy self-web builder and hosting platforms online that can help you achieve these objectives. This way, even if the visitor does not find what he/she is looking for, they will be open to recommend your business to friends, family and colleagues.
2. Control the narrative
If there is one thing I’ve learned, it is that you cannot stop people from talking about your business online, nor should you want to. The more pertinent issue isn’t that people are talking; it’s what they are saying that can either boost or crash your business.
Seek instead to control the narrative; people will always seek out information about your business online – be the one to provide that information. It can be through your social media channels, your blog (or other people’s blogs). Whatever the case, do your best to make certain that there is always positive information (with proof wherever possible) about your business out there in cyberspace for people to find.
What this means is that whenever someone decides to tarnish your image, there will be plenty of information online to help truth seekers form a positive perception about your business and make a decision in your favor. Note that this info will usually have more credibility if it does not come directly from you
3. Personalized, intuitive and pro-active customer interactions
People are becoming increasingly hostile towards a non-personalized experience. Today, giving a customer a generic answer is a very bad idea. You have to be able to serve every customer in a way that best suits their online preferences and browsing patterns. However, trying to sort out all these customers manually is the single greatest guarantee for burn out.
There are countless online tools that can help to make your customer service and engagement responsibilities much less tedious. With Rignite for instance, you can sync all your social media platforms together so that you can interact with your customers without having to jump from one social media channel to the other. You can also lump specific customer service cases into categories and assign them to individual team members who will be able to interact with them directly and immediately from the Rignite platform.
With Sparkcentral, you can access a customer’s entire conversation history so that you can get a better sense of the customer’s complaints and deal with it more personally and effectively. You will also able to tag high-value customers with tags such as “VIP”, “Platinum Customer” etc.
Mention and Social Studio are intuitive and pro-active in nature and intent. They are eavesdroppers, only more ethical. With these tools, you can search for and monitor all mentions of your brand name and products in real time, across multiple media platforms and in over 40 languages. They help you identify potential customer service issues and to assess whether the sentiments shared about your brand are positive or negative. You’ll also be able to address these customer opinions immediately all from within the platform.
4. Intense, indirect marketing
Indirect advertising – or hidden advertising as some call it – has proven more effective in recent years and is becoming increasingly so. To improve customer experience about your brand, this method should be your preferred marketing method and you should pursue this method intensively.
Find ingenious ways to expose as many people as possible to your brand as many times as possible on social media. Social psychologist, Robert Zajonc, calls this the mere-exposure effect. This theory states that people tend to develop a preference for things because they are familiar with them, even if they did not initially like the thing in question.
Find a way to keep your brand in front of people in a way that doesn’t come off as harassment. Some companies have been known to leverage blogs to talk about their general industry in customer-centric ways; others have been known to develop simple, fun games that ultimately reveal exactly what their business is about. The possibilities of indirect marketing are vast!
Whatever creative way you choose, make sure that you brand it; viewers or users should know where it is coming from. This way when you finally get around to direct marketing, they will be more inclined to do business with you because they’d have already developed a familiarity with your brand and business.
So market indirectly but intensively – 20 times at least according to Thomas Smith’s definition of Successful Advertising.