Building customer relationships online
As we approach the most romantic day of the year, it is interesting to note that according to research by dating platform eharmony and the Imperial College Business School, nearly a third of relationships were formed online between 2015 and 2019. In this day and age, an algorithm has already done the percentage of the hard work for you, or at the very minimum, presented you with an online bio of your potential suitor, according to your preferences – leaving you to make the choice. We have learnt to trust dating technologies a lot more, and therefore the stigma of meeting online seems to have disappeared.
As a business, what can we take from this? Well, it’s the same context; mutual respect and good communication are fundamentally important, except the stakes are a lot higher. As consumers and business owners we will make informed choices before choosing services, through various mediums such as social media, online reviews, testimonials, to name but a few.
In 2020, it has been reported that 87 percent of UK households made online purchases, so it’s increasingly important to ensure customers are receiving a good user experience replicated online, that matches or even improves being on the shop floor.
Communication is key when it comes to building customer relationships, as people are spending more of their time online. Businesses need to adapt. If you aren’t communicating with them by using various online techniques that prove you care about their business, then you risk losing them. So, it is essential that your online relationship comms are exceeding expectations.
In fact, a report by Software Advice claims 74% of businesses have adopted customer relationship management software, to improve and prosper customer relationships online. Retailers like John Lewis, Burberry and Bensons for Beds, have adapted throughout the pandemic, and are now offering videos chats as well as virtual meetings with sales staff. The general rule of thumb is to treat your customers how you would expect to be treated.
So, what should you do?
When communicating with your customers, it is important to show personalisation, emotion and empathy in your correspondence, as well as making the most of the details you know about them. As you gain more customers, you may not have enough time to pick up the phone or email each customer, so utilizing automated messaging/emailing tools will prove a valuable resource as these can be customised so that it appears you are personally contacting them.
Equally as important to that is the post sales period. This follow-up is crucial to maintaining a fruitful relationship for customer loyalty and retention. Your brands reputation is built online, BUT it can also be tarnished in minutes. That is why it is imperative to maintain your customer relationship; online shares, recommendations and interactions can quickly spread across social media. These are fundamental to their impression of what you and your business are and what you can offer.
Online customer service is the priority in a time when consumers are becoming more dependent on the internet for their entire shopping experience, so being a helping hand that makes their experience more beneficial will not only grow your business now but also in the future. It will set you apart from your competitors that haven’t caught on to the importance of online service.
Our team of experts at MOB can help you with a range of online services, contact us today with your queries to find out how we can help.