With great customer service comes great power. Every interaction with a brand is an opportunity for a customer experience that develops trust, reinforces brand loyalty and supports the consumer’s purchasing journey, whether it is a product or service that is being offered.
Here’s how to tune up your online customer service to ensure repeat business and a loyal customer base for years to come.
Value customers’ time with genuinely useful information
Customer experience online boils down to one key strategy: imagine the best possible experience that you could provide in the offline environment and emulate that in the online context, with consideration of consumer expectations for quality, personalised information and service.
Ultimately, it comes down to valuing your customers’ time. Your customers are busy people with access to what seems like an infinite choice of information and products. Every interaction you have with them must benefit them – not just you and your business. Avoid any marketing that feels like a ‘hard sell’, and instead show you value your customers’ time with content that genuinely makes a difference.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What do they need from your company? What could you help them achieve? Ask yourself what you’d need from a company to have a memorable and enjoyable experience.
Ask yourself: How can you go that little bit further than your competitors? What could you do that would stick in their mind for longer than the time it takes them to browse your website? What could you do that would encourage them to tell their friends about it – even if they haven’t actually bought anything? For example, you may offer them a valuable educational PDF or video, or a diagnostic tool.
Show a genuine interest in the experience of your prospective buyer by offering value without asking for a sale. Always give them space and time to decide, and never put them in a position where they feel they’re being forced into anything.
Offline thinking, online
Online customer experience is not so different from the offline context. Think about them walking into your shop and leaving without making any purchase, or enquiry. If you ‘saw’ this happen, as a business or marketing manager, you would immediately put something in place to change this behaviour, wouldn’t you?
Unfortunately, as a website visitor is less ‘tangible’ than seeing people physically walking in a shop, small business owners rarely think about the opportunity to increase website conversions from their website browsers. The truth is, they’re not just a number on your Google Analytics account, they’re a real customer with real wants and needs.
The key is to tackle online experiences just as you would offline. If you would like to offer your customer a chance to receive the outfit so they can try it on, ensure you have a robust returns policy in place. If you would like to give out tasters or testers in your online store, why not pop a small something extra like a discount voucher, in their order confirmation to encourage a larger purchase in the future? If you would have great in-store sales associates, why not install a chat function on your website that is managed by helpful, sales superstars?
Don’t miss out on customer experience after the sale
After-sales customer experience is an often-missed opportunity for building true customer loyalty. Don’t miss the opportunity to solidify the relationship, generate great word of mouth and reviews, and create that virtuous cycle that leads to new and repeat business in the future.
The customer experience doesn’t end at a sale. Even if your customers have already gone ahead with a purchase, you can still act as a useful font of knowledge and information, for example, sending a follow up email including a helpful video with information about how to maintain the product they’ve bought from you
The cost of acquiring a new customer is always greater than the cost of selling to an existing customer who values what you do. It makes sense to nurture loyalty with existing customers and develop win-win relationships that can assist you to achieve your goals – all while rewarding your customers with great customer service at the same time.
Aim to provide them with exceptional and outstanding customer service through your pre, during and post communications. Even a sincere ‘thank you’, will help keep the lines of communication open for repeat business and opportunities to continue your relationship.
Article contributed from Liz Ward, co-founder and CEO, Navii:
Liz Ward is the co-founder and CEO at Navii going digital. With more than 20 years’ experience helping businesses build their digital capabilities, Liz is a committed advocate for tech innovation.
Navii is an Australian government-backed, independent organisation that helps small and medium-sized businesses thrive in the digital economy. The team behind Navii has helped thousands of small businesses in Australia and around the world with unbiased digital advice, courses, one on one consultations and industry training.
Alongside a team of 11 in-house employees, Navii also boasts a wide network of trusted digital professionals, educators, and mentors who are on hand to provide specialised help and advice. Navii is always practical and jargon-free, with all materials written in plain English.