Best Practices In Maintaining Customer Relationships Online

Having good customer relationships is at the core of every successful business. Ask any of the Fortune 500 companies, for example, and you would know that they have their own departments handling customer support.

These customer service representatives are highly trained to take care of customers who might have a problem with the company’s products or services. The company might have a great product and a responsive website, but if their customer service is nil, they won’t have repeat customers.

In fact, it is estimated that businesses have a 60 to 70 percent chance of selling to an existing customer, while the likelihood of selling to a new prospect is only 5 to 20 percent. The key, it seems, is to maintain good relationships with existing customers as this can make or break the business.

To help keep you in good standing with your customers, we’ve listed here six tips that you can implement without making drastic changes to your business model.

1. Optimize your site

Best Practices in Maintaining Customer Relationships OnlineYour website is the first stop for online visitors, and it makes a big impression on customers.

A successful and responsive website must be fast, neat, and clean. Research shows that half of consumers give up waiting if the page takes more than ten seconds to load.

By providing a perfect online experience, your business has a better chance of solidifying existing customer relationships.

Optimize your website for quick load and easy navigation, and keep all features up-to-date
Including contact information and other relevant details. Start by mapping out a customer journey through the website to make sure the content is structured to address all potential customer issues.

2. Create a Self-Help System

Can you identify common difficulties that your customers face? One effective way to address this is by setting up an online self-help system that includes resources such as live chat, video instructions, user manual, FAQs, and About Us, among other pages.

These should be designed to provide quick assistance for the most novice users.

By nurturing user communities, you can empower your customers and give them the tools needed to help themselves, as well as other users. Customer communities act as integrated self-help networks that can generate their own content and act as inspiration for product development and forging future customer relations.

3. Personalize your communication

This is a proven strategy for handling customer attrition and growing stronger customer relationships. Personalized communication involves custom messaging that appears to target each user individually, offering more comprehensive solutions to their concerns.

Personalize your communicationYou don’t necessarily need perfect personalization; however, customer expectations continue to grow, and more people expect some effort on your part.

If you make them feel special, you will stand out from the crowd, and your customers will become more loyal to your company.

One way your business can apply personalized communication is by contextual messaging that draws upon customer location, their mobile device, time of day, and weather, among other factors. You can also offer personalized product recommendations in display ads, onsite, or on email campaigns.

Customer service may be able to delight consumers by anticipating queries. For instance, when a consumer calls a company for an order status, customers would appreciate it if the company’s system is able to determine who the caller is and anticipate their inquiry.

Over half of online consumers say that they expect retailers to use whatever information they have from past purchases and interactions to set up a more personal and convenient platform for future purchases.

This requires predictive and personalized technology which you can invest on. You would find later on that this investment works and will bring you more repeat sales than ever.

4. Survey your customers and get their feedback

It makes a big difference when companies can measure how customers feel about products and also how the company is meeting their expectations. Offering your customers what they need is one way to increase sales, build trust, and increase repeat customers.

To get a clear picture of what their needs and preferences are, it might be necessary to run a survey.

Because most of the data will be collected via the website, social media, and email, the cost of running the survey will be manageable. Use services such as Survey Monkey to run the surveys and use the feedback to set up a more personalized customer service.

Once you have the data, don’t just let it stay in storage. Use it. Hire someone to analyze it and come up with recommendations on how the results can improve existing systems. It will pay off in more ways than you can imagine, as customers will know that you have taken their feedback to heart.

5. Use social media to show your appreciation

While you can use social media to listen to what your customers are saying about you, you can also use it to thank them.

Social Media Examiner gave eight ways to show appreciation to your loyal customers.

  • Use social media to show your appreciationPay it forward (giving treats)
  • Give back (giving to charity)
  • Own your mistakes
  • Say thank you
  • Encourage personal stories
  • Personalize responses
  • Give a shout out
  • Encourage participation

Judging by the responses to companies that did these, it seems that social media indeed pays. It makes your customers feel good, which makes them promote your product or business without being asked.

6. Set up a unified digital experience

Consumers now have several connected devices, and they expect to use all their devices to perform online tasks, or start a task on one device and then complete it on another. This growth of digital services means that companies have to keep up with technology and understand the entire customer journey so as to offer help where needed.

There are three tools for meeting customer expectations when setting up a unified digital experience:

  • Develop a digital experience strategy.
  • Train your customer service teams essential skills.
  • Use an ecosystem approach to digital resources.

By establishing pro-active, unified cross-channel services, your company will give customers differentiated experiences that will help forge stronger customer relationships that drive sales.

Aside from individual effort, you may also consider hiring a third party to implement your digital strategy in your responsive website. Results might be faster, and the overall cost can be minimized in the long run.

For more information on how to maintain healthy customer relationships and turn customers into loyal followers, watch the following video.


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