If there is one thing that the advances in internet technologies have done, it is that they have substantially altered the customer journey. They have given the customer the kind of power that no one could have imagined before. Customers no longer listen to what businesses tell them, they look for alternative information. As a business owner and customer of other businesses, I know how important it is to use the power of the internet.
From the moment I start thinking on how to create a free website for my business up until the moment I purchase items at Amazon or any other online service, there are always some things to consider about building a relationship with customers.
Below are some tips on how you can ensure that the relationship you have with your online customer benefits everybody involved.
Understand the Customer Journey
Before the internet and the linked technologies, the customer journey was simple. Customers mostly bought goods and services from brick and mortar businesses. Now, things have changed drastically. Customers no longer get all their information from the owners of the products. They speak to each other on social networks and look at reviews.
Since the behavior of the customer has changed, your tactics as an online business also need to change. Understanding the customer journey means that you are able to start building a relationship with your customer before they have even bought a single item from your business.
To start building the relationship with your customers, start by looking at what the pain points of your customers are.
The concept of pain points relates to the problems that your customers are trying to solve. Follow your target customer on their social networking profiles and hear what they are struggling with. If they are complaining about the service from one of your competitors, offer a solution to that challenge.
Solve a Challenge
In most cases, customers do not just browse the internet for fun; they are looking for solutions to the problems they meet daily. This is the reason why it is vital for you to start by deciding what you want to do for the customer. You will not be able to help the customer unless you know what their challenge is.
If you show that you know what your online customers’ challenge is and you show a capacity to solve that problem, your customers will trust you. Trust is the basis for a long lasting relationship; particularly in the online space where you are unlikely ever to come face to face with your customers.
If you want to develop a great relationship with your customers, solve their challenges here and there. For instance, if a customer tweets that they are struggling with a game they have just bought from you, send then the steps of how to solve the problem. Do not tell them that you are sorry and someone will be in contact with them. The customer is experiencing the issue now, and they want a solution now.
If all you care about in your online business is your bottom line, your customers will soon notice. Customers want to feel that you are not just trying to sell them your product but are also trying to deliver value.
How do you deliver value other than by ensuring that the customer has got the product they want? You could start by simply answering the customer’s questions. If a customer is attempting to buy a product or services from your online business, they usually do not care about the features of the product. They care about what it can do for them.
Delivering value means that you are not just thinking about the product. An example of how companies provide value is offering sound advice to customers. Look at the websites of successful companies, and you will notice that they are likely to have blog sites dealing with topics that customers will find interesting.
The customer today has more avenues through which they can get information. What this means is that if you misrepresent information, the customers are likely to find out from other sources anywhere. If your business has made a mistake, you need to own up to the error and indicate how you are planning to fix it.
A customer will be more likely to give your business a second chance if they believe that you are genuine. Attempting to conceal the truth may lead to lack of trust because the customer may now be asking themselves what else you are lying about.
If a customer says something good about your business on the internet, reach out to them and thank them. You could also work with influencers that are already trusted by your customers. For instance, you could ask a celebrity to wear your product and tweet about it.
Don’t be afraid of asking people to share their good experiences. Many people will not do unless asked.
If you have ever bought from an online store for the first time and received your purchase with a handwritten message from the owner of the business, you know what going beyond means. A written note tells the customer that you are treating them as an individual.
Simple acts like sending a customer a gif or a discount on their birthday can go a long way. Delighting customers doesn’t have to be expensive for your business. Just look for innovative ways of surprising your customers with something that they did not ask for.
As you have seen, building a relationship with the online customer is not necessarily rocket science. It is the same as building a relationship with friends. The most important thing is to know the customer, show that you care, and build trust. You have to be there when they meet challenges and show that you can solve them. If you delight your customers, they are also likely to delight you with their loyalty.