How to be productive on the internet.
Having a strong online presence is vital for any 21st century company. As your client base increasingly rely on the internet for communication, you too have to keep up to date with what's being posted about you online, and ensure that the lines of communication between you and your customers are well maintained.
As we discussed in our news article on Online Shopping, customers are embracing modern technology and are eager to make the most of the convenience that browsing products online allows. They're also logging on to voice concerns and comments about products and companies on the very public platform of the internet; and these reviews clearly show that people have no patience for poorly designed, difficult to navigate websites and faulty ordering/billing processes.
Accordingly, businesses all around the world are installing customer feedback and inquiry forms, upping their online advertising and branching out across multiple social media platforms. Some are more successful in their endeavors than others, with many companies getting left behind by the rapid pace of modern customer interaction. This can lead to lost sales and lower customer satisfaction, and can end up costing the company money. To ensure that your business can keep up, follow our advice for manageable online communication.
- Don't let online communications become a second option. To make the most of the great opportunities your website offers for interaction, you need to make it a top priority. Online communication can be extremely efficient, allowing for quicker response times and lower outlay costs, but it only works if the communication channels are well maintained. Ensure that you check all points of contact at least once a day (more often is desirable) so you can provide prompt responses. Providing up-to-date data and changing content regularly not only improves your Search Engine Optimisation and attracts new clients, it also keeps current customers happily informed.
- If you have online forms, the best thing to do is to complete a test submission to yourself as soon as the form is implemented to make sure that it gets past your firewalls and mail filters, and isn't redirected to junk folders. There's no point in installing a form to streamline customer contact if you don't consistently check for submissions.
- Make sure that your website is accessible across multiple devices and platforms. Having an engaging user interface and an easily managed back-end is of the utmost importance, and making sure that your website suits different devices and the customers who will be using them is necessary. If your website isn't easily navigated on the smaller screens of tablets and phones clients may be put off from contacting you or using your services. Check out our article on Mobile Websites for more information on the importance of having a site that's just as mobile as your customers.
- Clients want a customisable and personalised experience. It's extremely important that you remember the demographic of your customers and tailor your system to best suit them. For example: If your clientele consists mostly of business professionals, they're probably going to prefer to contact you via e-mail. If your customer base consists of younger people such as students, on the other hand, a well maintained Facebook page may get more traffic and be their first port of call for any inquiries they have.
- Using individualised offers and providing incentives for people to return to your company's website increases customer loyalty. Running competitions and promotions that are advertised across social media outlets and other websites that all link back to your main website can be a great way to drum up interest in your products and services. You may also want to look into a system that is able to build a profile of your customers and provide them with suggestions of products similar to ones they've previously purchased that they may be interested in.
- Communicating with customers online equals less paperwork. Electronic invoices and statements are now being used by the majority of businesses, which is great news for the environment and your company. The electronic format makes forms easier to file and access later on, saving both physical office space and your sanity. By making account data accesible for clients online, you also have the added benefit of not only allowing them to feel more independent and trusted as a client, but of also making less work for yourself.
- Don't forget to ensure that all information obtained through your business' website is securely processed and stored. Regularly check for upgrades to your security software and remember that you are responsible for securing all personal information customers supply you with.
If you have any further queries about how you can best optimise your online customer interaction, feel free to contact us via online form, Facebook, Twitter, G-mail, e-mail, Skype or phone; all details can be found on our Contact page.