Aaahhh, the internet. In good times I refer to it lovingly as “the interwebs”, and during the bad times, those spinning wheel/frozen video/pop-up tornado times, I aggressively point at my screen and yell, “YOU STUPID SYSTEM OF TUBES!”
But when the dust has settled and I close the 18 browser windows I opened in an impatient fury of left-clicking, (that could more accurately be described as left-smashing), I find myself staring at one, giant, unavoidable truth: I need the internet…
And so do you.
If there’s one trend in customer service that your business should be on top of each and every day, it’s customer reliance on the internet. And thanks to smart phones, your customers have access to a wealth of information about your business in the palm of their hands almost all the time! It is critically important that you make sure your business is providing the kind of online customer service experience that’s going to draw people in and keep them coming back.
Thanks to the interwebs (today has been a good online day, so far), your customers are…
… smarter than ever.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve uttered the phrase, “Just google it”, but I know it works. I know I can find out anything about anything at anytime if I just google it, and I can promise that a substantial number of your customers and potential customers will search for your business and information about your business on google. They will also search for information about your competitors. How does your business rank when your online presence is compared to that of your competition? Don’t be afraid to find out. Pretend to be a customer and search for the product or service you provide. Based on what you see, would you want to be a customer of yours?
… connecting with companies in more ways.
Customers expect you to have a straightforward, easy to understand website with a solid contact page so they can send comments or ask questions, but they also look to see how involved you are in social media. Some customers prefer to connect through Facebook, while others like to be kept up-to-date through Twitter. There’s also LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, so on and so on. The list of ways for customers to reach out and connect with businesses is always growing and changing, so it is important that you know your customers and where they would most like to find you in order to access your products and/or services. It is not necessarily true that the wider you cast the social media net, the more customers you’ll drag in. Over-extending yourself can cost you time and man-power, and it could leave you looking scattered and unfocused.
… looking for a customized experience.
With so many transactions taking place online, it becomes challenging for businesses to connect with their customers as individuals, and harder still to maintain those personal connections. Taking into account the constant access to information, and the increased number of ways to connect with businesses, the best way for you to keep your customers coming back is to make each individual feel important. Historically, that would have been accomplished with face-to-face interaction. The phone expanded the reach of customer service and allowed voice-to-voice connections. Now we have to think about different ways to communicate with new technology, like through email campaigns that reach large segments of people. The personalization of that could be something as simple as ensuring each email addresses that customer by name.
But keep in mind, face-to-face and voice-to-voice connections still matter. Social media provides you a variety of ways to add faces and voices to your business that will help your customers see your business as a collection of people with whom they can connect.
We are curious to hear if you have any examples of relying on a company’s online presence
to make a decision about becoming a customer.
We would also like to invite you to wander around our website to see some of the improvements we have made to our customer experience. Never stop improving!