1. Put your customer first
According to 2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report, 88 per cent of customers say they would go elsewhere next time if a business is ‘too hard to deal with’ – the number one reason your customers may end up with your competitors.
Customers are happy to have an ongoing relationship with a business, but they want transactions to be simple, too. Booktopia CEO Tony Nash says success comes from asking the question: “What’s best for our customer?”
Think about what your customer really wants online:
- A website that’s easy to navigate on any device
- Easy access to order history and account info
- A clear way to get support if they need it
2. Make it personal
Customers are more aware than ever of the value of their data, particularly to them. They want you to use it to improve their experience, not just yours.
It’s great to walk into a café and be greeted by name by someone who already knows your order. The same applies online. 49 per cent of customers want to receive offers customised to them, and almost as many want to receive marketing that’s personally relevant. They might want you to know what they like, what new items they’re keen on, how they prefer to check out, and what kind of delivery option they usually use.
Plus, 63 per cent of consumers want customer service staff to have access to their prior activity, especially to help them solve problems with less confusion and without lengthy or repetitive explanations.
3. Be available
Your customers want to be able to reach you if they need to, but not in the way you might think. Only 33 per cent prefer face-to-face communication, while 53 per cent still prefer to talk on the phone.
Solving a customer issue is great for loyalty. Even having the option available can make customers more comfortable engaging with you.
For example, Pam Brook of Brookfarm says multiple channels matter: “When someone makes an internet enquiry, a social media enquiry, or a website enquiry they'll get a personal message back and usually a phone call as well to follow up. That personal touch is really important.” Tony Nash of Booktopia says, “We included a phone number and physical address [on the website] from the beginning, so customers knew the business was ‘real’.”
4. Remind them you exist
Digital advertising is a great way to reengage with customers. Social media platforms allow you to create ads based on website behaviour – if someone has taken an interest in a product, you can make sure they can see it again in their social media feed.
Triggered emails are another way to jog customers’ memories in a personalised way. Abandoned their cart? Shoot them an automated reminder. Loved a limited-edition product? Let them know will be unavailable soon. Bought an item this time last year? Maybe it was a birthday gift – give them a nudge!
5. Add value
There are so many ways to share information online: social media, video streams, blogs, interactive websites, even augmented reality.
Use every opportunity to show customers what you’re made of. Create a vlog that shows your product in action. Host a webinar that offers real tips, while also demonstrating what you can do. Share information from other sources. Use social media to highlight industry knowledge.
Give value to your community. Be the expert. Show them why you’re the best.
“It’s about staying in front of them,” says Alecia Hancock, of Hancock Creative. “By putting out so much free information, people are seeing us for a long period of time. They're coming to one of our events, they're watching the webinars, they're getting our emails, or watching us on social media. And then when they've decided to invest, we're the people they call because we’ve built that trust.”
When it’s time to make a choice, that’s what they remember.