Keeping the customer happy is an all-important part of any retail business. For ecommerce, you don’t often have the chance to have the face-to-face meeting serving as a catalyst for better relations. So you have to work to find other methods of creating happier and more loyal customers. From before they purchase to well after, work to make your customers’ experience as pleasant as possible.
Have a story to tell
Stories are an important part of communication. They share our values and objectives with our audience, getting them on our side. Creating a story can do the same for your customers. You create a story through your brand, through building a persona to find common ground with your audience. One of the best ways of creating that brand narrative is by using a WordPress blog. Share your brand’s journey with your customers. At the same time, the blog can be used to keep customers updated on new products and deals. Find the objectives and values that you share with your audience and make it the core of your communication. Customers are a lot more likely to trust those who care about the same things they do.
Be easy to use
Your brand and your story is a great way to build enough trust for customers to give you a try. But then you have to keep that good will by making their experience as pleasant as you can. A lot of that experience will be, of course, on your site or ecommerce app. It should be informative, first and foremost. Give your customers the details they need of the products they’re going to buy. Provide expertise, not just the product. Make sure your online shop provides clear instructions and as simple a layout as possible. Substance matters more than style, here. Keep the shopping cart, login box and search box together so they can access all the functionality they need in a small area.
People are less likely to forgive online retail for the mistakes they might overlook in brick and mortar stores. Products that come faulty, late or not at all might very well lose you a customer. Similarly, bad product information or incorrect stock reports make for an unreliable store. Use an inventory system so that your store is kept fully up-to-date as to what is really available and what isn’t. Then make sure that your delivery services are as reliable as possible. A lot of smaller ecommerce businesses might not be able to handle the whole delivery process on their own. Outsourcing your fulfillment services could put your delivery in the hands of reliable experts. It can be worth the cost to ensure you deliver your promises to your customers.
Comprehensive customer support
You can have the most reliable services on the market and the best designed customer-experience. You’re still going to have problems and questions. It’s unavoidable. But a crisis is an opportunity as they say. Solving customer problems succinctly can make an even happier customer than a smooth transaction would. For ecommerce, customer service needs to be immediately accessible. An in-site chat client can help you deal with customers as they’re using your services. At the same time, it’s important to keep a more human side to your customer support. Having someone on the other end of a phone line can provide that. Customers also like having the tools to provide their own service. Many sites nowadays have a customer support center. Here they can easily look up questions they have that might have already been answered by someone else. The more extensive it grows, the more knowledge it has to offer your customers.
Keeping customers happy isn’t just about keeping their experience smooth. Getting rid of negatives doesn’t necessarily make a positive. Instead, you have to add extra positives. That’s what loyalty programs are all about. Loyalty programs can strike a lot of entrepreneurs as expensive, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Studies have shown that loyalty rewards worth as little as a hundred a month in costs to business can still be enough to win the goodwill of customers. What matters more than worth is the gesture and the simplicity of getting those rewards.
Build a community
You don’t want to just impress your new customers, either. You want to keep the old ones. It’s seven times easier to keep an old customer than get a new one. All the same, not enough businesses put in the effort. Established channels like Youtube and social media make it easier to get in touch with customers than ever. They’re already there, all you have to do is start putting out the content that will pull them towards you. Building a community establishes trust in your company. It opens you up to accountability. It also makes it much easier for them to give you feedback on your methods.
Including them in the dialogue
That feedback is an important part of making them not only feel like a customer but like a valued customer. For one, it’s positive social proof of the fact your services are being used. That, in turn will make your business look more trustworthy to other. Word-of-mouth is, in many ways, more effective than standard marketing. Customers also like to know that they’re being listened to. You don’t have to bow to their every request. You’ll soon learn that would be impossible. It’s the listening that matters. Don’t just reply on social media and customer service. Make your efforts to listen public. Put out surveys that ask for feedback. You can even incentivize them to add just that bit more value and goodwill to your customer’s experience.
Make them your salespeople
As we have said, word-of-mouth is a huge motivator for customer positivity. Take the need for their inclusion further by asking for testimonials. It values their opinion and looks better for you. Then incentivize their sharing of their opinion even further. Make a referral system part of your loyalty scheme. Every business has different kinds of customers. Promoters, who rant and rave happily about your services. Passives, who are happy but not invested. Finally, there are the detractors who will spread negative word-of-mouth. Referrals use the power of incentivizing to make the voice of your promoters louder than the others. Learn to ask your customers for referrals. Provide support and make It easier for them to do it, for example, giving them a quick link to use. Pay attention to your customers and look for the most influential to develop working relationships with.
Add a personal touch
If you really want to make your customers feel valued and show loyalty, you have to get to know them. It could be as simple as using tech tricks like having algorithms that recommend items to your returning customers. But you need to take the manual approach as well. Send handwritten thank you notes with your items. Use their name often when providing support. If you’re talking to the influencers amongst your customers, remember details about them. These little touches give a better impression of a more dedicated service. If you put effort into getting personal with your customers, you can create genuine, lasting relationships with them.
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business and ecommerce is a competitive market. If you don’;t keep refining how you deal with them, others will come along to steal them away with promises of better service. Even if it means spending money, work to retain as much of your consumer base as you can. That’s how a top class ecommerce brand is made.