Review these helpful suggestions on how to engage with your customers effectively.
Although some consumers have always preferred to interact online, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for businesses to develop a robust digital presence to engage with their customers.
We’ve developed a series of suggestions for interacting with customers online and adapting to their needs and preferences while social distancing guidelines continue and long after:
- Grow email marketing
- Engage on social media
- Enable chat or text services
- Respond to reviews (both negative and positive)
- Cultivate a customer community
- Establish e-commerce options
- Set up booking functionality
- Host webinars and online events
- Offer online exclusives or rewards
Read on to discover effective and fun ways to interact with customers online and grow your customer community.
Grow email marketing
Email is an excellent tool for making personal connections, as long as you don’t use it to “blast” prospective and current customers with sales spam! Don’t abuse your email list; instead, use this platform to deliver valuable information (such as a product “How To” guide); celebrate and thank your customers; and remember, you’re talking to real people, so try to engage and entertain when possible.
Engage on social media
Customers turn to brands on social media for many reasons: to stay up to date, ask questions, or get support. Your outbound content strategy (customer stories, fun visuals and videos, giveaways, or product announcements) is just as crucial as having expert employees available to respond to comments and questions promptly. Learn more about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more and how you can use each one to reach different audiences in different ways.
Enable chat or text services
Recent consumer studies have found that 79% of customers prefer using live chat to receive an instant response. For nearly half of those customers, live chat is the preferred method of contacting customer support in general. That means if you don’t have a chat function enabled on your website (or another form of near-instant communication, such as texting), you are ignoring a large portion of your customer base. Many live chat tools are available to seamlessly integrate into your existing customer service experience and team structure.
Respond to reviews (both negative and positive)
These days, online reviews matter as much, if not more, than word of mouth. Ninety-three percent of customers used the internet at least once to find a local business in 2020, and 85% say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Rather than avoid bad reviews, consider them an opportunity to improve your reputation and provide good customer service. Here are some tips on responding to positive and negative reviews.
Cultivate a customer community
The internet has generated exciting new ways for customers and fans of businesses and products to interact with those who have the same passion. To make the most of their enthusiasm, offer a niche group where they can gather to share photos, tips, and stories. Whether you use Facebook Groups, Reddit, or some other platform, building and administering the community gives you a chance to check in and solve customer issues, find brand ambassadors who might spread the word, and position your business as an industry expert. Explore this step-by-step guide on how to launch a thriving online community.
Establish e-commerce options
Some stores have been selling products online for years. But for others, especially small businesses, the need to shift to digital sales became urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person shopping was sometimes unsafe. Check out this guide to find the best e-commerce solution for you and your business.
Set up booking functionality
Similar to e-commerce, adding scheduling functionality to your website empowers customers to choose whether they prefer to phone you or book online to set up an appointment.
Host webinars and online events
Live streams and webinars are a low-cost, innovative way to reach many customers at once, from the convenience of their own homes. The visual medium is perfect for launching a new product or feature and gives customers a chance to interact and engage.
Offer online exclusives or rewards
Exclusive content is one way to make your customers feel extra special. For example, you could require users to register and log in to view new videos; set up small, video-based focus groups to gather feedback; or offer special discounts and pricing to your top-tier clients and customers. Online rewards programs can also motivate customers to stay connected.
Looking for more ideas on how to connect with customers after COVID-19? Check out our EZ Office Products blog.
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