The world has changed in so many ways when it comes to consumers and the products or services they buy. It really wasn’t that long ago when people didn’t mind if they were just another number in a series of customers before and after them. They may have minded, but they thought there was no other option. There was a time when big businesses saw customers as nothing more than a dollar sign. That’s because consumers didn’t have much of a choice. They were very limited in who they could do business with, so they put up with what they had.
Then, the Internet came along and this changed everything.
Now, people have access to literally hundreds of thousands of different businesses. If they don’t like how they are treated at one, they can easily go to another. Competition has changed from a local to a global level.
As a result, the consumers are in control. They are the ones calling the shots, not the businesses. This means the customer can demand better service and expect to get it simply because a business has no other choice. All of this has led to one thing: people want a personalized experience, even when they buy online.
It’s understandable why they would want this. After all, they could choose to do business with another company that will give them the experience they want.
At first glance, doing business on the Internet and dealing with customers virtually seems like a good thing. After all, you can respond to people at all hours simply by clicking a few buttons. Additionally, they will have numerous different ways to reach you, like social media, website forms, email, and even blog comments. On the surface, it looks great, but there are some negatives too.
The Internet, as you probably already know, is largely anonymous. Even though you know you are talking to a real person, you normally can’t see them, or shake their hand, or look them in the eye. This makes things largely impersonal, even when people are calling for more personalized service in the first place. It becomes a vicious cycle.
So, you have to make changes that will improve one-to-one customer interactions on the Internet. You do need to interact with customers and you do need to make sure what you say is always personalized to them. Next, you will find very helpful ways to improve the interactions so that your customers (or even potentials for that matter) know that you are paying attention to them.
Everyone Should Be Available to Customers
People aren’t used to being able to talk with company leaders. They are used to speaking with some representative and never knowing the face behind the company. There was a good reason for this too since business leaders can’t exactly stop what they were doing every time a customer wanted to talk to them.
These days, though, things are quite different. Now, a social media manager can respond to someone right on their smart phone without breaking their busy day. So, in your own company, make sure everyone is available to handle one-to-one conversations with consumers. They could do this simply by responding to a tweet or by leaving a comment on a Facebook post. It hardly takes any time and can make a big difference to the consumers themselves.
Don’t Use Canned Messages
If a customer contacts you on social media, through email, on your website, or anywhere else, then you need to respond to them, but you also need to do so in a personalized manner.
The worst thing you could do is the canned response that sounds something like “your message is very important to us. We will look into the matter and get back to you.” Don’t think that consumers don’t know that this is a canned message and you are essentially brushing them off.
Instead, let’s say that you see a message from a customer with a question or complaint on social media. They specifically said that they were treated poorly when they tried to order an item. Your response should be specific to them, go over their experience, ask questions, and professionally apologise. And, your response should also elicit further action from the consumer to continue the conversation. That’s why you should ask questions for more information or to clarify the situation. This specifically encourages a one-to-one conversation that will continue until that consumer is satisfied with your services and your apology.
These days, your customers expect a better experience whenever they do business with any company. They want to be treated like a real, live person and not just another number on a screen. At the same time, they want to do business and contact you online, which comes along with some anonymity. You absolutely cannot let this stand in your way. Instead, you need to be working on ways to improve one-to-one contact with your consumers. No matter how they contact you, whether it is on the Internet or not, you have to show that they matter. So, use the advice above and you will see better results with customer satisfaction.
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