Setting up an ecommerce website complete with SCOM monitoring is a great foundation for your online enterprise. However, building a successful online business heavily depends on your ability to develop lasting relationships with your customers. The customers who are more likely to stick with you are those who feel a connection to your brand.
Surprisingly, many internet businesses do not have a calculated and well-thought-out plan for customer engagement. Engagement is often ad hoc and spontaneous with minimal consistency and structure across channels. This may seem to deliver some result but is certainly a drawback on the business and prevents it from realizing its full potential.
Here are some tips on real time customer engagement.
Provide Instant Recommendations
When a prospect or customer searches for, views or purchases a certain product on your website, that is valuable information not just about what their preferences are but also what their next purchase is likely to be. You can use this data to target the right ads at the right time to the right customers.
Some users may not even have thought about buying the recommended product but the ad can be just the prompting that they need it. It’s a smart way of cross selling in real time that relies on an algorithm and doesn’t need any human intervention.
Interact via Social Media?
There are few better forums to interact with customers in real time than social media. The average internet user spends considerably more time on social media platforms than they do on other websites. Tapping into social media is therefore going where your customers already are.
The good thing about it, especially for startups and small businesses that have tight budgets, is that it’s free. Don’t relegate your social media accounts into a monologue that involves you posting updates. Instead, stimulate conversation, respond to questions and like or respond to useful comments.
Ever called a customer support line and been kept on hold for 10 minutes? No one would be happy enduring that. There’s nothing wrong with having a phone number that customers can call for assistance. However, phone lines can stretch your payroll since you have to hire people to answer the calls. Live chat is more effective both in terms of ensuring real time engagement with the customer and also giving your staff more flexibility to handle multiple tasks at a time.
Users shouldn’t have to log in to initiate a live chat. Also, as soon as they send their enquiry, they should get an automated response notifying them that someone will be getting back to them in a few minutes. You shouldn’t use live chat on your website only. Make the most of third party services such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Host Customer Events
The entire premise for starting an online business is to run away from the limitations of the traditional brick and mortar store. However, internet business shouldn’t mean the complete absence of any physical meetings with customers. Think about the most successful online businesses such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. They organize events or participate in forums that allow them to interact with their customers.
Web-based businesses can feel a little distant and impersonal. Customer meetings can help give a face to your business. It gives customers that much needed reassurance that there are real people behind the website who are keen on meeting customer expectations.
Multi-channel communication is a hallmark of modern business. You cannot limit customer communication to only one medium. Visitors to your website should have multiple ways of reaching out such as a phone number, mailing address, email address, live chat and social media accounts.
While most businesses do make these available, the challenge is in ensuring that the communication history with each client is available in a central location. So when a customer sends an email then follows it up with a phone call a day later, the customer service agent should be aware of the email. That way, customers don’t have to narrate everything again each time they use a different channel.
Improving customer engagement will have a positive and long-term effect on your business. Start doing it today.