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13
November
2020

How to Build and Maintain Digital Customer Relationships

By Maria Lebed

Improving the overall customer experience is often a top priority for companies and increasingly becoming more important to customers as a whole, according to research from Hubspot.

“Customer experience is the impression your customers have of your brand as a whole throughout all aspects of the buyer’s journey. It results in their view of your brand and impacts factors related to your bottom-line including revenue.”

What simple and practical steps can your company take in order to meet consumer expectations for efficient digital experiences? Below are a few helpful tips.

1. Optimize your website

Your website is your business card for online visitors, that’s why it is important to keep it neat and clean.

For example, recent data found that a load speed of 5 seconds or less results in 70% longer viewer sessions. So, when it comes to your website, every second counts to your consumers and the data shows this can greatly influence how long they stay engaged with your site.

When people have a less-than-favorable online experience with your brand, it can create a negative impression for that customer. So, it’s important to optimize your website for quick load and navigation in order to create a positive user experience.

Here are some things to consider about your website:

  • Make sure that your website features up-to-date information about your company and the products you offer. Don’t make your customer do the heavy lifting to find accurate information.
  • Monitor your page regularly for broken links, bugs, and run test usability. Things change rapidly in the digital world, and you need to have a system in place to stay on top of what you build.
  • Have a convenient contact form in place so that your customers can leave feedback or reach out easily. If they have to search extensively, it can frustrate an already frustrated customer to the point of no return.
  • Map out a customer journey through your website to make sure your content is structured appropriately. Address any possible issues a customer might encounter to ensure that the navigation and experience for your customer is as smooth as possible.
2. Improve online response time

In today’s digital generation it’s no secret that customers have very little patience when it comes to waiting for a response from a company. According to recent findings, nearly 2 out of 3 buyers expect a response within 10 minutes from a business when it comes to any marketing, sales, or customer service request.

Furthermore, when looking for help with a marketing or sales question, 82% of consumers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important. Some companies have nearly mastered this shift towards shortening their response times and can serve as an example for others looking to make improvements of their own. Check out some of these brands who are known for not only their speed but for a great digital customer experience overall.

If you can achieve average response times that fall within your customer’s expectations, you’ll likely have more happy customers than not! As a frame of reference, you should aim to respond to social media inquiries within a matter of 1-6 hours and less than a minute if it’s an online chat request or a phone call. That in itself is a great move forward in building a relationship of trust with your clients.

3. Create a useful self-help system

Be aware of the difficulties your clients are facing most often and make sure that your self-help resources, such as user manual, FAQ, About pages etc., are designed to provide quick and easy solutions to those issues. Structure your resources so that users can navigate them easily.

By adding video instructions, links to specific queries, and options for escalation to live help, whether live chat or voice, your customers will feel confident using your website and will be well-equipped with resolution tools at any medium they may choose.

Nurturing user communities is a great way to empower your customers and allow them to help themselves, as well as other users. A customer community can act as a self-help network, generate valuable user content, and be a source of ideas for product development. Service teams should be trained to encourage and stimulate the growth of user communities.

4. Personalize your communications

One of the most important tools to fight customer attrition and build stronger customer relationships is creating a personalized customer experience that is unique to your business and the individual customer.

Customer expectations around personalization have continued to grow, and today’s customer expects personalized messaging to go beyond just addressing them by name. While they don’t necessarily need perfect personalization, they value a positive and personalized user experience.

Your business can delight customers with contextual messaging that draws upon their location, the type of mobile device they’re carrying, the current weather, and the time of day. Then, you can implement that messaging in your communication efforts going forward such as through email or social media.

For instance, how much do you love when you call a company and they actually know who you are and either your account number or order number without making you jump through hoops?

Studies show that 79% of customers reported that personalized service is more important than personalized marketing efforts. On that same note, 84% of polled customers will spend more money with businesses that provide a personalized customer service experience.

Personalized messaging strengthens engagement and increases sales, thus helping to build longer-lasting customer relationships.

5. Build an email list

Email is a great way to keep in touch with your customers and build rapport. It is important, however, not to misuse the channel by sending emails too frequently or that your customers don’t find helpful. Otherwise, your audience may mark your emails as spam, impacting the success of your future campaigns.

Share information that your target audience finds useful or interesting, and do your best to include information that your customers can easily share with their personal networks. Bringing value consistently will foster the digital relationships that your company needs in order to succeed.

6. Survey customers and get their feedback

Actively measuring how customers feel about your product and to what extent your company is meeting their expectations is an important tool for maintaining relationships you have already established.

Giving your customers exactly what they want is one of the best ways to increase sales, build trust and gain repeat clients. To figure out what your customers’ needs and preferences are, running a survey is very efficient.

Customer surveys and feedback can be collected via email, social media, or on the website. There are many dedicated platforms that allow you to send targeted surveys to customers through different channels. SurveyMonkey, Qualoroo, and Qualtrics are just a few examples of such platforms.

7. Create unified digital experiences

The average US consumer now has access to more than 10 connected devices in their home.

With so many available devices per consumer, it’s important to make sure your website performs well for users. From tablets and computers to smartphones and more, the user experience should be seamless – no matter what device a consumer uses.

To begin creating a unified experience, look at your customer’s experience holistically. Rather than focusing on individual touchpoints, strive to make improvements that will optimize the digital experience overall.

HubSpot recommends businesses looking to improve their customer experience take an omni-channel approach. This type of approach ensures that all marketing, selling, and customer service efforts help to create an integrated and cohesive customer experience no matter how or where a customer contacts you. To take this approach, consider key departments in your company, map out your customer journey, and make necessary improvements depending on your business’ main goals.

Building unified and pro-active cross-channel services can help ensure your customers have a positive experience on your website, no matter which device they use.

The information shared is intended to be used for informational purposes only and you should independently research and verify.

Note: Prior to January 23, 2020, Mulligan Funding operated solely as a direct lender, originating all of its own loans and Merchant Cash Advance contracts. From that date onwards, the majority of funding offered by Mulligan Funding will be by Loans originated by FinWise Bank, a Utah-chartered Bank, pursuant to a Loan Program conducted jointly by Mulligan Funding and FinWise Bank.