Online businesses are on the rise more so than ever before. However, the one defect of doing business online is the danger of becoming impersonal; just a machine with the text equivalent of ‘Computer says no’ rather than a face to face relationship between business and customer.
That is why it is vital for online businesses to focus on incorporating customer experience into their online business. Here are some of the ways you can keep customers at the forefront of your online business.
This is one of the first go-to pages for a customer with a question or issue. Although there are many common questions that most businesses receive from their customers, it’s important to bear in mind that your clientele could be looking for an answer to a rather specific query that is likely to not make an appearance in your FAQ.
When introducing an FAQ page to your website, it is advised to step into your customers’ shoes and keep in mind the variety of different problems your customers could be facing:
- Problems with logging in or accessing their online account
- Cancelling, returning or exchanging items
- Queries on how long delivery of their product will take
- Questions on suppliers and sources of products
A good idea is to organise the FAQs into sections such as Accounts, Purchases etc. to give your customers an easier experience of navigating the page and quickly finding the answers to their questions.
Easy and obvious contact information
It may seem like an obvious aspect of your business’s website, but this is important. Every online business – being online and not a physical store – still needs a point of contact for customers to get in touch. The more the better, so if possible display a Contact Page that is clearly visible on the homepage and menu bar, and include:
- An email address
- A telephone number
- Postal address/return address
Being an online business, most of your customers will be likely to get in touch electronically as its convenient. However some of your customers might not be as tech savvy as others and prefer to directly contact your business via phone or even post. So it’s good to cater to everyone’s preferences by having a variety of ways them to contact you.
Having a visible address and contact information also lends credibility to your business. Just because a business has a website, doesn’t mean it actually exists; having an email address, a physical address and a telephone number implies your business is a real business.
According to the founder of ThinkJar; Esteban Kolsky, research has found that only 1 out of 26 dissatisfied customers will complain – meaning the other 25 will simply stop frequenting your business. The lesson to be learnt is that having no negative feedback doesn’t necessarily mean your customers are satisfied.
This makes it crucial that your business regularly asks for customer feedback and make sure to follow through on appropriate recommendations, and address customer issues.
Feedback is invaluable because your customers are literally telling you exactly what they want, what they like, what they don’t like about your business or service. Listening to and acting on this customer feedback not only shows you are listening to your customers and that you value them, it also means you care about your brand’s image and are prepared to take the necessary steps to improve it.
Use the force of Google, Luke. According to Statista, roughly 1.17 billion people use Google Search, compared to a mere 74 million using Yandex. That in itself is reason enough to get in on search engine advertising. It’s a well-known fact that search engine users are significantly less likely to look at anything past the first page of a search engine result.
Pay per Click advertising (PPC) is one of the most effective ways to get in on search engine results for your business. It gives you a leg up to the front page for when customers search your keywords and you pay for however many times customers click on the advert link.
According to a survey of US online customers carried out by Bold Software, buyers who used live chat were up to 40% more likely to make purchases.
Live chat is a way of taking the face to face customer service of physical stores to the online store. It’s always helpful to hear from an employee of a business who knows what they are talking about – even better if you can actually see their face!
Live chat ticks the boxes on:
- Personalising customer experience
- Giving good customer service
- Developing good relationships with customers
- Building business reputation
These days, more and more customers are using mobile to shop online (so called m-commerce). According to Collinson Latitude, the m-commerce market is expected to triple in size within the next 4 years, far surpassing desktop based ecommerce as a method of shopping.
It cannot be stressed enough. Online businesses, by nature, are there to be efficient quick and allow their customers to make transactions whilst travelling. So it’s really important to make sure customers can easily access your website on their smart phones.
- Font and Button size:
Font size should ideally be 14px. This allows customers using their phones to read the information more easily without having to constantly zoom in. Always go for large clear buttons. Particularly on mobile phones which have smaller screens than laptops or computers, a clear direction such as ‘Pay Here’ on a large button is much easier to use than lots of confusing links.
Consider creating an app for your online business to create an easy way for mobile phone users to shop. They are ideal for mobile phones but also are another way of building helpful data on customer shopping habits and profiles.
Just because your customers are looking at screen, it doesn’t mean you can’t deliver great customer service. Advancements in technology mean online communication getting easier and easier. So take advantage and make sure to keep in mind the people who keep your business going.
This post was written by Mark Johnson, a freelance marketing specialist based in the UK