In today’s age of always-on digital communities, highly sophisticated social media campaigns and data-driven marketing strategies, it’s easy to believe that the need for a personal connection with customers no longer exists. After all, with well over 70% of Americans shopping online on a regular basis, the number of face-to-face dialogues with consumers is decreasing at an unprecedented rate.
Now, more than ever before, customers have the ability to seek out products and services from a myriad of businesses, many of whom would jump at the chance to gain a new client. In order to develop a memorable connection with your customers, you’re going to need to understand exactly what they are looking for and – perhaps most importantly – how you can provide it. Lasting personal connections between businesses and their customers are built upon trust and service. Here are a few ideas on how to improve your connections with customers, ultimately building loyalty and ensuring repeat business for years to come.
Ask for Feedback
Even though modern commerce doesn’t necessarily involve a visit to a storefront or even a phone call, this doesn’t mean that customers are placing any less emphasis on service. The best way to understand what you’re doing well – and, perhaps, what needs improvement – is simply to ask! A simple, timely feedback survey may provide you with valuable reflections and observations from customers. Not only will this information help you identify problem areas which need to be addressed, but it will also serve as a strong indicator to your customers that their opinions are valuable to you.
Speak Professionally and Speak Personally
With so much communication being exchanged virtually, language and and style now matter more than ever. Using correct spelling and grammar can help to create a positive and professional exchange, as can tailoring your communication to your audience. For example, if you’re primarily doing business with millennials, an emoji or two might not come amiss – but if your audience is mostly senior citizens, you may want to skip the smileys.
Introduce Yourself by Name
Humans love being helped by other humans, and you are more than just your professional title. The anonymity with which the majority of online businesses operate has left many customers feeling like just a number. Instead of becoming yet another nameless, faceless figure, take the time to properly introduce yourself to customers – and whenever possible, learn their names too. This thoughtful gesture will show your customers that you care about them as people, not just their wallets.
Include a Photo
In today’s digital world, it can be difficult to remember that there’s a real person on the other end of the phone, email, or live chat interaction. Wherever possible, include a photo of yourself to help cement the personal connection. Adding a brief bio that includes your hobbies, where you’re from, and other fun personal details can help your customers remember that they’re doing business with a person, not a robot!
Don’t Fear the Follow-Up
Some businesses are hesitant to follow up with consumers after an interaction has been completed out a fear of appearing intrusive. However, missing an opportunity to hear feedback from current clientele is a far greater risk. If you follow the steps listed above, your requests for feedback will feel like genuine, human requests – not just more noise in their inboxes. Good luck!