When running an online business, maintaining excellent customer relationships is even more crucial than when you have a brick-and-mortar business. Since you’re interacting entirely online, there is an added pressure to make a good impression on your customers and see to it that you communicate effectively with them. More than that, you have to make them feel valued so that they keep coming back.
So how do you make your customers feel special? Here are some things that you can try:
- Include thank you cards
Putting thank you cards with packages is the norm for online businesses. It is a way to show your appreciation to customers who buy your product, which helps you create a deeper and more personal relationship with them. Thank you cards also make your customers feel special and know that they are valued instead of just people expected to spend money on your business. More than that, putting thank you cards in your packages help boost word-of-mouth, which will help you generate more leads.
Thank you cards can be printed on unique stationery, put in clear envelopes, or handwritten on lovely notepads. As long your message shows appreciation and reflects your brand’s genuine voice, any technique in creating and sending thank you cards will do.
The buying process doesn’t end when the customer has placed their order or when you’ve shipped their package. It continues up to the follow-up, which isn’t done to sell more products but to gather feedback from your customers. Following-up on your buyers hits two birds with one stone. First, you get to gather valuable feedback that can help you improve your business. Secondly, it makes customers feel that their opinion is valued, and they’re not just another successful sale.
If you are not doing follow-up with your customers yet, start doing it now. The best way to do follow-up is to create a feedback form, send it to your customers a few days after they’ve received their product, and then offer something in return for their time, like a free item or a discount on their next purchase.
- Respond promptly
Receiving a fast response from your business makes customers feel important. 82% of customers expect to receive an immediate response when transacting with an online business. What does ‘immediate’ mean? For the majority of online customers, it is less than 60 minutes. After the 60th minute, customers’ patience grows less and less. If they don’t receive a response within the same day, you can expect them to find another business that will take care of them.
That said, prioritize responding to customers as quickly as possible. If you are too busy to handle this yourself (as most entrepreneurs are), outsource to a freelancer who can focus on customer messages for you.
- Offer discounts to repeat customers
Offering discounts to repeat customers can encourage them to continue doing business with you further and spread the word about your products to the people they know. Moreover, offering discounts makes customers feel special, and that you are giving them something in return for their loyalty. Consider this tactic when dealing with repeat customers, especially those following your brand since the early days.
- Say their name
Using a customer’s name in communications makes them feel valued and essential, which is what you want to achieve in all of your customer interactions. Think about it this way: would you rather be addressed by your name in an e-mail or greeted with ‘Hi!’ and nothing else? Your customers respond strongly to hearing their name, so ensure that you use this strategy in all of your communication channels.
When creating thank you cards for customers, you might also want to consider adding their name for an added ‘feel-special’ effect. This can take some time to type and print out individually, so you might have to write their names on the cards instead.
- Invest in customer support
If you are running a one-man show behind your online business, you might not have time to attend to your customer’s concerns. As a result, your customers might not be receiving the kind of support they want from your business. To avoid negative feedback and make customers feel important, invest in customer support by hiring a customer service representative or outsourcing.
Your customers are the lifeline of your business, and making them feel valued is the best way to foster closer and long-lasting relationships with them. If you feel that you’re not doing enough for your customers, these are the best strategies that you can start with.
In what ways do you make your customers feel special? Let us know in the comments below!