Want people to buy your product? Talk to them.
It seems obvious, but in today’s digital age, face-to-face and over-the-phone customer service has been increasingly replaced by automated voice-response systems and bland boilerplate emails.
While a 2013 study conducted by the digital market research company Econsultancy found that 94 percent of businesses believe personalized online communication is vital, only 44 percent of them personalize their websites.
That’s bad news for the other 56 percent, as website personalization can boost sales by nearly 20 percent, according to the study.
Even when you’re interacting with customers from behind a computer screen, there are several ways to personalize the experience and increase engagement.
From social media channels to customer relationship management tools that use customer data to customize communication, there are a variety of ways to make communication more meaningful to your customers.
Avoid getting your marketing messages sent to the spam folder by writing your customers as if they’re friends, not simply people you want money from.
Address recipients by name and customize the message based on the action they most recently took on your site. Did they visit your home page but never return? Invite them back.
Were they about to click “Purchase” but left before the sale? Ask them how you can help. Stop spamming and start communicating genuinely.
Greetings From the Web
Design your website with each customer in mind. Include a pop-up that greets returning visitors by name based on log-in info.
Distribute calls to action to learn more about why they’re browsing. If your business is in ecommerce, suggest new products the customer might like based on past purchases.
Sears, which offers coupons based on previous buys, saw a 17 percent increase in online sales in 2012 after personalized features were added to its site, InternetRetailer.com reports.
Social media networks aren’t just for pushing out marketing messages—they should be used to better get to know your customers.
When you receive feedback through these channels, acknowledge it. Address respondents by name and be gracious for the insight they’ve provided.
If you leave their questions unanswered, the customer service solutions group TeleNetwork found that up to 50 percent of customers will stop buying from you.
Casual social media followers can turn into brand advocates who spread your vision and increase sales, but only if you establish a strong personal connection.
It’s also vital you manage your online reputation. Potential customers use social media to learn more about you, and if they don’t like what they read, they’ll take their business elsewhere.
A study by ecommerce consultants eTailing Group found that 89 percent of people use online reviews to influence their purchasing decisions.
Consider using an online reputation management service to track, analyze and improve your reviews and increase sales.
When it comes to customer service, consumers want an immediate response.
Take a look at these stats from a Live Person 2013 Connecting with Customers report:
- When making a purchase online, 70 percent of website visitors expect to have access to help within five minutes
- 30 percent want immediate help
- 48 percent said they would abandon their purchase or go elsewhere if they didn’t receive help within their expected time frame
This is why live chat has become a popular customer service avenue. A Forrester Research study found that 44 percent of online consumers stated having a live person available to answer questions during an online purchase was one of the most important features the site could offer.
Business News Daily reported 83 percent of consumers felt there was no benefit in using automated systems or that they only provided a cost savings benefit to the company.
Consumers are looking for real people to find real answers. The personality and the people who are behind a business are becoming increasingly important.
A live chat system allows customers to interact directly with the representative, which further establishes the human element most are looking for today.
It also allows sales reps to have multiple conversations at once, something that can’t be done if the rep is assisting a customer on the telephone.
Just because you aren’t looking at your customers from behind a customer service desk doesn’t mean your business can’t deliver stellar engagement in the digital space.
By using technology tools to derive data for personalized digital strategies, customers will feel special and be more likely to buy.