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How to Create a Better Online Customer Experience

How to Create a Better Online Customer Experience

It doesn’t matter what niche or industry you are in. Competition is part of the game, and if you’re dealing with customers online you might have to deal with competition that’s local as well as competitors from around the world. What that means is that providing a fantastic online customer experience is more important than ever before.

Here are some suggestions to help you ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for your online customers.

Go Mobile Friendly

As of 2015, more online searches were conducted on mobile devices than on computers, a trend that is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. To give your customers a great mobile experience, you should pick a mobile responsive design for your website, and make sure that any emails you send out are optimized for mobile users. Some things to keep in mind for email include keeping your text in a single column and including alt tags for your images in case they don’t load properly.

Streamline the Navigation of Your Site

Bad or confusing site navigation is one of the most common reasons that web users hit the dreaded “back” button on their browser. The navigation for your website needs to be extremely user-friendly and intuitive. That means that your menu should appear either at the top of your home page or on right margin. Everything should be clearly labeled.

Other things to keep in mind are making it easy to return to your home page from anywhere on your site by making your logo a hyperlink back to your home page. You should also have a search option at the upper right-hand corner of your site, and contact information on the footer of every page.

Minimize Data Collection

When people sign up for your mailing list, how much information do you request? Research shows that every field you add to your opt-in form reduces your conversions by approximately 11%. If all you’re doing is collecting names for your mailing list, consider limiting your form to just an email address – or at most, an email address and a first name so you can personalize your emails.

Payment screens require additional information, but again, keep it to a minimum. If you don’t need a company name or an age, don’t ask for it. Stick to the basics and you’ll increase your conversions and sales.

Highlight Reviews and Testimonials

Research shows that an overwhelming majority of online consumers look at reviews before making a buying decision. Furthermore, even one negative review can be enough to change someone’s mind about buying a product or signing up for a service.

You can do a lot to ease customer doubts and overcome fears by linking to your review pages on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google My Business. Linking to off-site reviews is especially helpful because they are perceived as objective where customer testimonials on your website are not.

That said, it is also a good idea to include some testimonials or case studies on your site. People want to know that your company has helped people like them, and testimonials are a good way to demonstrate that to them.

Do A/B Testing

One mistake that a lot of companies make is not testing their websites and emails. The truth is that conversion is a science. There are many psychological factors that go into the buying decisions we make, including things like:

  • Color choices
  • Font choices
  • Page layout
  • Headlines
  • Graphics

A/B testing, which is also sometimes referred to as multivariate testing, can help you test out multiple options of every aspect of your website and marketing materials. Sometimes even a small change, such as switching a call to action button from red to green, can make a big difference in your conversions – and in how customers feel about your company.

Maintain an Active Social Media Presence

The days when companies can afford to ignore social media as a marketing tool have long since passed. With more than two billion social media users worldwide, you need to maintain some kind of social media presence to keep up with your competitors. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Choose the social media sites you use wisely based on your customer avatars or personas.
  • Don’t set up accounts that aren’t active. Any active account you have must feature regularly updated content.
  • Don’t post identical content across multiple platforms. Modify your content to fit the medium. For example, on Pinterest you might share an infographic with a link back to your blog. On Twitter, a link to your blog with a few well-chosen hashtags is the way to go.
  • Monitor your comments and reply to them as needed. The people who follow your company on social media want to feel valued.

Manage Your Online Reputation

What are you doing to manage your online reputation? Your reputation is the sum total of everything that is said about you online, including what’s on your website as well as:

  • What you post on social media
  • Social mentions, including mentions that are made on sites where you don’t maintain an active presence
  • Online reviews
  • Online listings

Everything you say and do online is part of your online reputation. To manage it effectively, you need to:

  • Maintain a consistent tone and brand image across all online media
  • Respond quickly and professionally to customer service requests
  • Deal with negative reviews in a calm way that mitigates bad experiences and turns them into positives
  • Makes customers feel engaged and valued

If you do all of these things, the image you project will be consistent and an accurate reflection of your brand.

Provide Great Customer Service

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to provide excellent customer service everywhere your customers find you online. That means having clear help links on your website, a well-thought-out FAQ page, and contact information that’s easy to find. It also means integrating your customer service with your social media presence so that customers who ask questions receive quick and accurate responses that help them resolve issues.

Providing a great user experience online doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do need to make a real effort to coordinate everything you do so that wherever customers encounter you or your brand, the leave satisfied.

Word of Mouth –  An Effective Forms Of Advertising

Word of Mouth – An Effective Forms Of Advertising

Word of mouth advertising is one of the oldest, but very effective forms of advertising. Simply put, it is the means of one person telling another person something about your business. It has always been one of the most powerful tools to have as an advertising medium. Ask yourself, are you more interested in listening to what a commercial has to say or what your best friend has to say? Who is more believable?

As a business, part of your advertising plan should focus on word of mouth advertising.  But in the world of today, word of mouth advertising is not just one person telling another of a product, as in one woman telling another woman about a product they love. Rather, there are many online and offline methods for delivering a word of mouth experience.

In this article, we focus on a few methods of advertising that can help you to pull out those recommendations that you want to get from others. How can you get recommendations and referrals from the customers you already have or the ones that you will be getting?

Focus on Providing a GREAT Customer Experience

The first and most important element of advertising is not spoiling the business that you have. Each customer that comes into your doors needs to be a customer treated as if they are the most important customer for the business. Although this may seem difficult to do, it is all about delivering a quality service and smiling.

Customer service is important to business success. If you have a bad experience at a restaurant, you tell your family and friends about it, and stop them from going there. Not only does the business lose your business but that of your family and friends, too. What you want to create, on the other hand, is an atmosphere in which the words being passed on are top quality recommendations to visit your establishment.

If you are not sure what you can do to improve your customer service, go right to the source: your customer. Find out from them what you can do to improve your overall experience.

Empower Brand Ambassadors

If your business is a locally based one, as opposed to one that is Internet based, focus on local offers that can help bring in customers. For example, a customer comes in to your hair salon. You know they had a great experience and so you offer them a discount card for their next visit and include one for their friend. If they pass on the card, you have an opportunity for them to tell the potentially new customer about your salon. This is easy advertising!

Be Active In the Community

Another way to generate more word of mouth advertising is to let others know about your business by allowing them to get to know you. Be visible and an active player in the community. Schools, Churches, community organisations as well as government offices are great ways for you to grow your local popularity. Introduce yourself to your customers. Shake their hand. Be present in your place of business.

Ask for the Recommendation

Unbelievably, one of the best ways for you to get the customers to respond to you is to ask for a recommendation. For example, you have saved someone £250 off his or her car repair bill. That is nothing to be shy about. As the customer is happily paying their now discounted bill, you can easily say to them that you are looking for new clients. Would they please recommend your service to their friends and family?

When you ask for business, even if it is simply by asking for a group of customers to come back again, you allow those customers to feel welcome within your business. More so, they are happy to tell others about their experience, especially when asked to do so.

Ask Customers to Complain

Did you know that most customers who have a bad experience never report that experience to the business? However, they do tell family and friends about it, or even worse, they get online and start talking about it. Ask customers to tell you of the problems they have with your business so you can turnaround their bad experience into a good one.

Under Promise… Over Deliver

Next, work on going over the expectations of your clients. You do not want to do the bare minimum or to get the basic level of acceptance. Rather, you want to focus on beating their expectations so that your business can flourish when they come back repeatedly so you can take advantage of what you have to offer.

Satisfy the Unhappy Customer

The customer is never wrong, even when you know they are wrong. It happens within every business.  How do you handle the disgruntled, unsatisfied customer?  That’s easy… You do whatever you can to satisfy them.  It’s not worth jeopardizing the good reputation you’ve spent years building.  In fact, many studies show that when an unhappy customer is satisfied, they become a lifetime customer of the business, simply because the business listened to them and fixed the problem.

Look Them In The Eye

When you are working with customers hand in hand, shake their hand, look them in the eye and let them know how important they are to you. This establishes a bond of trust and it helps to develop customer loyalty. Reach out, ask for their business and thank them for visiting you. This will make a difference.

As you will notice, virtually all of these word of mouth advertising methods are free or inexpensive. They make sense. They should be part of your advertising plan without fail. If they are not, add them in to the mix to ensure that your business has the foundation it needs to excel this year.