Building a successful business requires building relationships with your customers. Your website provides a host of opportunities for creating, building and expanding relationships through the use of automated processes and managed contacts.
An effective and positive customer relationship doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a sustained effort and repeated contacts over time. That sustained effort will enable you to meet or exceed your customers expectation.
Managing Expectations and Building Relationships
The first step in managing customer expectations is to understand customer expectations. Your website can help by providing options for feedback from your customers. The feedback can be either multiple choice questions in questionnaires or surveys or open-ended feedback through site forms. Following are a few of the most commonly used interactive web processes for relationship building.
Interaction – Any action taken by your customer can indicate a user preference. You should always look for ways to gather information from your users any time they take an action.
Surveys – Questionnaires – Surveys have always been used to gather information on customers. The web gives you new and more effective ways to ask the questions. Rather than long, tiresome multiple question surveys, the web allows you to entice your visitors to answer single questions in a variety of various situations. Another alternative survey is the two option question to see which the users prefer.
Rewards – Even small rewards work to enhance the customer relationship. Rewards can be free information, free membership and other promotional options such as email newsletters and email promotions. You should look for ways to provide both rewards and feedback.
Immediate Feedback – Immediate feedback channels like online chat are excellent ways to enhance customer relationships. Unlike phone interactions, chat interactions can allow one customer service person to handle more than one person at a time. Chants also allow you to provide a positive and personal interaction.
Automated Email Responses – All contact form or requests for information should provide an immediate email response to let the customer know you have received the request and when they should expect a response. Including links to FAQ’s is also a good idea.
Offer Multiple Opportunities for interaction – Positive customer relationships are built and enhanced with multiple positive interactions. Insuring that every interaction results in an immediate contact and a positive outcome is paramount. Follow up on all interactions.
Provide valuable content – Providing users valuable content and training provides a similar experience as providing positive feedback. This type of content should be uses as rewards for any interaction between client and the web site.
Three keys to building and enhancing relationships
- Communicate – Strong relationships are built through give and take that results in a positive interaction. Communicating indicates that you want to understand your customers needs rather than just provide a product or service.
- Don’t just tell…Ask for feedback – Use your website to provide information and use interactive processes to ask for your customer’s feedback. Conversations are always more positive that simply “telling”. Your goal should always be two-way conversations.
- Show Appreciation – Always end any communication with a show of appreciation. It is extremely easy for your customer to be the customer of someone else. Verbal appreciation costs you nothing but helps insure a satisfied customer.