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Treat Online Customers As You Would Your Offline

Aug 14, 2008
With technology providing such a key form of communication, it makes perfect sense for large businesses to attract their customers through online marketing. Search engine marketing has allowed for an even higher success rate with targeted audiences. The key to building customer loyalty is to treat these online customers as individuals.

Offline, you spend time making sure that your marketing materials bring customers into your shop front. In the internet world, you're utilising search engine marketing to target customers and bring them to your website. When a customer enters your establishment, you immediately greet them, offer assistance, and work to provide them with the highest level of service. As a business owner, this is common knowledge in gaining and keeping customers. The same idea can be applied to your website audiences. Adding a personal touch to your online marketing is easily accomplished by simply extending the customer service that you give to physical patrons in a new format to reach internet patrons. There are several areas in which this can be accomplished.

Make Your Site User Friendly: When customers have to drive, find a parking spot and browse a store, they are much more likely to stay until they find what they need. Internet users are much quicker to change online sites, if it is difficult to find key items or slow to navigate on your site, users will likely leave and move onto competitor's sites.

Reply Quickly and Personalize Responses to Inquiries - Just as you would quickly assist a customer who enters your establishment; assist your online customers with quick and thorough responses to all questions. When communicating with customers, use the information you ask for on the contact form to personalize messages and make the customer feel valued. When responding to inquiries, avoid stock messages as they send a tone that tells the customer they are not important. Set up personalised auto responders to let the customer know that the message was received and offer a turnaround time for an answer.

Display a Privacy Statement: When customers enter your business, they may not be required to give any information regarding their identity. Online customers are required to give many more details about themselves and if they're not sure how that information will be used or protected, they may go somewhere else. Display your privacy statement prominently so customers know that their information is safe.

Earn Customer Loyalty: If a customer has a negative experience with your company, they are less likely to return and the same holds true for online customers. If they feel they have not received good service, they will not likely purchase from you again.

Online customers can be even more valuable than offline customers and should be treated as such. Ninety percent of online users research their products and services online. Providing top notch customer service and exceeding their expectations will almost guarantee their return. Comments regarding experiences with online businesses spread quickly on the internet. Do all that you can to ensure positive comments are being spread by all who do business with your site.
About the Author
Lee Roper offers Search Engine Marketing Services in the UK. Services comprise of Search Engine Optimisation, Pay Per Click (PPC) Management and e-Marketing Coaching within Hampshire and throughout the UK. Lee adds value to his clients online marketing activities by managing SEO, PPC and coaching best practice techniques.
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