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How To Keep Your Online Customers Happy And Loyal
There is a contradiction at the heart of online business. On one hand, the internet has demolished many of the traditional barriers to entrepreneurship, making it easier than ever to start your own venture. On the other, businesses now compete in a mind-bogglingly crowded global marketplace, making it harder to attract and maintain customers. Here are a few simple tips to help you overcome this.
Retention Over Acquisition
It is both cheaper and more profitable to retain a customer than to attract a new one. Many businesses focus on drawing in a constant flow of new customers, when their priority should be to keep the existing ones happy. There are many strategies for this, from having an inspirational mission to offering the best convenience or using a subscription model.
Brand & Personality
Brand isn’t just a logo. Your brand encompasses your customer service, your voice, your communication channels, and your people. One way to stand out is to inject your brand with personality – be wary of corporate “sales” language, boring visuals, and impersonal service.
Make sure you choose the right support channels. In order to do this, you need to determine which channels your staff are familiar with and which channels your customers use. For example, if you have someone on the team who is a whiz at social media, it can be a good idea to focus on support through Twitter. If your target audience is older and prefers to speak on the phone, you will need to train or hire staff accordingly.
By the way, what you’re thinking of when you think of “brand” is brand identity. Again, this goes beyond a mere logo. The whole visual identity of your brand should be powerful and coherent. This complete guide to building a brand identity can help you perfect this, even if you’re not naturally a creative type.
If you’re in e-commerce or digital services, your website is your business. You wouldn’t place a brick-and-mortar store in a shady, unstable-looking building, so you shouldn’t use anything but a reliable, market-leading web hosting service.
GoDaddy is one example of a solid choice. You may only know them from the commercials, but they have been one of the biggest names in the business for decades. They offer great support and many tools, all for an affordable price. This review of GoDaddy by Digital gets into greater detail on their services.
If you’re selling a physical product, your shipping and delivery channels are just as important as any other part of your business. Customers nowadays are used to super-quick delivery and generous return policies, so it will be difficult to compete if you’re not willing to offer that. Merchant Maverick has a useful guide to the best shipping platforms available, including some great options for small businesses.
The single most important thing you can do to keep your customers happy is to provide a quality product or service. Spend some time (and, if you have it, money) perfecting your website, your customer service channels, and your delivery. Do your research to find the best platforms for each task, and always put quality first. Support this with a considered and coherent brand – preferably one that feels unique and personal – and you’ll have a winning recipe for success.
Lucy Reed – firstname.lastname@example.org