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How To Develop Excellent Customer Relations Online

Updated on November 20, 2013

Business today has become a lot more personal and informal. When once you could have simply listed an item online and wait for it to sell, now it's more important than ever to build customer relations.

This has the advantage of being more likely to get repeat customers and a stronger following. Luckily with just a little care and time, it's simple to build good online customer relations skills that will serve you a lifetime ~

Source

What Is Customer Relations?

Customer relations are the techniques used to build a relationship with your customers. This is important for several reasons:

  • Getting to know your customers means you get to learn what they want and need. You can then tailor your products and services to meet their needs and so be more likely to get sales.
  • Your customers will come to trust you, including what you have to say and sell and will be more inclined to become repeat customers.
  • Taking the time to listen to customer feedback, gives priceless information on how the running of your business could be improved.

Online vs Face-To-Face

Customer relations vary slightly depending on what type and where your business is. It can sometimes feel more difficult to build customer relations online, as you can't read body language, tone of voice, or hear instant responses. But thankfully you do have other tools at your disposal.

Online
Face-to-Face
Comments forms
Body language
Ratings & reviews
Facial expression
Social Media
Tone of voice
Polls & surveys
'Gut reaction'

Tailor Customer Relations To Target Market

Whether your business is new or already established, you should have a target market (TM). This is one specific type of person that your products and services are aimed at. When you have your TM, it is far easier to structure your customer service to suit them.

Remember you are trying to build a relationship just like you would any other. So you want to get to know each customer's likes and dislikes, hobbies, interests and budget. This is where social networks come into their own. Encourage fans to join and share pictures, stories and questions on your business page and get into conversations with them. Try to find out what's going on in their world (without being too intrusive of course), what they appreciate and even what annoys them.

Customers like a business that is passionate about what they do, is knowledgeable about their products and gives back to the customer. There's nothing more off-putting than a company that is blatantly trying to just get information in order to sell to you. Be genuinely interested in your customers and don't be afraid to offer free advice or other perks, it will be appreciated. Remember all successful relationships depend on two-way give and take!

How Goos is Your Online Customer Service

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Basic Customer Service Tips & Tricks

Whether online or face-to-face, products or services, male or female, young or old, there are some basic customer service techniques that will help build customer relations with your target market...

Be polite. It is a sad fact in life, but there will always be potential customers who get on your nerves. They could be having a bad day, or simply have bad communication skills and it can be very tempting to just tell them where to go. But, even if they are not a good fit for your business, their friends and family might be. Remember, they are probably unaware of their behaviour, so keep calm, respond to their messages politely and possibly refer them to someone you feel would suit their needs better than you could.

Listen. It can be easy to lash out when you read something into what someone has said, plus it's hard to take criticism! If a customer has a complaint, don't take it personally. Listen to what they are saying and weigh up whether they have a good point or not. Improve on any imperfections, your business will only grow stronger because of it.

Respond quickly. Unanswered messages or late replies make your company look like they don't care and don't know what they are doing. It's worth taking the time to respond to every customer, however they contact you.

Be transparent. Customers will not trust you, or want to build a relationship with you, if they feel you are hiding something. Set out clear terms & conditions, privacy and any other information they will need, including details of your products/services.

Keep it simple. In every aspect of your business, keep things as simple as possible. This includes how your site works, your networking and customer service. Make sure your site is easy to use and there is a clear FAQ, it will put customers at ease and give you less questions to answer. Pick two or three of your favourite social networks and build a following on them only. The big names are more than popular enough to give you what your business needs. Have clear and easy to use forms of communication~ my favourites are a built in contact form on the site, email and social networks.

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