In the ever-changing world of eCommerce, finding and retaining customers is becoming increasingly difficult. One of the most challenging aspects of the modern world is finding the answer to a seemingly simple question – how can a business form relationships with customers?
Before this question can be answered, it’s important to understand what affects consumer decisions at any stage of the sales funnel. Why is a customer going to a competitor and not you?
It could be any number of reasons:
- Variety: your competitors, by nature of their inventory, might be able to offer more variety than you can. Why go to two stores to buy two different products when you have a one-stop-shop available?
- Visibility: your competitor might have a stellar SEO program, or have been in the business since before the Dot Com Era. It’s hard to compete with a renowned brand name.
- Competition: customers are spoiled for choice, and rather than do their research, they’ll go with someone they’ve had a good experience with.
There is so much more to this issue. And if you’re an eCommerce business owner, you are probably thinking of some other reasons specific to your business and industry.
At the end of the day, you cannot control what your competitor is doing. You can only control your own business practices. One of the best ways you can create a solid customer base is by finding good customers and offering them unparalleled customer service.
What makes a good customer?
In short, a good customer will buy from you again and again. They’ll keep coming back for more, whether you offer a product or a service. You’ll be their first port of call for what they need, when they need it.
Another definition of a good customer is someone who’s willing to put their money where their mouth is – by paying for your product/service and recommending others to do the same.
How can you tell which customers are your best? Here are some indicators:
Good customers buy multiple products from you within a short period of time.
The more customers buy from you, the stronger their relationship becomes with your business. The stronger the customer relationship is with the business, the more likely they are to see the situation as a mutual exchange. This goes beyond the shopping cart.
Good customers go out of their way to help you.
These are people who’ve tried your services twice now, and have not only paid for them, but also provided great feedback. They could be the kind of person who’s willing to stand up in front of a large audience and recommend you to everyone there.
Good customers go out of their way to communicate with you.
Whether that’s through visiting your social networking profiles, or emailing you with concerns, good customers will let you know that you’ve done a good job. More importantly, they’ll tell you when you’ve gotten it wrong. This is one of the best ways you can grow as a business.
What makes good customer service?
Good customer service is not just about the way you communicate with customers. It’s also about letting your customers know you value them as people, not just wallets to fill.
Making good use of good customer feedback is one of the best ways that eCommerce business owners can achieve this. That means keeping an ear to the ground when it comes to:
- Customer complaints: responding to customer complaints is an essential step for all businesses offering products or services online. Reputations ride and die on how a business responds to complaints. And complaints are always a learning experience.
- Knowing your product/service: thorough knowledge of your inventory can help you address complaints quickly and accurately. There’s nothing worse than being unable to provide an answer to a pointed question about what you offer.
- Quick response times: time is off the essence, always. Never let an opportunity to massage a customer relationship go begging. Just as you expect quick payment for services rendered, customers expect quality customer service quickly.
- Positive sharing: if a customer leaves a good review, it’s important to thank them. Positive interactions show that you are fully engaged with your customer base.
Exemplary customer service – a case study
When it comes to eCommerce customer service, many brands sells and delivers a range of popular products for the home to families all over the country. From children’s toys, to electric gates, they have it all.
What they also have is a lead on the competition when it comes to exemplary customer service. In this case, the competition is quite powerful – massive, faceless entities like eBay and Amazon that treat their customers like numbers in a sheet.
Knowing the product/service
From delivery information to know the nuts and bolts of their products, the customer team knows what they are talking about. All queries are addressed succinctly and accurately.
Quick response timeframes
All responses to feedback seem to come within a few business days of the comment/review being left. There is simply no better way to address customer feedback than this.
The company takes the time to respond to all positive product reviews. As a nice touch, the customer service team member leaves their name.
When it comes to finding and keeping good customers, the best way to do it is to offer good customer service. No matter if you are a seasoned eCommerce business, or just getting started, there’s plenty you can do to make your brand a memorable one that customers will keep returning to, time after time.