The digital age has changed all of that, of course. While it has accelerated a lot of the steps in the sales process, it has taken the human aspect out in many ways. There are tactics that business owners can use, however, to build better relationships with customers that they have never actually met.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.54.43 PMThe art of doing business used to mean a lot of interaction, hand-shaking and face time. Small business owners in particular had a greater chance of closing a deal when they met with their customers and put a face to their business name.

How to Keep Customers Happy in a Digital Marketplace

The digital age has changed all of that, of course. While it has accelerated a lot of the steps in the sales process, it has taken the human aspect out in many ways. There are tactics that business owners can use, however, to build better relationships with customers that they have never actually met.

Building a friendly website. You will notice that I did not say it needs to be “user-friendly” – though that is essential too. Infuse the personality of your brand into your online presence through photos, blog posts and video content. Give a face to your business name and increase your credibility with your consumer base.

Responding online. Keep a close eye on your social media accounts, comments on blog posts, customer review sites and your email inbox. Whenever you see a negative comment, be sure to respond as quickly as possible in order to avoid too much digital damage. Consumers are used to sending messages, and receiving answers, in real-time so make sure you are quick to answers questions and concerns.

Using an online CRM. Did you know that implementing a customer relationship management tool can reduce sales costs by 23 percent? Having that customer information at the ready is really valuable when it comes to keeping relationships strong and forging new ones. Many CRM providers even offer cloud-based options so you can access your sales information from anywhere and be able to grow your base on the go. Easily accessing your customer information will mean being able to act quickly when something is needed – giving your brand of service an advantage over competitors.

Acting in a proactive way. Just as you should stay in the know about anything negative being said about you in cyberspace, you should also cultivate positive feedback. Think of it as a way to have “money in the bank” when it comes to good press on your small business. Ask happy customers to leave reviews for you on your Facebook page, and other consumer-review sites. Use testimonials on your own website. Send out “thank you” emails a few times a year to let your customers know that you appreciate your business. Ask your consumers for insight and then adjust your practices based on what they say.

How do you keep your customers smiling when so much business is done remotely?

Photo via Flickr/Creative Commons

Original article: How to Keep Customers Happy in a Digital Marketplace

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