1. Customers want reliable, professional business interactions.
Let’s imagine for a moment that you are trying to get a quote from local photographers. You have a wedding coming up and you want to get a range of prices before you make your big decision. You send out messages to five different photographers inquiring about their services. Two do not respond at all, one responds two weeks late, one gives you the run-around, and one gives you quick and reasonable quotes. Who are you going to be most likely to hire? The fast responder, of course. Not only did they get back to you quickly, but the quotes were reasonable, too.
Let’s translate this scenario to your own business. When you respond to customers quickly and answer their questions in a satisfactory manner, you present yourself in a positive light. Customers may ultimately go on to shop with another company, but they will still have a positive interaction with you, and in today’s fast-paced social media-dominated society where a negative review can really do some damage, this is vital. Of course, by doing this, you also increase your chances of getting a customer—so, really, there’s nothing to lose by presenting yourself professionally.
2. You present a consistent brand image, even if you don’t know it.
Even if you know nothing about your brand image, you are positively promoting it by engaging with customers online. Let’s say you respond to a message every day. The customers are consistently happy with their exchanges with you, and they sometimes even use their experience as a springboard to visit the company website or visit your store again. After several months of this, you’ll have engaged with nearly 100 potential customers. Your consistent responses have reinforced your brand’s image and reputation for being reliable, prompt, and courteous. So, make sure to answer your customers and give them the experience they want—you’ll build a consistent brand image that will benefit you down the road.
3. You raise your brand awareness.
If you’ve been following along, you probably realize by now that brand image is an important factor in marketing your business. Now let’s take that concept a step further and talk about how directly dealing with customers can, in fact, affect people who have never even contacted you. When satisfied customers talk to their friends and family about your business, they pass on good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising. Your name gets around, and so does your reputation for providing fantastic customer service. So, the next time these people need a service that you provide, they remember you. Your brand awareness, in other words, extends beyond direct marketing and becomes part of a greater marketing effort that could potentially have a far-reaching influence.
4. Customers give feedback—and don’t hold back.
Something we all know about the internet is that the anonymity factor can cause people to say some pretty crazy things. Sometimes, these things are just rude and serve no purpose other than to try to anger others; other times, legitimate, brutally honest complaints can highlight a mistake your company made or help you figure out how to improve customer experiences. So, when a customer leaves a negative review, you should always respond in a professional manner. By the same token, when a customer leaves positive feedback, you should also respond to this and let them know you appreciated their business. Take the good with the bad and remember that you can always use feedback as a way to improve your business so that more people have better experiences.
5. Satisfied customers will share your content and do the marketing for you.
Let’s apply some practical thinking skills again: how likely are you to share about a positive customer service experience you had? Maybe a business owner went out of his way to correct a mistake he made. Maybe you returned to a business for a second time, and the owner made sure to give you a return customer discount. These sorts of behaviors are usually highly appreciated by customers, right? So, of course these satisfied customers are also more likely to follow you on social media and share your content.
How does this work to your advantage? Well, for one, it’s free advertising. You don’t have to pay a dime to post something on Facebook or Twitter, and when customers share your post, you get free exposure. Another reason is that this helps bring more traffic to your website and draw attention to limited-time offers, enticing people to take the leap and invest in your business!
6. Engagement brings more traffic to your website.
Speaking of bringing more traffic to your website, that is a bonus all on its own. When you provide great customer service, you have the opportunity to promote your business, drop links to your site, and direct people to the places they want to go. This all translates to more traffic to your website and a better customer experience.
7. Consistent engagement encompasses all these themes—and it will only help you be more successful.
Finally, the most important aspect of all of providing online customer service is to be consistent with your efforts. Regularly engaging customers and improving your customer service skills will help you be successful in the long run. In the age of the internet, it’s necessary to remember that nothing you post or say ever goes away. Ever. So, be sure to always conduct yourself professionally and regularly invest time in engaging with your customers to ensure you maintain a positive brand image. With consistency and time, you’ll find that your marketing skills will improve, more people will be aware of your brand, and more people will happily engage with your brand. And, with more happy customers and a successful business, it’s a win for everyone!