Being a business owner in the age of the digital ecosystem can be tough. Before the internet, companies nurtured the trust of their customers through in-person conversations and experiences. While that still holds clout today, there is a lot more that can influence a consumer’s impression of you, and ultimately whether or not they do business with you. Fortunately, with some TLC, and a couple extra minutes of time online, you can yield loyal, happy customers for life. Here’s how.
Privacy IS the best policy
It may seem like the internet is so full of information that people will just give you whatever you ask for. But think about yourself. How much information are you willing to provide? More often than not, your customers will only give you the pieces of information that they feel most comfortable sharing. If you ask for more than they want to share, you’ll lose them. In fact, according to a study done by Entrepreneur, seventy-two percent of Americans are reluctant to share information with businesses because they “just want to maintain [their] privacy.”
It might seem like a good idea to capture everything you want to know about a person in one form, but that could be hurting your internet leads AND your reputation. Put yourself in your consumers’ shoes, and think about what information you would be comfortable sharing.
Online Reputation Management (ORM)
Your reputation has always been important, but now, with all the conversations that happen online, you have to be mindful of what people say about you, AND what you say (or DON’T say) about yourself.
Not sure what that means?
It means monitoring the discussions that people are having about your business. Reviews are extremely important when it comes to purchasing decisions online. In fact, 90% of Americans say buying decisions are influenced by reviews! This means that customers are heavily weighing the reviews of the masses before you even have the chance to talk with them yourself.
However, you can use that to your advantage by making sure you are engaging with those people who take the time to talk about your business. By responding to every review, you have an “86% higher rating than those who don’t respond.”
Transparency – make it easy for them
An easily navigable website will help put customers at ease right from the get-go. If customers have to guess where to find information, aren’t sure where to seek further help, or have to deal with broken links and annoying pop-ups, they are far more likely to be skeptical of your business. In fact, use your website as a way to affirm the customer that they made the right decision coming to your website. Link to social media pages, press mentions or awards, and provide clear, direct contact information.
Much like presenting yourself in person, a first impression is very important to providing the kind of experience customers – both online and offline – deserve and expect.