Continued from page 1
* What do customers want from your site? Remember, not all customers are profitable, so you need to identify your best customers and tailor your offer to them. Make sure to understand what your best customers really need and why they have defected. By learning purpose of your visitors, you are in a much better situation to provide them with what they want. The better you serve their purposes, more they will appreciate your site.
* Why are they visiting your site and would they return after their first visit? Do everything to entice your customers to identify themselves to you, such as special discounts or other incentives. Despite privacy concerns, you would be surprised by how much information customers will willingly volunteer if they think you are trustworthy! Study online competitors, off-line competitors, and any “comparable” dot-coms that are facing similar issues in a different market.
* What technology do they use, what features are they familiar with, and how long do they want to spend at our site? A lot of online businesses fail because either their designs are far too bandwidth intensive, or it did not do its homework and has zero knowledge of customer’s ability and usage of site.
2. Your company’s mission should be to provide great customer experience.
You must commit yourself to creating best possible customer experience for your site. Some brick-and-mortar organizations making a crossover to e-commerce have ingrained behaviors and attitudes that hinder delivering superior customer service. If other people are involved in your online business from independent web designers, to programmers or marketing personnel make sure that everyone shares your vision. If you have employees, it is best that you assign one of them to be your customer service champion whose main job is to oversee how company is continuously improving its service. Linking rewards to service is also an effective way to promote better service. Your organization’s goal should be to provide a great customer experience that makes it quicker and easier for customers to buy your products or services.
Use objective data. Solicit customer feedback, run survey forms, or get a friend to evaluate site. Gather and use information to improve your relationship with all of your customers. However, refrain from sending them with frequent direct mail or with unsolicited e-mail. As much as possible avoid selling your customer information to anyone: it will anger your customer for violating your promise of protecting his or her privacy.
On Internet, showing brochures and sales promotions alone is not going to cut it with consumers. While competitive pricing is first step, role of every online entrepreneur is to become relationship-focused if his or her business is to survive. In terms of technology, it is crucial that online companies invest in technology but there is no need to go overboard. Use available technology to improve customer service and manage costs.
3. Keep an eye on customer experience.
It is essential to continually monitor and improve customer experience. Watch (and respond to) customer e-mails, actively listen to feedback and comments, and occasionally involve outside experts to give objective guidance.
A great customer experience can result in strong word-of-mouth exposure, positive publicity, and increased revenues. However, customer experience is never perfect. Building a greater customer experience is not an event, but a continuous process towards online success.
Nach Maravilla is the Publisher of Power HomeBiz Guides at http://www.powerhomebiz.com, an online magazine designed to stimulate the entrepreneurial mind. Visit PowerHomeBiz.com today and learn from its many articles, tools and resources to help you start, manage and grow a small business, whether online or traditional.