So much of an OCS operator’s success depends on face-to-face communication. The initial sales meeting, routine deliveries, and even the occasional repair call offer ample opportunity to connect with customers and prospects. It’s during these interactions relationships with customers are built, and thus your company.
What happens, then, when those interactions are swept away from underneath you in the blink of an eye? How do you maintain existing relationships? How do you foster new ones?
The current situation has no doubt presented challenges the industry has yet to see. Fortunately, we live in an era where you can continue to build relationships without being physically present.
By leveraging the use of the internet, you can still work to build your company and its reputation.
3 ways to connect with your customers online
Connecting with customers goes beyond simple transactions. It’s more than an exchange of names, phone numbers, and money. It’s about providing value.
To truly connect with a customer means the difference between them passively using your service and being active fans of your company. The former leaves you with no leverage on your competition, while the latter creates customers who rave about your business, which often leads to more customers.
Connecting in this way builds the kind of long-term relationship you need for success. Here’s how you can do it online.
1. Leverage Your Website
The days of flipping through the Yellow Pages have long since been over. Most people, as in 88%, now go online when searching for products and services.
What does this mean for you?
As a service-based business, your website is essentially a digital store. It’s where visitors can go, look around, and decide what they think of your company. If your website is not inviting or does not provide the necessary information for customers to decide whether or not to engage your sales team, you’ve lost them already.
To connect with customers in a meaningful way, your website needs to be easy to navigate and provide information they find valuable. The best (and easiest) way to do this is through content.
Having a company blog where you can talk about your company, touch on topics of *their* interest, and discuss news or trends in the industry creates a dialogue between you and your customers. This dialogue is essential to connecting with customers in a way that builds a lasting relationship in a digital environment.
2. Get Social
Social media is perfect for building relationships with your customers. Beyond keeping in touch with friends and family, it’s really what platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are designed for. The key, however, is to provide content that your target audience finds valuable, and provide it consistently.
Here are four ways to provide value on social media:
Create a strategy where your content touches on all or a variety of these pillars (and not just for promoting your service), and you’ll be able to connect with customers better.
Having your customers’ email addresses means you have direct access to their inbox. Not literally, of course. But email provides you with a way to connect on a more personal level.
Like social media, email marketing is not only for promotional content. Done correctly, you can foster relationships with your customers that helps turn them into raving fans because what makes email unique and effective for connecting with them is the ability to personalize messages. Tools like Mailchimp make it easy to address everyone by name, giving your emails a personal touch.
Doing this helps prevent your emails from sounding like a generic message that everyone knows was sent en masse.
But even better, you can analyze the data you have about each customer and segment your list. For example, if you have many customers that like a certain product–let’s say flavored creamers–you can create emails that are tailor-made just for them, and keep them up-to-date on new flavors they might like, or maybe recipes of all kinds that they can use in different ways.
Providing valuable information in this way helps build trust in your company and creates better connections.
It’s a different world right now. It might seem like there’s no end, but as Bob Tullio recently said, it’s temporary. While you’re not able to interact with customers as much face-to-face, taking advantage of digital communications and amplifying your value will help you come out the other side stronger.