Customer Experience News & Trends

Can you build loyalty when customers are only buying online?

It’s pretty easy for customers to “cheat” on you when you have a mostly anonymous online relationship. So is it possible to build true loyalty when you don’t personally interact?

Yes, according to new research.

Positive personal interaction will always be a key in building loyalty, but nearly 40% of customers say that a personal experience isn’t just about interacting with a person.

Companies can also create personal experiences by knowing customers’ personal preferences and interacting with them based on those, found the survey, “Connected Customers and the Most Personal Brand Experience.”

The big opportunity

So where are the biggest opportunities for companies to build loyalty when much of the relationship is online? Customers in the survey say it’s post-purchase, when they have the product, are experiencing the service or need help from a service pro or technician. That’s what makes or breaks their loyalty.

Yes, you want your website to make a good impression so potential customers consider you. Your marketers know how to make it attractive and easy-to-navigate to drive in the traffic and get the initial sale. From there, here are six things your customer service professionals can do to build loyalty:

1. Answer orders

Quickly initiate the first post-purchase experience. Send an automatic reply as soon as customers submit an order. Make it personal, congratulating them on their smart choices. Refer to what they’ve purchased. Let them know what to expect next. Include the name and contact information of a specific person. Avoid a generic “Your Customer Service Team” signature.

2. Keep the information flowing

Update customers on their orders — not your latest promotions. Send delivery details (nearly every carrier allows customers to track their orders) on products or updates on the arrival of expected services. Set up alerts in your system so customer service knows if there’s a kink in the order fulfillment process. That way, they can send a personal email or call customers so they aren’t surprised or as upset by a delay.

3. Show your personality

Customers will feel like they’re on a friendly basis with employees and your company if you share more with them. Ask service pros to add pictures of themselves to their email signatures and on their social media profiles. Post photos of your facility and employees in action on your website.

4. Get active

Social media is a platform where employees can show their personalities a little bit more than via email and online chat. Sure, everything they write should be professional, but social media is a more laid back space where service pros might be able to mention their hobbies and interests — just like they would in a personal conversation.

When appropriate, give them space to share a funny story about a beloved pet, favorite sports team or an interesting book. Customers will connect on a personal level to that.

5. Stay fresh

Change your website homepage frequently and update your social media posts a few times a day with fresh ideas and news. It reassures customers that there are active, interested people behind what they see online. Plus, it keeps the customer experience is fresh.

6. Call them

Some situations call for an actual phone conversation, even when the relationship has always been online. Call customers when mistakes happen. Apologize, explain what’s happened and what’s been or will be done to fix it. Then, ask them how they’d like to be updated on progress. They may be just as happy — and still feel connected — with a less personal email or social media post.

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