The new rules of customer engagement online

Customer service is changing because technology is causing a shift in the way consumers shop for goods, whether that is shopping in high street shops or online. Online businesses have plenty of good examples to learn from, companies who continue to put the customer first.

An online presence

It is vital for every business, regardless of size, to have an online presence, and this means having a professional-looking website and engaging in social media. An online presence is a form of marketing in itself, for it presents a business to its customers, allowing engagement with them via social media posts and responding to their feedback.

What this does mean is that customers have the upper hand in business transactions. For example, if a customer of a particular company feels unhappy at the way they have been treated by the staff, they need only make a post on social media about it and that unhappy encounter has been related to thousands, perhaps millions, of people. This in turn could result in more bad reviews and ultimately doing considerable damage to the business. Customer service has to be good to avoid this kind of incident happening.

Customers also demand a multichannel approach, meaning that they want to be able to contact, and be contacted by, the company via email, social media, telephone, and through a website. Thanks to the increasing use of mobile technology, customers want companies to provide the same level of service via smartphones and tablets that they do through a standard desktop computer. This means a company should develop suitable and highly functional apps that will allow a user to complete a variety of tasks.

It is not just a certain type of business that needs to engage with their client base online; the same is true whether a company is a one-man band or a big multinational. Nor should an online presence exist just for business purposes. For example, the creator of Scoot, the directory listings website, uses social media to discuss, display and promote a wide variety of his interests, not just business. If you view Robert Bonnier on Flickr, you will see that he has posted images taken all around the world, which will undoubtedly be of interest to anyone who enjoys travel and new horizons. He is using the social media platform to promote not his business, but himself personally, but this helps to provide his business with a human face.

There are benefits to the company too in having an online presence. With so much information available online to consumers, it is likely that most people conduct research before making a purchase, so companies no longer need to try to make the ‘hard sell’. Consumers already know what they want to buy; they just need the company to make it easy for them to do so.

An online presence can be mutually beneficial because it provides customers with an opportunity to give feedback on customer service. This feedback can, in turn, show businesses what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong, and in this way, they can continually improve their service.




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