Offering the best possible online experience means you won’t miss out on valuable customers.
When the pandemic moved most of us online for a majority of our days, service providers moved to meet clients where they were: At home on their computer or phone.
For some, this was completely new. The provider may have never offered an online consultation before, while their customer may have never had a virtual financial or legal consultation before.
Despite the learning curves for all involved, providers such as marketing agencies, accountants, and lawyers have managed to do a pretty good job so far. In a recent Capterra survey of people who recently interacted with a service provider online*, 83% of respondents feel satisfied with recent online interactions with service providers.
While that satisfaction rate is certainly positive, the remaining 17% of respondents who feel either neutral or dissatisfied with their online interactions can’t be ignored. Now, more than ever, every sale counts. A happy client today may become a loyal customer for life, returning to your business when they need specific products or services.
3 tips to improve your online experience so you never miss out on a sale
Here are three actions you can take to provide a top-notch online experience to meet customer needs so they’ll want to hire you over and over again.
1. Stay on top of communication so clients are informed and want to renew their contracts
How you conduct business changed when the pandemic moved everything online, and your clients’ needs have changed, too.
Gartner research suggests that consumers want more communication, and they want that communication to be touchless, by staying informed digitally (full content available to clients).
“Be responsive,” said Max Gruber, director of Operations at FireCask. “Radio silence or poor communication can put real doubt in [clients’] minds. If you’re there for them during times like this, and you can help them pull through and grow, then they’ll be grateful down the line.”
Consistent communication helps to keep clients in the loop and builds trust in your brand, leading to contract renewals and a consistent customer base.
Software is key to online communication and can effectively manage how and when clients receive updates from you. Here’s what this looks like in practice.
2. Keep your website relevant and easy to navigate so clients can (and want to) get in touch
Sometimes, the only thing standing between you and your clients is your own website. A poorly designed website can drive away clients who prefer the sleek user experience offered by your competitor.
Your website should be customer-centric. According to Gartner, you can easily find out whether or not it is (full content available to clients). Ask yourself:
- Does my website map out product and service offerings according to our own perspective?
- Do we use confusing language or industry-specific jargon?
- Does our website offer disruptive interactions, such as sign-up pop-ups?
- Does it take multiple clicks and actions to contact us or make a purchase?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it might be time for a website redesign.
Because your website is the mediator between you and clients—both potential and existing—you want to make sure it fits their needs and isn’t just a reflection of how you see your own company.
Technology presents a Catch-22 for some service providers: While it allows them to connect with clients when they are unable to meet in-person, it can often feel cold, impersonal, or robotic. Here’s how one lawyer went digital without becoming impersonal.
3. Ask for and implement customer feedback to show that you value your clients
Outsiders can often provide the most beneficial insights. In this case, an outsider is your client; someone who isn’t as close to the company and its inner workings as you or your employees.
Customer feedback can be crucial in identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement, but not all feedback is created equal.
According to Gartner, more important than feedback in general is making sure you get the right kind of feedback that will help shape new processes (full content available to clients). There are many types of feedback you can gather from surveys:
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT) measures how happy a customer is with your company as it stands. (Ask: “How satisfied are you with your recent online interaction with our company?”)
- Net promoter score (NPS) measures how willing a customer is to recommend your service to their network. (Ask: “How likely are you to recommend our services to a colleague or friend?”)
- Customer effort score (CES) measures how easy a client’s interaction was. (Ask: “How easy or difficult was it to schedule your appointment?”)
Each of these types of feedback provide a different dimension of insight into your customer experience, and customer satisfaction software can help you manage the data you collect. But you have to ask the right questions at the right time to unlock the most valuable data.
Make your clients feel valued so they keep coming back
Providing a positive online customer experience nearly always circles back to communication. This means keeping clients informed with regular updates, quickly responding to their questions, maintaining open digital communication lines so they can easily reach you, and listening to their feedback.
Software can help you do it. Customer communications management solutions make it easier to schedule meetings, respond to concerns, and collect feedback so you don’t miss out on an opportunity to meet customer needs.
Ready to explore software options?
Results based on Capterra’s November 2020 survey of 557 U.S.-based consumers who have interacted with a service professional online more than once in the past six months.
Looking for Customer Relationship Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Relationship Management software solutions.