The popularity of online shopping is and has been surging for years, but there are still some real disadvantages for online shops:
- the lack of the “human element” in the shopping experience,
- no one there to answer specific questions about the product, and
- no physical interaction with the product.
It’s difficult to see these problems being fully resolved on a large scale in the near future, but concerning you, the individual, there’s a simple solution from one of the most important items you have: your phone.
Your Phone as a Business Resource
Your website doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, do your shop’s heavy-lifting on its own. Funneling shoppers to call your business is a quick and constructive way to tackle two of the three problems mentioned above.
Speaking to a real person removes the anonymity of the shopping experience, thus providing that ‘human element’ we crave; likewise, talking to a (hopefully) knowledgeable employee can help people get a proper grasp on the product and why they should purchase it. Most people shop ‘emotionally,’ and it’s much easier to tap into that when you get a chance to speak to them rather than hope your website engages them.
Our anxiety-induced society has tried to shift away from talking on the phone in favor of the convenience of texting and online shopping, but the problems that have crept up due to that change can usually be remedied with a good old-fashioned phone call.
Convincing people to call is the first part. Funneling website visitors to your number should be subtle and convenient for them.
- Design choices matter.
Your number should be front and center on your site without being an eyesore;
- The impact of customer service is real.
FAQ pages are awkward—too short and it’s a waste of space, too long and nobody reads it. If people have any questions about the product/service you offer, encourage them to call; split the basic and more nuanced questions, with the basic stuff on the FAQ page and your number there for the rest.
- If you have a rewards program, encourage people to call when they ‘cash in’, so to speak.
The same idea works for customizable or special products (if you offer them)—take custom orders over the phone to satisfy the customer and guarantee the details are right. This is positive reinforcement 101: customers get rewarded for calling and will trust you more.
Once your business fosters its phone’s capabilities, you have a more direct chance of interacting with customers than if you only had a website; that means a better chance at forming lasting customer relationships that every business, especially small business, values.
Here are 5 ways to help your phone to build better customer relationships:
Make calling part of your return policy
Around 30% of online purchases are returned. This is just a fundamental reality of ecommerce. But even if something is returned, you have an opportunity to gain knowledge, trust, and maybe some purchases down the road if you handle things well.
Making people call during the process of returning something shouldn’t be a machination to nag them though—don’t pester them or try to sell something else.
The most appropriate way to do this constructively is to strongly recommend the customer call to confirm they’ve physically shipped the product back to you. Then, you can find out what was wrong, what they’re looking for, and find a solution together rather than them leaving for good after getting their money back. (On another note, that is a good way to discourage scammers, who may have a harder time lying to people on the phone than in writing.)
Engage your customers
Talk to your customers every chance you get; it’s important for them to realize it’s human beings on the other end of their purchase who are doing their best to make everyone happy. There is so much valuable information to gain just from a casual chat with your customers.
Make your response times ultra-quick
The speed at which problems are solved or inquiries handled are the backbone of customer service. Having to wait or call a company multiple times is not going to help put your customers in a cheery mood. Picking up the phone immediately gives the impression that your company is on the ball.
With a well-organized phone system that uses call routing, it doesn’t matter how many employees you have either; calls will be sent automatically to the proper place, either following predetermined call routing rules or skipping over employees that are busy.
Integrate your social media to your phone
Word of mouth is paramount for ecommerce, especially when advertising budgets are strapped or nonexistent. Integrating your business’s social media accounts to send updates to your phone is a great way to ensure you don’t miss anything.
Knowing what’s happening on social media at all times will help your company strategize and better target future customers.
Brand loyalty is real, but quality is not the only factor behind it. A brand’s image is gigantic in attracting and keeping customers; for small online businesses, those branding opportunities rest in who you and your staff are as people, so make sure to be yourself! Whether it’s in custom greetings or a phone call itself, inject some personality into every customer interaction.
It’s okay to be informal — every year businesses of every shape and in every industry are becoming more casual, so don’t be afraid to let your customers know who you are and what you and your products stand for.
The tips above are about the little things to make your online shop distinguishable. Providing great customer service is challenging and it’s easy to overlook the small things, but if you pay attention to detail and keep at it, customers are bound to come back for more.
While any phone could help you accomplish this, a virtual phone system built for small businesses is a better bet to streamline and improve the way your shop communicates with customers and staff. With advanced features and flexibility, MightyCall is guaranteed to turn your phone into your business’s MVP.
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