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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 09 June 2021
  • Alex Penfield

How to Maintain a Digital Relationship with Your Customers

These days, it seems like everyone meets online. From dating to networking, the world of digital relationships is booming, and your small business connections should be no exception. Though far from romantic in nature, building and maintaining digital customer relationships has a lot in common with the online dating world — the goal is to create a digital presence that puts your best foot forward with the hope that potential prospects will “swipe right” and choose you. As a small business, forging these personal connections, both online and in person, is what sets you apart from your competition. A stronger relationship with customers increases your chances of winning repeat business and can lead to increased sales over time. So how can you help your small business win big in the world of digital customer relationships?

person on a laptop with a credit card

Below are a few tips to help you along in your digital customer relationship journey, whether you’re new on the scene, hoping for more connections or simply searching for a refresher.

  • Create a home base. Your website can be a great place for your business to call home. Create a page that provides value to your customers and showcases your business’ unique personality, but be sure to keep it simple — your customers will appreciate a site they feel comfortable navigating. Use social posts and platform landing pages to direct customers to your website whenever possible. It should be a one-stop shop for everything they need to know about your small business. If you’re someone that doesn’t have prior website design experience, don’t worry. There are a myriad of companies and tools available that simplify the process of creating a website, hosting web pages and contact forms online, making it easy for your customers to reach you directly and further strengthening your digital customer relationships. For a list of top website builders for small businesses, click here.
  • Be vigilant about reviews. Most customers read online reviews before visiting a business or making a purchase decision. Customers take note when businesses reply to reviews and make an effort to make things right. Providing consistent responses to reviews — both good and bad — shows your customers that your business is committed to providing the best customer experience possible and can help you build a sense of trust that is integral to a digital customer relationship. While receiving negative feedback is never fun, it is a great way to make changes that better serve your customers and creates a more open, transparent line of communication with your customers.
  • Know your customer. Meet your customers where they are by getting to know their online habits. Are they big into Pinterest? Do they spend a lot of time on Facebook? Perhaps they are professionals who prefer LinkedIn. Taking a tailored, focused approach to your outreach helps your customers feel a more authentic connection to you and your business, making your digital customer relationships that much stronger.
  • Be feature-focused. Once you’ve narrowed down your approach, utilize the features of each platform to your advantage. For example, the Direct Message function on Instagram and Messenger on Facebook allow for real-time conversations, allowing your customers to ask questions and get in touch with you directly, anytime, anywhere. Many companies utilize Twitter’s quick, easy-to-use functionality as a dedicated customer support platform to handle product issues and service requests.
  • Use email to your advantage. When it comes to branded emails, personalization is king. Your customer’s inbox is likely clogged with communications from all kinds of businesses, so crafting an email that piques a particular interest, provides value and speaks directly to your customer is necessary if you hope to make it to the top of the overflowing inbox. Personalize whenever possible. Use first names, reference a prior purchase, or simply use language that makes your customer feel special. Be selective and don’t over-communicate — when they receive an email from your business, they’ll know it’s one they want to open.

Digital customer relationships can take time to build, but once they’re forged, they can prove invaluable to your small business. Don’t let the thought of connecting to your customers on the internet be overwhelming. Just remember to keep things simple and start by crafting an online presence your customers look forward to interacting with, one that mirrors the same best-in-class experience that happens in person. Once you’ve established yourself, stay active to keep your digital customer relationships as fresh and healthy as possible.

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