Written by Dan Marzullo

May 14, 2020

Any business has the ability to build strong customer relations. Granted, some businesses may have to put forth a lot of effort in the creativity department, but it can be done! Whether your eCommerce business provides data analysis for clients or handmade soaps to customers, your business has the capacity to build customer relationships.

What does every customer appreciate? 

A personalized experience that takes their time, needs, and desires into account.

Strong customer relationships aren’t exclusive to brick and mortar businesses. eCommerce businesses can also create a personalized and meaningful digital customer experience.

People are drawn to simplicity and streamlined processes when it comes to shopping online. Your business can still provide impressive details in every stage of the customer’s shopping experience.

Here’s how your team can deepen customer relations in your eCommerce business.

Use Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

Making a great first impression on new customers and caring for existing customers requires excellent customer service. This isn’t a surprise, but the logistics of taking on high visibility with your customers may seem like a tricky road to navigate. As tricky as it might be, this first impression will be integral to building customers’ trust. Most eCommerce businesses rely heavily on their social media accounts to boost sales and to connect with new customers. 

Why should you take customer service to your social media accounts?

Customers are on social media as it is and have the itch to shop thanks to the ads you are already running. Monetizing those social media accounts by merging your efforts into one well-oiled customer service hub is a great idea! Think of customer service within the realm of social media as a bridge. Ads will gain interest and allowing in-app purchases will land the sale. However, your business may never see that customer again. If you’re wanting customer retention, providing personalized customer service will bridge the gap between a customer knowing your product and you getting to know your customer. 

Forbes addresses the importance of fine-tuning your customer service experience. “…response time is crucial because three out of five customers never complete their purchases due to poor customer service.”

Becoming aware of your customer relationship management will be useful in building loyalty and maintaining customers’ trust. 

Engaging Chatbots

Your eCommerce business will see a speedy improvement in customer satisfaction if you integrate a chatbot on your business Facebook page. Customers want instantaneous feedback when they engage with a chatbot. Chatbots are great because they can act as a placeholder until a representative is available during business hours. They can also be customized to display frequently asked questions after their initial welcome message. 

Of course, ‘engaging’ is the keyword here.

If you want customers to feel the same interacting with the chatbot as they would with an actual customer service rep, then the interactions need to be seamless and helpful. Chatbots are great in theory, but they can seem robotic if they are not personalized to your eCommerce business.

Chatbots can be a great foundation for building customer relationships in your eCommerce business. In your ManyChat dashboard, you can set up your chat bots to assist when you’re away.

customer relationship building

Personalized Communication

Another wonderful way to engage with customers is to personalize the communication that your company distributes to all types of customers. Here are some areas that your eCommerce business can implement personalized touches:

  • Email sequences. Your email sequencing tool will allow you to personalize emails with the customer’s name in the subject line and the initial greeting. You can also include the customer’s name throughout the body of the email. These emails are perfect for making a customer feel seen and appreciated.

Alternately, if a lot of your traffic comes from social media, you can set up flow campaigns to nurture page visitors into paying customers. Consult your ManyChat dashboard for a full list of templates you can use to aid here.

customer relationship skills
  • SMS messaging. You can personalize SMS messages from your eCommerce business by including the customer’s first name. Similar to the emails, but on a smaller scale, SMS messaging allows you to send out quick blurbs about upcoming sales or to simply show your customers appreciation.
  • Chatbot pop ups. We talked about the importance of chatbots in your business to facilitate customer engagement. There are a few ways to go about personalizing the customer journey through a chatbot. If you’re wanting to go from robotic interactions to personalized ones, program the chatbot to ask specific questions. Consider asking about what the customer is looking for, their needs, their experience with the product or service, their goals or concerns, etc. Use your eCommerce niche to inspire the creation of the chatbot’s dialogue. Make sure the questions are relevant and make sense in a sequence.
  • Suggested items in the shopping cart. This is normally common practice, but is worth having. Unfortunately, if an eCommerce site is too congested and difficult to navigate then customers miss out on a great product and the business obviously misses out on a sale. Suggesting products during checkout is a great tool to show current customers that you’re mindful of their interests even if it is automatically generated. 
  • Social media commenting and interaction. Having that personalized touch of human interaction on social media is huge to build loyalty with customers. Engage with customers and deepen your knowledge of their interests and concerns. Social media can be the next best thing to meeting your customers in person. Take time to reply to comments on your business page and praise the loyal customers that review and share your product or services. 

Create a Culture of Simplicity

Customers should be able to clearly understand your eCommerce business’ return policy, shipping standards, means of contacting customer service, and overall business practices as it relates to them as a customer. Make these policies simple and straight to the point on your website, social media, and customer service. Part of building long-term relationships and rapport with customers is being transparent. 

A facet of creating a culture of simplicity is practicing consistency. Your team should be aware of and have access to all of the policies so that they can help to create continuity across the board. 

The culture of simplicity also ties back into the personalized communication that goes out to loyal customers. It’s important that current customers are able to opt-out of newsletters, generalized emails, and SMS messaging effortlessly. The unsubscribe options should be easy to spot and include rules on how to do so. 

Be Seen

Every customer relationship management tool we’ve mentioned has its role in building strong customer relations, but there’s nothing quite the same as allowing your customers to see the real you and your real team. People are hungry for human interaction and for authenticity–especially when it comes to the businesses they choose to buy from. 

The example that we can use here to get the point across is by taking a minute to think about the eCommerce businesses we respect. Most likely, they’ve won your approval through some act of authenticity. Whether it’s showing their positive personality on Instagram live or openly disclosing all of the ingredients in the protein powder they make–eCommerce businesses rely on being seen.

It’s well worth having your marketing team strategize purely on being the face of your business. This strategy will go beyond the brand and pitching a product or chatbot service. How will you show your customers that you reflect your business’s values?  How will you use those values to then build customer loyalty? Here are a few goals to get you started:

  • Go live on Facebook and Instagram on a regular basis. This can be to share fun facts, simply say hi to your customer base, make an announcement, or to host a Q&A with repeat customers. This provides an opportunity to gain valuable customer feedback and measure customer satisfaction which can aid you on your path to success. 
  • Create a YouTube channel. This is a great option for eCommerce businesses that specialize in a subject or skill. For example, a virtual yoga studio would thrive making YouTube videos that offer free yoga flows and meditations. Does your business have enough valuable content to run a YouTube channel long term? It’s worth the investment if you do! Linking your channel to all social media platforms and your website will boost your chances of getting the social channel off of the ground.
  • Create unique content. Customers want to see the real you, but they also want the content to be useful. Creating unique content can be something such as “Monday Mantra” or “Thursday Giveaway”. If a customer sees you “showing up” for them on a regular basis then that will translate into a stronger connection to you and your brand.

Key Takeaways

The underlying tricks to building relationships with customers in eCommerce is consistency and authenticity. It takes time and effort to create a customer base that is also consistent and authentic. The work that you put in now will pay off. Ensure that customers are receiving the most personalized communication. Customize chatbots to be less robotic by prompting questions that are realistic to an actual conversation. Show up for your customers by showing them that you’re a real person and your business is run by real people.

If you get stuck along the way simply ask yourself, “What kind of customer experience would I appreciate most?” Here’s to showing customers that you care! Your hard work won’t go unrewarded. Not only will you gain customers, but you will gain life-long customers and form long-term relationships.