It’s no secret that connectivity improved by a thousand-fold during the pandemic. When businesses thought that they would lose their customers forever due to lockdown restrictions, many communication and software companies stepped up to get everyone back in the game. As ironic as it sounds, everyone became more connected at a time of self-isolation.
At the recent Localogy Place 2021 event, it was discussed that over 60% of consumers prefer to interact with brand owners online instead of over the phone. This trend has highlighted the fact that small to medium sized business (SMB) owners need to step up their online communication strategies to get fresh customers coming. Enter “conversational business”—the strategy in which companies create every opportunity to converse with customers. All consumers want their specific needs to be heard—and conversational business can address that.
However, conversational business extends to more than just having a live chat button on your online store. There are so many other ways to remain connected with your customer while building that relationship along the way. Here are some ways you can keep that seamless connectivity with your customers:
Based on this case study by wellness beverage brand Dirty Lemon, Co-founder and CEO Zak Normandin explained that “We’re moving beyond experiential marketing and into experimental — this type of engagement enables the convenience customers have come to expect from our brand. Our customer prefers conversational interaction — we’re committed to a transaction process that eliminates all unnecessary steps.” This unconventional brand relies on text-messaging and the honor system as no one mans its minimalist shop and payments are done by SMS.
Custom contact forms
These features can be added as plugins in a professional website. This way, you will never miss an opportunity to connect with your prospects again.
Monitoring news sites and blogs is especially useful in spotting industry trends and connecting with industry influencers. It also helps you catch every mention of your company so you can get better insights into what your customers and prospects are thinking.
The most obvious use of social media monitoring for competitive purposes is to see what your competition is doing. More important, however, try to look for things they aren't doing that provide opportunities for your business — in other words, gaps that you could fill. For example, suppose you notice that lots of customers are reaching out to your direct competitor on social media asking if they have such and such product or service, but no one is answering them. Either the company doesn't provide this product or service, or they aren't responsive to customers. Either way, there's opportunity for you. Step into the breach by answering the prospects' questions and getting involved in the conversation. You could mention that you have a product or service to fill their need. By listening and responding, you show that your business is more proactive than your competitors'.
One way to make sure your customers’ queries are being handled real time is to connect your website to Facebook messenger. Your website visitors can type in their questions either as a guest or logged in on Facebook while you get the notification on your messenger app—which hopefully is installed on your phone with notifications turned on!
It's easy to say thank you for the nice comments—but what if the comments are negative? Most of our first reaction to criticism is to get defensive. For a business, however, the best approach is to acknowledge the problem and make an honest effort to resolve it. Try taking the conversation offline to avoid getting into a lengthy discussion in a public forum. Responding to both good and bad comments shows that your business is listening to customers and acting on their input.
Suppose you own a travel accessories and luggage website and you see some social media users having a discussion about the best way to pack all your items in a carry-on for a two-week trip. Get involved in the conversation by offering useful information. For instance, you could post a link to an article on your website about carry-on packing tips, as well as mention some space-saving packing accessories (that you happen to sell). The key is to provide valuable tips — not just a hard sell.
Keeping tabs on all the social media sites where your prospective customers spend time probably sounds like an overwhelming task. However, there are solutions to help. One way to get started is to set up a Google Alert on keywords such as your business name, your biggest competitors, or the product lines you carry.
You can amp up your conversational business by using Professional Business Directory with Review Management service. Not only will all your information be consistent on all business listings in over 20 directories (e.g. Google My Business, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, Google Maps, etc.), you will be able to access a platform where you can see and respond to reviews, social posts, and comments from all the connected accounts.
Businesses should take every opportunity to engage with customers. Whatever place the customer is in or whether the customer’s experience is good or bad—all opportunities is an invitation to a possible long-term relationship. Remember, the customer holds the key that can make or break a small business. So, start conversing today.