How Your Business Can Make a Great Impression in Four Easy Steps
Head and shoulders above the crowd
Do you want your home services business to stand out from throngs of eager competitors? Of course you do! But as customers become more Internet-savvy, face-to-face interactions are on the decline. So does your business offer a memorable first impression? Does it focus on key interaction points that create positive customer experiences? If you’re not sure, here’s a handy four-point guide on how to attract and retain buyers, turning casual browsers into loyal customers with just a few simple steps.
What do on-line customers really want?
For almost 80% of American consumers, their requirements are simple: speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service. These basic preferences outweigh even more sophisticated options like loyalty programs, personalization and cutting-edge technology. However, over half of them also feel that most companies could do far more to improve the experiences of their customers.
So if you’ve been battling to boost your Internet presence and create a great impression for your business, this is the market loophole you need. Here’s how to structure a plan focused on what customers really want, based on four key elements: Speed, Convenience, Knowledgeable Help, and Friendly Service:
In today’s high-pressure world, instant access and fast delivery are basic expectations in every industry. From ordering food to booking a maintenance call, speed is a key factor for positive customer experiences. So, thinking about speed and your business:
- Can your customers interact with you easily?
- How quickly do you respond to customer contacts?
What’s your baseline speed for each interaction? Convenience
Although price and quality outrank convenience for the vast majority of consumers, nearly half say they would pay more for greater convenience. A whopping 97% note that they have backed out of a purchase because of friction points making it inconvenient. So, thinking about convenience and your business:
- How many clicks are needed to reach each goal?
- Is the experience seamless, using a single communications channel?
- Do you enhance convenience for your customers?
What are major friction points for your customers?
Customers expect your business to be knowledgeable about its products or services, and how well they might respond to individual needs. It’s shocking to learn that nearly 50% of all consumers will abandon an entire brand (not just a purchase) if employees are not knowledgeable. So, thinking about knowledgeable help and your business:
- Do your employees understand customer needs?
- How does your business respond to customer pain points?
- Does your solution offer value to your customers?
How fast is your in-house collaboration when replying to inquiries?
Understanding the value of the human element in customer experiences is vital for creating positive interactions that build up loyalty. An astonishing 60% of consumers say they will not support a brand if the service is not friendly. So, thinking about friendly service for your business:
- Are you actively boosting cordiality in customer interactions?
- Are employees empowered to redeem poor customer experiences?
- Do you capture and collate data on customer experiences?
Standing out in Four Core Areas
Now you’ve identified these four key elements for positive customer experiences — speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service — here’s where you need to make a great impression on prospects and customers, focused on standing out in four core areas: Social Media, Google Search, Your Website and Purchase Points
Standing out on social media
Often the first place that prospective customers encounter your business, social media platforms are great virtual showcases. But be careful of spreading your resources too thin. Instead of grabbing every possible option, analyze where your customers prefer to interact. Then prioritize the features that speed up responses with greater convenience and seamless conversations, ensuring knowledgeable help with friendly service.
A great place to start standing out on social media, rapid responses are soon reflected on your bottom line: 89% of consumers rank a quick response to an initial enquiry as important, especially when deciding on a purchase. This is often mirrored in reviews from happy customers, with almost 50% using Facebook to review or recommend a local business. Better still, posted reviews are automatically shared with all the reviewer’s connections, spotlighting your business even more on social media.
To interact effectively, you should define your customers and their needs. Only 38% of U.S. consumers report that employees they talk to really understand their needs. This leaves plenty of headroom for growth – particularly as 71% say that interactions with employees have significant impacts on customer experiences. Looking at your business profile on social media, do you:
- Know the platforms your customers prefer, creating a solid presence there?
- Ensure easy communications through comments and direct messages?
- Monitor your accounts and respond quickly (by platform parameters) to comments, questions and complaints?
- Understand your audience challenges and needs, creating resonant content?
- Use each platform’s features to the full, with specific hashtag strategies, posting schedules, review responses and built-in shopping options?
Hot tip on response times
64% of Twitter users expect a reply within one hour; 85% of Facebook users expect to hear back within six hours; 77% of consumers won’t wait longer than six hours for an email reply. But nearly 60% of consumers tweeting about a bad experience never receive a reply, and the average response time is nine hours, for complaints and comments.
Standing out in Google Search results.
In the past couple of years, “near me” Google searches including some variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” have soared by 500%. This is why it’s vital that your business is easy to find. In fact, convenience is so important that more than 50% of time-strapped consumers say that half their purchases (or more!) are influenced by convenience. So make sure that your potential customers can meet their needs, clear up their doubts and solve their problems with a single click. For local enquiries, relevance, distance and prominence prioritize search results.
Keeping your business information updated boosts your chances of showing up well in search results, including your business categories and specialties, street address, telephone number and business hours. For faster recognition, don’t forget your logo. Photos and videos help your listing portray your business, showing potential buyers that you offer what they want: 52% of consumers say that watching a video makes them feel more comfortable about purchasing a product. In your description, focus on keywords (some long-tailed for spoken search commands), so Google knows how relevant you are in each search.
As “near me” searches grow more popular, it’s vital to make sure that your location is accurate on your Google My Business listing, in order to attract nearby consumers eager for convenient purchases.
Ranked by how well your business is known online, review figures and scores increase prominence ratings. This is why reviews – especially four and five star ratings – are crucial for standing out in a Google search, as lower scoring entries may be ignored. Reviews are also vital for customer decisions: almost 88% read reviews to determine the quality of businesses they are unfamiliar with, with 72% saying this boosts their trust. So, looking at your business profile on Google, have you:
- Claimed and optimized your Google My Business listing?
- Updated all your information, creating more opportunities to show up in search results?
- Added photos and videos to your listing for real-life views of your products or services?
- Prioritized Google reviews to improve your prominence rating and stand out as consumers seek reviews to make purchase decisions?
Hot tip on Google My Business listing
Adding your business and verifying your account (so only you can edit your business information) qualifies your listing to appear in the results for Search, Maps, and many other Google services.
Standing out through your website
Just like a physical storefront, your website must showcase your business, its products and services, standing out from competitors down the road. But is the online experience just as convenient and positive for your customers as walking into your store or office? This is where seamless transitions from mobile to tablet to desktop and back is a baseline expectation among consumers, allowing you to stand out online if experiences flow smoothly and remain consistent, regardless of touchpoints.
Many businesses generate sales leads through their online presence, using forms or Contact Us buttons. However, sluggish response times to web-generated leads are commonplace: 37% of companies responded within an hour; 16% within 24 hours; 24% more than 24 hours; and a shocking 23% never responded at all! Overall, the average response time among companies that actually responded was a lackluster 42 hours.
One fast-response option that adds instant convenience with a cordial greeting is a webchat feature: more than 41% of consumers expect to see a live chat option on a website, rising to 50% for mobile browsing. Just remember that transitions among devices should be seamless, so consumers can switch at their convenience. The upside here is that studies report a 30% boost to conversion when a live chat option is added to a website. So this is a great way to stand out online, while pumping up sales! So, looking at your website, do you:
- Follow up quickly on web-generated leads?
- Prioritize consistency by ensuring seamless transitions from tablet to mobile to desktop to storefront?
- Greet customers cordially with relevant information and personalization, if possible
- Have a webchat feature, if you can ensure seamless transitions?
Hot tip for a stand-out website
80% of customers want to be noticed (even without personalization); 80% will not return if they perceive indifference among employees, usually webchat operators. Just like a bricks-and -mortar location, websites must offer the same cordial approach with that personal touch.
Standing out during transaction touchpoints.
There’s a crucial difference in customer perceptions of convenience, valued differently for online and in-store experiences. For online shoppers, the start of their journey is where convenience matters the most: 97% of consumers back out of the purchase if they find it too inconvenient. And 40% of them say they would pay extra for same-day service. So make their online experiences even more convenient for your customers, by providing them with ample details of products, services, deliveries, warranties, return policies, packaging, delivery schedules, bundles, discounts, special offers and payment plans. As an added benefit, an online chat feature provides instant knowledgeable help and friendly service, clearing up doubts and boosting the chances of a sale. So, looking at your transaction pathway, do you:
- Offer increased convenience and speed, like same-day service or delivery?
- Make the online experience as convenient as possible, providing accurate information on your products or services?
- Provide online chat support for clearing up doubts?
- Streamline checkout procedures, flanked by easy-access bundles and upsells?
Hot tip for stand-out sales
38% of online shoppers agree that convenience matters most when they are researching a purchase; so if there’s any perception of inconvenience in your industry, distinguish your product or service by its convenience, removing online research barriers and designing a seamless transaction pathway, from showcase to checkout.
How can your business stand out and make a great impression?
There is little doubt that online transactions will continue to balloon, as the global economy becomes increasingly remote. To an even greater extent, this will underscore the importance of customer preferences for speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service.
So if you intend to stand out in tomorrow’s marketplace, customer experiences must be stepped up across all critical interactions and major platforms, all the way from initial brand impressions to final purchase decisions. Through cutting-edge interaction management technology focused on major touchpoints, you can:
- Manage all communications in every channel through a single inbox, never posting a delayed response again;
- Connect with customers by texting through your Google My Business listing, adding even more convenience to online search experiences;
- Transition online web conversations easily to text, funneling all communications through a single inbox;
- Offer seamless transaction experiences, speeding up purchases with convenient text payment options.
Talking to consumers, collecting reviews and gathering real-time insights through texts, our team at CI Web Group can help you leverage a surefire way to boost your search results and bring in repeat business. Adding speed and convenience to critical customer interactions, we also offer a messaging tool suite for local businesses. We can help you streamline interaction management through a single inbox, connecting with consumers by simply pressing SEND to:
- attract more leads through seamless communications;
- retain customers through convenient customer experiences;
- save time through working more efficiently.
Would you like to learn more about future-proofing your business?
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