Pivoted to digital since the COVID crisis struck but not sure how well – or badly – you’re faring, when it comes to engaging with customers in the virtual sphere?
You’re far from alone. The global pandemic was the catalyst thousands of Australian businesses sorely needed to get active online; interacting with, and selling to, their customers digitally. While some already had an online presence, others were coming at the exercise as absolute beginners.
59 per cent of the country’s small businesses – enterprises with fewer than 20 employees – did not have their own websites in 2019, according to a study published that year by GoDaddy.
Catching up during COVID
Many of these businesses were forced to get with the program, and fast, when government lockdowns introduced in March 2020 to slow the spread of the virus made business as usual an impossibility.
Those without a digital presence scrambled to get one while organisations that had regarded their websites as largely static pieces of real estate swiftly became aware that they had the potential to be much more than that.
Fast forward two years and we’ve seen what ICT commentators have described as a decade’s worth of high-tech transformation.
Australian consumers have become habituated to shopping online for a gamut of goods and services, from groceries to exercise sessions, and to dealing with businesses of all stripes digitally, rather than in the flesh.
So, could your business use some help when it comes to making these digital interactions as positive as possible? Here are some ways to boost your reputation and brand in 2022 and beyond.
Strive to earn trust
Courtesy of the internet, we live in an era of unprecedented transparency, one in which customers can find out, within seconds, an extraordinary range of information about your business: the quality of its products and services; how it handles complaints; and whether employees regard it as a good place to work.
That’s why building a reputation for being ethical and trustworthy is imperative. From paying your staff properly to ensuring customer data is collected ethically, stored safely and used only with permission, it pays, like never before, to do the right thing.
Don’t be a nuisance
The internet hasn’t just put a wealth of information at customers’ fingertips. It’s opened them up to ongoing digital bombardment from companies of all sizes and stripes; companies that are desperate to interact with them, engage with them and sell to them.
It’s tiresome and painful, so much so that most folks make every effort to tune the bulk of these unwelcome communiques out.
Your business will do better if it doesn’t contribute to customers’ exasperation by spamming or messaging them indiscriminately and often. Using data analytics to map individual customer journeys in detail will help you identify opportunities to deliver information and support at times when it’s likely to be useful and well-received.
Make it personal
No one likes to feel like a number. In today’s times, personalisation has become a powerful tool for businesses looking to differentiate themselves and create lasting connections with their customers.
With the right foundation technology – a unified messaging platform that enables you to coordinate all your communication channels – it’s easy to craft and disseminate messages and interactions that are individualised and relevant, and which will resonate with customers at every stage of the purchasing journey.
Strengthening your business in 2022 and beyond
As Australia’s economy continues to open up, the new year looks set to deliver opportunities aplenty for businesses that understand their markets and put customers’ needs to the fore. Against that backdrop, investing in unified communication technology that helps you to do so is likely to prove a clever move.