Human beings are used to making buying decisions using their senses, especially their sight and hearing. They read body language, want to make eye contact and hear voice inflection. As more and more business gets done in Cyberspace, there will be less and less in-person contacts made.

More and More Clients in Cyberspace

Although the chances of online business development totally replacing in-person contact are slim, more and more clients will be found in Cyberspace, and the need to maintain them as clients is great. This can be very challenging since people do business with others that they know, like and trust. A lot of those “feelings” come from in-person contacts. So how does one retain client loyalty in Cyberspace? I recently asked that question, and here’re the answers I got.

Customer Acquisition and Retention

Many business professionals felt that the same type of things used to get and keep a client off the internet would be necessary online as well. Those items included:

  • Building a strong personal relationship with the client. In Cyberspace, this usually takes longer then face-to-face. Be patient.
  • Have frequent contact with all clients and potential clients. This contact should be in the form of online contacts through email and web site visit, but also traditional methods like the use of the mail with postcards and flyers, and the telephone were still necessary to develop a strong relationship.
  • Be sure to let clients and potential clients know how you can help them – EVERY way you can. Many firms today offer a wide variety of products and services. It is important that clients know what you can do to make their life easier and their business more successful.
  • Respond in a timely fashion. If the client gets an acknowledgment the same day or following morning even if the product can’t be delivered they will be pleased.
  • Provide quality service at fair prices. “Bargain seekers” will look for the cheapest. It goes against good business logic that the cheapest is always the best. Charge a fair price and back it up with great service.

An Online Focus

The above ideas work on and offline. Here are a few that are geared toward on-line client activity and web site traffic:

  • Send e-mails to registrants when there are new features on the site.
  • Reward clients/visitors for a certain number of visits to your site (track logins).
  • Require a subscription to critical info (people are more likely to use resources they pay for).
  • Offer previous customers discounts, and then NEW customers different discounts.

And finally, there is a technique that works extremely well, both on and off-line. Be there for people when they need you with what they need if possible – with sympathy, enthusiastic support, ideas, congratulations, small gifts (little tidbits of info, articles, cartoons, reference materials, etc. resonating with their personal style of humour, business insights, hobby, family or personal charities & causes, etc. etc.). It is also necessary to be forthcoming, to reveal bits and pieces of yourself to let people know you’re not a scary, untrustworthy stranger.

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Nancy Roebke, is the Executive Director Profnet, Inc., a professional business leads generation corporation. We bring business professionals together in a non-competitive environment to help each other make more money. Visit her site at http://www.profnet.org

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Comments

  1. Campbell Brown says:

    An interesting piece. Although I think the subscription model is quite niche and has the potential to bring negative associations to a business whose services/info/products are not perceived as critical or value for money. People want everything for free:)

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  2. Soup Digital says:

    The other key thing here is to strike a balance when contacting clients. Remember you are not the only person they do business with or have their contact information. So sending them an email every time a “new feature” appears on the site is not the best use of this communication. Communicate with the client strategically so your business does not fall into the trap of being considered SPAM.

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