How You Can Build Strong Customer Connections Remotely
Remote business has opened up big opportunities for business but it can be hard to make personal connections with the people who matter most: your customers. If you are trying to improve your product, marketing strategy, or sales, it all correlates with how you treat your customers and whether they feel satisfied or not.
Most of us know how to get there.
1. Customer Experience
What’s it like when they walk through the door or visit a website? From the beginning to the end, are they getting a remarkable experience? This will be the biggest impression for them. It will determine if they come back again and what they will say to other qualified leads.
2. Customer Support
What happens when they have an issue with the product or service? How you treat them and how you solve the problem will determine your future with the customer and how they will spread the word about your brand. In this day and age, great support is rare and will make all the difference.
3. Great Product Experience
Are your products built to make them convenient for you or the customer? Go the extra mile to make your experience easy and memorable.
4. Marketing that Connects
It’s not about flashy advertisements. With so much noise, it goes unnoticed. Are you communicating the things that people truly care about? Are you implementing marketing events and programs to build relationships? Put people first in your marketing.
While these are great ways to develop a customer relationship, it can be hard to do it remotely.
This is especially true for making powerful individual connections. If we can connect with a person, make them feel valued, then they’ll become loyal customers and super fans of the brand.
Here are some ways we can create a strong customer relationship remotely.
Start with Your People
If you want to improve the way you connect with customers through virtual solutions, where do you start? Strangely, it doesn’t start with your customers. It’s your employees.
The people who are on the frontline, actually making those connections, is your team. If they are not trained for it, if they do not feel valued, then any initiative you put in place will fall flat.
First, invest in your company DNA. Brands can have logos and colors, but the brand exists in the people and experience. If your team is happy, they will be more creative and more invested in the entire product experience. They will treat customers with empathy, passion, and a desire to build a meaningful relationship centered around the brand’s purpose.
You can start by evaluating your employee experience. Are they taken care of? Do they feel valued? Can they voice their concerns and ideas? Are you connecting with them and supporting them with their life goals (non-company related)? Once your team feels part of a healthy family, you will see it affects all aspects of the business.
When you have a healthy DNA, develop a training program on how to treat customers. Create a set of virtues. Give employees the authority to spend a certain amount or make a decision for special cases where a customer has an issue or to go above expectations.
Get on the Same Level with Customers
Richard Branson, through his Virgin Group ventures, has built a strong reputation for connecting with customers. He would always sit in the coach section of his commercial airline planes and experience the same thing regular customers would. Through all of his businesses, Richard finds a way to do the same because it’s the best research for how the brand is doing.
Find ways to experience the same as your customers from their point of view. For example, in a traditional setting, if you own a restaurant, show up unannounced with some family friends and sit in the back. Watch how you and your friends are treated. Are you getting the food in time? Are the tables around you getting it too? Is the staff upbeat and happy or do they looked tired and stressed? This gives you valuable insight into the experience.
How do you implement this for remote experience? It starts with doing things that don’t scale. As a business, we are focused on optimizing everything. It’s hard to optimize a human relationship. Think of each person as an individual with unique needs, histories, cultures, and goals. If you are speaking to them on video, work hard to listen and understand their concerns.
Connecting is about feeling valued. Leadership expert, John Maxwell does a great job by shaking hands and speaking to audience members on the ground floor before speaking at an event. He gets a sense of the environment and tone, but also makes lasting connection points that will be remembered for a long time.
By creating a system where you give people unique attention, you can develop a strong customer remote relationship.
Stay Up to Date with Tools
We deal with lots of new technology. Not everything will fit perfectly and we shouldn’t try to implement every shiny piece of innovation. It needs to be relevant and effective. But because our companies are unique, it’s hard to find a solution that best does what we need.
Naturally, some tools may not exist yet for us. That’s why it is important to stay up to date on the latest developments. Thanks to technology today, we are finding ways to connect with customers remotely through collaboration tools, video apps, and more.
How do you find the right tools when they release? Create an effective network and give your staff the freedom to explore. You can also use websites like Product Hunt to keep your thumb on the pulse of brand new products. These are rated, which helps you vet for winners, and oftentimes have incredible deals for early adopters.
If you don’t get the right tools when they are available, someone else will. You’ll get behind on connecting with your customers the most effective way you can.
Imagine hosting an event on video. You have a speaker. But there is also a chat where people can ask questions and your team member interacts with them in real-time. During the event, the speaker collaborates with other leaders, and people can see whiteboard notes and drawings from multiple leaders. Attendees can join a community chat after the event for more interactions. There are many possibilities for remote connections.
Recognize Remote Isn’t a Substitute
The Pandemic of 2020 forced many of us to provide remote and virtual alternatives. We had to survive and something new grew out of the economy and consumer culture. But these were alternatives to our core service. Today, habits have changed. And so have expectations.
Every business should create a unique and fulfilling remote business. If you own an accounting firm, your virtual firm could have great potential. If you have a hair salon, your online hair education component can be a profitable part of your company. All these styles have the potential to strengthen brands and build lasting connections.
When we see remote business as part of our core operations, we begin to see our remote customers the same.
Have you ever visited a packed-out fast-food restaurant? You might notice that the drive-thru gets faster and better service than the indoor carryout customers. Or visa versa. You can clearly see the priority with the staff. That de-values your experience and the view of the brand. But if that restaurant makes everyone feel like they are number one, it adds fuel to their reputation and experience.
Your remote business should be just as good as your other operations. It should be exciting and should make each customer feel important. While physical locations have hard limits with occupancy and resources, virtual solutions have a much higher potential for growth.
People want real connections. They naturally search for it wherever they are. If we present it to them in a remote setting, they’ll eagerly adopt it.
Practical Steps to Remote Customer Connections
Now that we’ve gone over the core principles of building connections remotely, here are some ways we can start today.
Use Multiple Mediums
People have different needs. They might want to communicate via video, voice, or chat. Offer these tools and make sure they integrate smoothly. You’ll notice some people will gravitate towards specific mediums. This is healthy for a remote customer base. Thankfully, all these tools exist and are very affordable.
Give Undivided Attention on Video
When you meet with a customer on video, listen and give good eye contact. They want to feel valued and by giving them attention and the space to speak, you show that.
Engage on Chat
Make sure to fully engage with customers on chat. Be approachable and show empathy.
Make it Easy
It should be very simple and quick for remote customers to get help or send feedback. The experience should be pleasant.
Make Remote Connections Priority
You and your team should intentionally seek to connect with people. You constantly make sure they are satisfied, that you fully answered a question, and that you listened.
Consider Hiring a Community Director
As your program develops, you’ll reach a point where it makes sense to build a thriving community in your industry. Your brand can lead a network of peers and customers that learn from each other, build relationships, and share valuable information. This is the ultimate way to craft your skill for connections and make an impact.
You can build strong customer connections remotely. Follow these principles and steps to make the most out of your brand and the relationship you have with your customers. Remote business offers amazing opportunities and by embracing it, you can grow your company.