by Heidi Castillo, Account Director, & Ole Hongvanthong, Owner of PhotOle Photography
When we look at the future of business, technology becomes more crucial than ever. As you navigate forward, technology needs to be at the forefront of your strategy and in the foundation of your planning. Being technically savvy will equate your success and sustainability as a shifting digital landscape becomes a key element to how you look at what’s next in your organization or business.
The expansion in use of technology means that clients expect digital based solutions. In 2021, over 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online (Statista). The pandemic has changed online browsing and shopping habits and your position in the ecosystem lies on your online presence and participation. We do a lot of research on user experience for our line of work and have gathered insights on what is working. Here are three easy things you can start doing right now to improve your online presence if you haven’t done so already.
Customer experience with products and services
A 2020 Doctor.com Consumer Experience Trend report noted that 61% of consumers searched for the right health care provider online and 56% of patients will consult 3 different online sources when researching a provider. This proves that the customer experience begins at the research stage. The internet is an immense place and potential customers will browse your virtual spaces to investigate if you have authority in your field or industry and scan your online participation. They want to check if you have been highlighted or received any press for the work you are doing. Recognition from a professional association or organization can bring potential customers peace of mind and minimize buyer’s remorse. Potential customers read online reviews available to understand the experience others have had with you and your products or services. Customer reviews give potential clients an idea on your performance and accountability. If service has slipped once and led to a bad review, take this time to listen to the dissatisfied customer, change the experience, and turn the customer into an ambassador.
A new perspective for reviews is embedding video testimonials created by your happy clients on your homepage or social channels.
Visuals that delight customers
Researchers have identified that neurons in the visual cortex respond much stronger to faces than to city landscapes or objects (ScienceDaily). The images on your digital platforms play a vital role in customer experience and engagement. Choose faces that are welcoming and can connect to your virtual audience. Product images should highlight details and features. Show customers how to use products and maintain them. A new way to impress your audience can be rendered with a guided 360° virtual tour of your physical space or product and giving them the option to buy directly from your website. An augmented reality (AR) experience can enhance the customer experience and bring people together. This is a great tool to build relationships with Gen Z and Alpha who are the most tech literate generations. If you are an orthodontist, develop a thrilling AR experience. The experience can encourage patients to arrive on time, afford the office time if it is running behind, and help build community. The biggest brands invest on visual assets annually as it helps them develop stronger relationships and create better engagement with their customers.
A total of 88% of consumers who search for a type of business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours (Ipsos). The fastest way to lose a potential customer is not having a way for them to reach you directly. List your physical address on your website and if you’ve moved, make sure to update that information on both your website and Google Business Profile. Sometimes including every piece of information about your products and services might not be practical. Listing a telephone number can promote engagement and arranging to have a person who can answer is crucial. A call that is not returned might cost you an opportunity or sale. A potential customer in the research stage might feel more comfortable communicating via email. List an email address and check the email account regularly as a timely response is expected. Customers who shop online still crave a human element. Consider adding a chat feature on your website so you can connect with customers live. Your physical and digital space should be seamless. Give customers the ability to book your services online and a digital check-in option for your physical space. Deliver reminders of upcoming appointments through text communication and grant potential clients a contactless payment option.
Spending time to help potential customers in their digital journey to learn more about you, your organization, and your products or services can give you an opportunity to thrive in your field. If you are unable to execute any of these tips, outsourcing the work to someone who is an expert in an area you may have a weakness in can be a strength and help you stay competitive.
Human relationships are vital in business growth and neglecting your digital real estate in this climate is not an option. Let this be your business new year resolution.
The Lancaster Chamber is proud to be celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year, alongside the business community. This year’s content has been centered around highlighting the leaders and businesses who are contributing to building a thriving Lancaster County community. This article was first printed in our 150th Commemorative Edition of Thriving Magazine, you can read more here: 150th Commemorative Edition of Thriving Magazine