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Shopping today is a completely different experience that it was ten years ago. We shop more efficiently and when it comes to variety and product specifics…we don’t have to settle for less than exactly what we want. Thanks to the Internet, the world is our oyster.

Our oyster comes complete with peer product reviews and the ability to easily research companies. “As more customers control the conversation, and more information is available out in social channels, the challenge for small businesses is to create a presence online that furthers the need for their brand,” says Ed Abrams, VP of marketing at IBM Midmarket. It would therefore be unwise for online merchants to ignore these new customer service opportunities.SocialMedia-364594_960x368

This powerful revolution in shopping not only benefits customers, but opens up new options for businesses to connect with their customers and provide them with additional positive customer service experiences. Bridget Gamble of NFIB names three ways that merchants can deliver online customer service: content marketing, personalized products and services, and responding to feedback.

Content marketing includes blogs, videos, social media posts, etc. that deliver valuable information to customers. A study from the Custom Content Council in 2011 found that 61 percent of consumers think more highly of a company if it offers custom content, and they are more likely to buy from those companies. It also directs more web traffic to the online merchants.

Personalized products and services come from spending time getting to know your customers. The Internet has the ability to track purchases as well as facilitate quick conversations through instant messaging and live chats to help find out what products and services will fit the consumer best. Online surveys are another method of narrowing down the specific needs of your target market.

Finally and most importantly, social media can alert you of dissatisfied customers and give you the chance to instantly repair your damaged image. In the past, if a customer was unhappy, there was a pretty good chance that you might never know about it and therefore never have the chance to remedy the situation. Online merchants can use this powerful tool to put out fires and turn a negative into a positive.

Posted in Uncategorized on Sep 26, 2013