It’s common knowledge that if you want to run a successful online business, you need a snappy website. Visitors are expecting almost imperceptible website load times — and this applies to both desktop and mobile.
But that’s just the beginning: modern consumers are beset on all sides by companies fighting for their attention. You don’t just need a fast website to succeed — you have to be speedy at everything else too!
If you’re too slow in these seven core areas, you might find yourself being overlooked.
When a user submits a support ticket every second counts. If you want to convert them into a paying customer, or retain them as one, you better act fast. This applies to all online businesses, but ecommerce brands and SaaS (Software as a Service) companies in particular should pay special attention to their customer support speed. Things can get messy when you’re playing the intermediary and you won’t always have the answer the customer is looking for right away, so it’s extra important to minimise unnecessary wait times.
In order to ensure the fastest possible customer service experience you might want to consider implementing a chatbot into your site. Chatbots can often solve issues by themselves in a matter of minutes, and if they can’t, they can still collect relevant information and transfer the visitor to a human customer support representative to finish the job. Zendesk is a popular and easy-to-use customer support software that integrates well with most websites.
If you’re uncomfortable with leaving your customers in the hands of an AI, then human virtual assistants are a way to bolster your customer support team and reduce customer wait times without breaking the bank.
Social Media Responses
Social media is all about interaction, so if you’re checking in on your social profiles a couple of times a week, then you won’t be getting the full benefit of social media for your business.
If you’re running a small business, you may be able to get away with checking your page every few hours and dishing out responses throughout your day whenever you get a break.
And if a customer has a problem, you don’t always have to solve it there and then — referring them to the relevant pages on your website could be enough and the fact that you responded at all will reassure them. Make sure that you set out clear expectations so that customers know when they are likely to hear back from you, and on what channels.
BuzzBundle (social media manager) pictured
If you want to get really serious with your social media, you can’t beat having a dedicated social media manager who can effectively manage your customer community for you.
The all-important final step in any online sales funnel. A customer who has found the items they want and has reached your checkout page is like a basketball rolling around the rim of the hoop…
If your checkout process is long and requires the customer to do too much work, you could still lose them. This is especially true of mobile visitors: an unwieldy checkout process is ten times worse when it’s being navigated by your thumbs on a small screen.
Your checkout process should be quick and easy. Don’t force the customer to make an account on your website, have as many fields as possible auto-formatted, and support as many payment methods as possible.
If you’re in doubt over whether your checkout process needs work then an afternoon of testing via a service like VWO could pay off in the long run.
Follow Up Emails
Follow up emails are useful in a whole host of situations, but for you to see the best results, you need to send them out in a timely manner.
If a customer buys an item on your site and they get a thank you email 2 days later they’re just going to feel confused. Strike while the iron is hot and your follow up emails will succeed in their objective, whether that’s to make the customer feel valued, sign up for your newsletter, or summarise an interaction. You can automate a lot of your email sequences with an email tool like Moosend that has free templates and drip campaigns, but don’t forget to do your due diligence when it comes to email list data. With GDPR just around the corner, you don’t want to be making any mistakes with email.
Whether it’s video, audio, or text — if your content production cycle is too long then your content will never be as relevant as it could be, and it probably won’t get the attention it deserves.
An easy way to make your content more appealing to every demographic is to make it relate to something that’s currently happening in the world.
This is easily done on holidays like Valentine’s Day and Christmas, but when it comes to more spontaneous events like something that’s happening in the news, there’s nothing to do but work fast.
Freelance writers can help you scale, but it’s important that you take content production seriously as a business and get all the relevant stakeholders involved.
It’s a Prime world, baby.
Shipping times matter for ecommerce; it’s one of many factors customers look at when comparing similar items across websites.
If the price is about the same, and both pages seem trustworthy, then offering faster shipping is a sure-fire way to guarantee that your site wins the sale.
Even if you’re charging slightly more than your competitors, adding faster shipping into the mix will be enough to offset that for many customers. Just how much the reduced shipping time is worth will depend on the customer and the item they’re buying.
People are more likely to want their tech gadgets as soon as possible and be willing to wait a little for that new coffee table.
If you are running a drop-shipping business, you will need to be super clear with customers (and suppliers) on acceptable wait times and always be willing to offer expedited or express delivery to help sweeten the deal.
No matter what you do online, making the most of the latest trends before your competition will give you a vital edge. And following trends isn’t just about what you stock or the services you offer; trends can be just as important to someone writing blog posts, or posting on social media.
Being aware of what’s going on in the world will help you brand stay relevant and show customers that you are innovating as a brand. Aesthetic tastes change fast so don’t get left behind.
These are the seven most time-sensitive areas for most businesses, but depending on what you do online, you might want to ignore some points and add others.
When in doubt, put yourself in the customers’ shoes and think about the interactions that they have with you and how you could improve them and save time.
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