How to Build a Relationship with Your Online Store Customers
By: Wendy Ogryzek ~
This series of emails illustrates how lasting relationships are built with your online store customers; one at a time by grabbing every opportunity to engage with the customer.
bWyse’s Teresa is a reluctant online shopper. Her past online shopping experiences confirmed for her that having an online store is different than having structurally functional systems in place:
- To fulfill orders.
- To meet your online customer’s expectations.
- To seize every opportunity to build your online community one customer at a time.
Unable to find a bit locally for her oversized horse, she went shopping online and wearily placed an order with CrazyHorseTack.com. In the order form’s “comments” field she asked, “Is the bit I ordered currently in stock, or will it be backordered?” She received the following reply:
From: Gayle Harper [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 12:53 PM
Subject: Crazy Horse Order #29289
Thank you for placing your order with us!
The Korsteel Uxeter Kimberwick bit will be arriving in from our suppliers tomorrow ( 24th ) and will be shipping out to you tomorrow afternoon.
Do you wish to keep this order active?
Crazy Horse Tack & Gift Shop
125 Route 6A
Orleans MA, 02653
Notice the structure and contents of the reply:
- Thanks be to the online customer expressed with an enthusiastic exclamation point!
- Confirmation of the exact item ordered is mentioned.
- Status of the item ordered.
- Exact shipping date mentioned.
- Order number is in the subject line for quick reference.
- Full contact information in signature.
- Question asking customer to confirm order.
Teresa confirmed the order and again Crazy Horse seized the opportunity to correspond with the customer with a reply that again thanks her and tells her what she can expect in the near future.
Thank you Teresa. You will receive an email from UPS upon shipment.
Impressed with how Crazy Horse followed up and followed through Teresa took time to share her user experience with Crazy Horse in the following email:
I work as a project manager for a website design and development firm. I am also the barn manager / property owner for a small, boutique horse and mule training and clinic facility in Yakima, WA (mcdanielhorseandmuleco.com) . The irony is that while I know and can apply a large body of knowledge to assist clients in driving traffic to their websites and optimizing their sites and online stores and regularly have tack and supply needs that aren’t met locally, I rarely shop online -- mostly because I prefer to support small businesses and most small businesses fail in defining an order fulfillment plan and then working their plan to meet their customer’s expectations. They know they need a website though they don’t understand how to meet their client’s needs and expectations while they build a community of repeat customers one at a time with their customer service – follow-up and follow-through. They also don’t fully understand the hard and tedious nature of effectively managing an online store.
With all of that said, I want you to know how much I appreciate the details of our transaction: your immediate response to my question that asked if the bit that I ordered was in stock and available to ship or would it be backordered. Second, I want you to know that my Warmblood’s new bit arrived and was sent the day you said you would send it. I am pleased to share that CrazyHorseTack.com met my expectations as a web-savvy, yet reluctant, online shopper!
Thank you for your time. I look forward to doing business with you again soon.
Several days later Teresa received the following email from the owner of Crazy Horse who again seized the opportunity to graciously engage, build community and express his thanks for the unsolicited “user experience” feedback:
We received your email this week, and I want to personally thank you for your insightful compliments. It is rare we get a person with such an understanding of what it takes to make an online business run well. It is also rare that I get the opportunity to praise our employees with such weighty backup. The team concept and the importance of each individual doing their job well is something I talk with them about frequently. I am sure they "get it" and agree, but when such an insight comes from a customer - wow! - Home Run!
You made our WEEK! Thank you for taking the time to write!
Thank you very much,
Ross McDonald, Owner
Crazy Horse Tack .com
Crazy Horse understood the overall value of this seemingly insignificant transaction by:
- Swiftly meeting the customer’s expectations.
- Building a relationship with one customer, one email at a time.
So when Socks needs a new winter blanket, Teresa would be crazy not to visit Crazy HorseTack.com first! They get it and we hope that this volley of emails illustrates how you can “get it” too!