How do you maintain customer relationships in an online business environment?


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maintain customer relationships in an online business

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What is an effective method for maintaining customer relationships in an online business environment and how could it serve other brands?

1. Provide Contact Information

I believe maintaining customer relationships online is simple. Make sure customers know how to contact you and be authentic when they do. I provide my work email in all communications to show I trust my customers and that I’m here for them. When they do get in touch, I set aside time to reply, I answer questions honestly and try to encourage a genuine conversation. If I don’t have the answer, I’ll say so and make sure I try to provide it wherever possible. Communication can take up a lot of time, but it’s an investment. It’s easier, better and cheaper to nurture existing relationships than create new ones. Do a good job, be authentic and existing customers can help promote your business for you, which is an added bonus. – Pratik Chaskar, Spectra

2. Build a community

Building a community is the number one hack for maintaining customer relationships online. People love to feel like they are part of something greater than themselves, and if they can be part of your brand’s community, they’ll feel more identified with your brand and convert into long-term customers. Our company has successfully used Facebook and WhatsApp Groups for years to build community around our products. Furthermore, we’ve used platforms like Meetup and Eventbrite to find people online and bring them into our offline communities. We also use Referral Candy for our referral program, which helps people in our community bring in new customers and get rewarded for it. – Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

3. Solicit Client Feedback Regularly

We like our clients to know that we consistently think about solving their problems and meeting their needs, but this is a challenge as a digital marketing agency operates “online.” For this reason, our processes solicit client feedback frequently, and we have face-to-face meetings as often as possible. All of our email automation asks questions at some point or reflects the preferences of that client segment. We tailor content across channels to meet the new needs of clients and are vigilant across channels to address client concerns, whether they come via email or an Instagram comment. Brands who are truly committed to putting client needs first, show this through weaving feedback loops and tailoring messaging throughout their communications. This is a lot of work upfront and maintaining a system that is constantly seeking inputs and feedback can be a challenge, but it keeps us ahead of competition. Our goal is consistently improving the customer experience and delivering results. If we are not delivering results and checking in, we lose clients. Continuously make feedback a priority in every client communication. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

4. Be Proactive

One of the best ways to maintain customer relationships is to invest in proactive customer support. Basically, this means you and your team will address potential issues before they become a problem. You can do this by creating an onboarding program or internal documents that guide users through the steps to use your product. It also means reaching out to customers, whether via email or social media, to ask if they’re happy with their purchase. Use this opportunity to find out if they need any help so you can ensure they maximize the value of their purchase. Once they’re satisfied, don’t forget to ask them to write a review so you can continue fostering trust and loyalty with future customers.  – John Turner, SeedProd LLC

5. Be High Touch & Highly Involved

An effective method for maintaining customer relationships in an online business environment is to be high touch and highly involved in your clients’ success! Make it feel like you’re a part of their company and team. When engaging with clients, always strive to create a personal and immersive experience. Use high-quality camera and microphone equipment, look directly into the camera, and ensure your clients feel heard and seen. It’s all about creating that face-to-face connection, even through a screen. – Robert Battle, Qckbot

6. Offer Rewards, Discounts & Perks

Offering rewards, discounts, or exclusive perks through a loyalty program incentivizes repeat purchases and makes customers feel valued. The most common way to reward loyal customers is by giving them cash back on each order that they can redeem on their next purchase. I believe brands across all industries can implement similar programs to enhance customer retention and satisfaction. Once your plan is in place, send an email to existing customers and ask if they’d like to opt in and start earning. Then, give new subscribers the same option in your welcome email so you can get as many people as possible to join your loyalty program.  – Daman Jeet Singh, FunnelKit

7. Engage on Social Media Platforms

Social media provides a good way to build and maintain solid customer relationships. As so many people use social media, it’s one of the best ways to stay in touch with customers. It also provides a casual environment where you can share content in many forms, such as posts, photos, videos, infographics, and more. Of course, you need to provide many touch points as not all customers use the same platforms. That’s why it’s best to have a multichannel strategy that includes phone, texting, email, and social media. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

8. Prioritize Human Connection

I say prioritize authentic human connection and personalization. Too often, businesses get caught up in automation, analytics and transactional mindsets, treating customers as data points rather than individuals. To truly cultivate loyalty and long-term bonds, we need to humanize the digital experience. My key focus would be having a dedicated team whose sole responsibility is proactively reaching out to customers one-on-one, not with promotions or sales tactics, but genuine personal conversations aimed at understanding their needs, interests and building real rapport. These teammates would handwrite notes, record personalized video messages, and find creative ways to form human-to-human connections beyond the screen. By making customers feel heard, valued and celebrated as unique individuals, not just numbers in an database, we build essential goodwill and emotional investment in our brand community. Following this approach of having a dedicated team can help other businesses too set themselves apart from competitors fixated on automation over authenticity.   – Blair Williams, MemberPress

9. Personalized Communication

A practical method I use for maintaining customer relationships in an online business environment is personalized communication based on interests, hobbies, prior purchases, etc. Using CRM tools, I can keep track of customer preferences, purchase history, and interactions. This allows me to send tailored emails, special offers, and follow-ups that make customers feel valued and understood. Additionally, engaging with customers on social media by responding to their comments, sharing user-generated content, and hosting interactive sessions like live Q&As can significantly strengthen these relationships. For other brands, using this approach can enhance customer loyalty, increase repeat business, and foster a strong connection with their audience. Personalization shows customers that you care about their unique needs, essential for building lasting relationships in the digital age. Moreover, consistent and meaningful engagement helps create a community around your brand, encouraging customers to become advocates and share their positive experiences with others. This boosts your brand’s reputation and attracts new customers through word-of-mouth marketing. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

10. Leverage Social Media Groups

Maintaining customer relationships online requires consistent engagement. One effective method I’ve used is creating a community through social media groups where customers can share experiences and ask questions. For example, our Facebook group allows real-time interaction and fosters a sense of belonging. We also host regular virtual events like Q&A sessions and workshops to keep the community engaged. This method builds a loyal customer base and can be adopted by other brands to create strong, lasting connections in a digital landscape. – Shay Berman, Digital Resource

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