As a small business owner, you’re probably already providing a great customer experience to everyone that visits your store or calls your office. But since more people than ever are expected to shop online in 2022, it’s critical to invest in your customers’ virtual experience, too.

How do you create a favorable “experience” for those on the other side of a computer screen? Your business’s website and social media channels offer perfect opportunities to provide that positive quick, direct, and personal support for your customers. Here are four tips to help improve your customers’ online experience this year:

  1. Expand Channels of Communication

Review your current customer experience strategy. What online channels of communication are available to visitors while making transactions or asking questions about their purchases? Consider maintaining business pages on social media platforms with “direct messaging” capabilities and website “contact” forms to make it easier for customers to get in touch.

The customer experience also involves actively sharing information about your products and services, so people become and stay interested in your brand. Consider changing or expanding the types of platforms you’re most active on, depending on your audience. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn are all platforms for businesses that could help you get in front of the right prospects. You might also check out what Snapchat or Tiktok has to offer, especially if you’re targeting a younger demographic. Overall, expanding your channels shows you’re approachable and eager to meet customers where it’s convenient for them.

  1. Increase Personalization 

While the net number of people you serve can significantly increase through online channels, your business should stay focused on personalizing the customer experience whenever possible. This might look like personalizing email and message headers, creating interactive content, providing “quizzes” to tailor consumers’ online shopping experience, or offering customizations to products and services themselves. Also, consider investigating available social data, including trends in past purchases and engagement with your brand’s posts, to determine how to send personalized offers to the most interested customers at the right time.

  1. Offer Live Chat and Automated Services

Along with expanding channels for outreach, consider what kind of experience you want customers to have while they’re virtually communicating with your business. For example, having a consistently quick response time is essential but challenging for many companies. Setting up a live chat service on your website may help. Team members or “chatbots” monitor live chats to welcome customers to your page and provide immediate responses. It’s also possible to set up “chatbots” on your business’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Chatbots work best for dealing with basic inquires since their responses are typically based on the answers you have provided for the customer questions and concerns you think you’ll receive. In fact, due to improvements in AI technology, chatbots are expected to handle up to 75 to 90 percent of customer messages in 2022. Not sure about turning your communication entirely over to a computer? Tools like Agent Assist “read” all incoming messages and suggest answers, but it’s up to your team to approve and send out responses.

  1. Investigate VR and AR

More and more platforms and products help people interact in virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), opening new opportunities for businesses to engage with potential customers. Notably, Facebook and Snapchat are expected to expand their tools for virtual representation in 2022. As a result, companies can interact by creating avatars to chat with customers, showcasing digital views of their products, or even offering digital branded items for purchase. Not sure if AR or VR is right for your company? Check out this list of VR and AR applications for small businesses.

Virtual customer experience may look different from traditional methods, but it’s ultimately designed with the same commitment to providing swift, convenient, and engaging support to people who interact with your brand.

Not sure how to enhance your brand’s customer experience this year? One Part Social can help you brainstorm this and other fresh marketing strategies for 2022; contact us at 855.677.0023 today.