An increasing number of companies understand the benefits of offering pertinent online information and services to their corporate and individual customers. Thanks to such online activities, businesses gain from lower operating costs and customers are more satisfied with the relationship they have with the company. However, numerous companies have not yet tasted these benefits, all too often simply because customers do not know that such services exist or do not understand their value.
Efforts and incentives to redirect customers toward the web, often called “drive-to-web” activities, make it possible to maximize returns on online investments by increasing the number of customers who use online services. Though the web proves to be more efficient for customers in many situations, it is still necessary to guide and ease their transition from other interaction channels (such as store branches, telephone, business e-mails and other peripheral sites) to benefit fully from the online channel.
When planning and implementing your drive-to-web campaign, we recommend that you keep in mind the following steps:
Considering all the types of interaction you may have with your customers, make the effort to ask them which channel they prefer. Find out which channels your competitors offer and which are the most economical for your business. Finally, define and implement the most pertinent mix of channels to optimize relations with your customers.
Not everything is efficient on the web. Complex interactions, such as opening an account or submitting a complaint, can sometimes cost your company more online than over the phone. Moreover, ensure that you are not missing out on an opportunity while carrying out transition efforts toward more efficient channels (i.e. a customer service call that can generate a sale). The web has its limits and, to be truly efficient, it must be used in sync with your other channels.
Display your company’s web address on your bags, pamphlets, e-mails, in-store promotions, logos, products and packaging. Conversely, ensure that your phone number is clearly displayed on your web site. Allow your customers to choose the mode that suits them best.
For interactions that are more efficient online and that a significant and profitable number of your customers use, it is important to employ several means of communication (both online and traditional) to notify your customers of the benefits they can gain by using the web rather than another medium. Will using the web save them time or money? If it’s your company that will secure savings once the transition toward online services is complete, then share a portion of those savings with your customers; they will be more than happy to speed up the process.
A telephone number to provide support for online services, an interactive demonstration of online services or the chance to win a contest as an incentive for transferring to the web are all examples of methods that can facilitate this transition.
It is important to consider your audience or customers and to set realistic objectives with respect to their willingness to use your online services and activities. Since your customers’ willingness may vary depending on your particular industry, the average age of your clientele and a number of other factors, keep the rule of thirds in mind. The first third of adults usually has the skills and desire to use innovative services and new methods. The second third will wait longer before trying these innovations since they are less technologically savvy. Very likely, the final third will never be interested in participating and will continue to use traditional channels for as long as they do business with your company.
Regardless of the degree of your e-business activities, it is important to plan a transition strategy for driving customers towards the web channel.